Sam & Rylee_1 Sam & Rylee_2 Sam & Rylee_3 Sam & Rylee_4 Sam & Rylee_5

 The 52 Project – a portrait series of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013

These photos were taken on the street that Sam grew up on.  The street that his parents still live.  Before heading up to our cabins in Wisconsin last week, we were able to stay one day at his parents house in Minnesota.  I’ll never get over the beauty of that place.  It’s such a different kind of beauty than here.  All the lakes and trees….green for miles.  Maybe that is why I appreciate it so much.  On the one night we were there, we decided to take a walk around his old neighborhood just before the sun went down.  We had been cooped up in cars and airplanes all day, it felt good to get our legs moving again and soak up that golden Minnesota sun.

We got to talking about “home”, and what that meant.  For me, California is the only place I’ve ever called home.  My sister’s and I were all actually born in Chicago, (so I still claim a small part of the midwest as my own),  but we moved out here before I was 2, so you can almost call me a California native.  Sam however, has moved a lot.  His childhood was spent in MN, college years in TX, a short stint in Australia, back the MN, then out to California…where he met me, and obviously, I wasn’t letting him go!  But I’ve always wondered what it would be like if I had ever moved away.  Or especially, if I had ended up raising a family somewhere different than the state I was raised.  Away from family and all the things I once knew.  What would it be like to go back?  I asked this question to Sam.  Of course, men are much less sentimental about these sorts of things than us women, but for him, Minnesota doesn’t  feel like home at all.  It’s not because he doesn’t love it there, it’s just because for him, all of his best memories, growth and life changing experiences happened elsewhere.

I don’t know what my life would look like today had Sam not had an adventurous heart and landed in California.  Who knows, maybe home for me would be somewhere totally unexpected…..but I sure am thankful he found me.  Sometimes I feel selfish for bringing him into “my world” and not thinking twice about the adjustments he has had to make in entering a close knit family who spends a lot of time together.  His family of 6 is spread out among 5 different states, so to say our situations are different is an understatement.  By the way, Sam has the most AMAZING family.  Their distance says nothing about their love for each other.  It’s just how the cards fell.  So, although California has always been my home, it’s now our home.  And honestly, home will always be wherever I’m with him.  And Ry, of course.  When money gets tight and taxes want to make us throw up,  we like to dream about moving to some big porched house in Nashville.  But at the end of the day, we both just really love it here.  And selfishly, I think it would be pretty hard for me to move away from my family.  They are my comfort zone and my best friends.  I am sure if an opportunity arose, I could muster up the courage….but that would have to be one insane opportunity!

Cali, I think we’re here to stay.

  1. Sylvia

    My husband and I are both from South Australia – met and were married there – and we moved to Western Australia (a 4 hr flight away) 2 years ago.

    But South Australia is our home and we both miss it so much that we’re moving back in 6 weeks. We’re not planning on having any babies yet but we both knew we’d move back before we did because the idea of bringing up kids away from the support of our parents just seems a little too hard.

  2. Candice

    This post speaks to me because I’m a born and raised southern California girl. My husband grew up in Colorado, lived in Europe and Singapore and then his family settled in Seattle where he went to high school. He moved to so cal for professional skateboarding and that’s how we met. All of my family is here and now he is too. Sometimes I forget that’s a big sacrifice for him to have made. I could never live elsewhere!!

  3. Mara

    These are such stunning photos! They make me sentimental about my husband’s role as a father seeing the two of them together. Very nice work.

  4. Chelsea.

    That was a lovely post. I’m kind of going through something with my boyfriend and we are at a stage of what the future holds for us. We talk alot about where we want to live and what will happen be chase we both have siblings. It’s a tough conversation but you have opened my eyes.

    Thank you for making me cry tears of joy. I’m incredibly happy for your family.

  5. Kastles

    Such beautiful photos as usual! I never thought about moving away somewhere else since we both grew up here. I think it would be hard to be away from my family. California sounds like it would be so much to live there!
    Have a great night!
    <3 Kastles

  6. angel swanson

    A couple years ago, we were *very* close to moving out of state… Nashville, Bellevue, WA + a tiny town in VA were all options. God had other plans and we only moved 3 hours north to the central coast of CA. Still, it definitely reminded me that home is wherever Erik is (and now, Olive of course!). xoxo

  7. Jade Sheldon

    It’s funny, but for some reason I don’t think I’ve found my home quite yet. I’ve never felt at place where I am. As long as I’m with my husband, I guess it doesn’t matter all that much where we live. I have a feeling we are going to discover our true home together someday…

    • kelli

      I think that’s ok to not have found it yet Jade. I think when you do…you will just “know”. It kind of sounds like a fun adventure to me in not knowing, as I feel like I’ve always known. The grass is always greener right?

  8. Mei

    New reader here-I totally agree with you about how different places can be beautiful in totally different ways. I relocated to San Diego from central Virginia and while the weather is amazing here, I do miss the lush greenery of summertime in Virginia! Gorgeous pictures by the way :)

  9. Jen

    Hey girl..I’m a little late getting to this post but nonetheless…It’s funny how this sense of “home” works, huh? I was born & raised in San Diego & while I always wanted to go somewhere else for college, just to experience something different, I never in a million years thought I wouldn’t end up back there. I still dream of ending up back there some day. It is & ALWAYS will be my home. I feel a sense of connection to Monterey, CA (where I went to college) & there’s definitely a certain familiarity to it, but not like SD. My husband & I have been living in Utah for the past 9 years & it STILL doesn’t feel quite like home to us (he’s from the Bay Area). I never thought we’d be here this long & I don’t know how long we will be here. I don’t know that it will ever completely feel like home. It sort of has the same feeling as Monterey…familiar but not quite right. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like I’m “home” quite like I do when I’m in SD but I DO know that home is definitely where my hubby is. So I guess in a way, HE is my home, like you with Sam.

    PS – I commented on your miscarriage post a while back & mentioned that I was hoping for a miracle of my own after 2 miscarriages last year. I’m thrilled to report I’m currently 4 months along with our first (or third, however you look at it). It’s hard not to remember those other two losses & worry that it will happen again. But I also can’t tell you how much comfort I get out of seeing that bulging belly every day. Anyway, thanks for your prayers. :-)

    • kelli

      Ahhh Jen!! That is the most amazing news! Thrilled for you!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Let me know when you and your hubby make the move back to SD (I have a good feeling you will one of these days!) ;) Much love to you and that growing babe!

  10. Jen

    Thank you Kelli! Love & prayers from caring & thoughtful “strangers” are a wonderful gift! xo



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