Nine Homes in Six Years: How One Family Defines Home

October 17, 2017

Couldn’t be happier to be chatting with Brianna today about what makes her house a home, life with three little ones and where her and her sweet family have settled. As always make sure to read through to snag links to her site, blog and social channels.

Brianna, so excited to have you here! Tell us a little about you, how you got started with your blog, your path with wellness and nutrition and the role home has played in the success of your business.

So my blog started really as a space to keep in touch with family after we moved from Ohio to California. After a while, people other than my mother-in-law started reading it and it was a pretty exciting and weird thing. It’s evolved quite a bit since those early days (5 years ago!) and brought me so many friendships, connections, collaborations and my blog was the catalyst for going to get my Master’s in Nutrition and starting my business. Life is funny that way. Since my physical house has been more like a revolving door over these last 6 years of married life, I needed a business that could travel with me. Carving out a little space on the internet for myself that didn’t require much physical space within my house was a must. Having a supportive husband and children who understand that ‘mama needs to work now’ even if it’s from the floor of the living room of the bed, has been an incredible gift.

After chatting briefly I understand that you’ve moved quite a bit (9 times in the last 6 years!), can you tell us a little bit about that and where you’re living today?

When my husband and I married, he was an active duty Marine. I moved immediately to Florida from Ohio to be with him. Shortly after that we bounced around a bit, and after a couple moves, ended up in Southern California. Once he got off active duty and transferred to the Reserves, we moved up to the Los Angeles area. After getting pregnant for the 3rd time, we tried the whole ‘moving back to the Midwest thing’. It didn’t last long and we’re now back in Southern California in Redondo Beach.

What made you choose this particular space and city?

At first we choose Redondo Beach because it was close to my husband’s civilian job. We were tired of long commutes and were looking for something close to the ocean. The second time we moved to Redondo, we choose it because we fell in love with this little area of Southern California. Close enough to Los Angeles that we can still head up there pretty quickly, but far enough it doesn’t feel like a big city. And living next to the beach is always a plus in my book. This particular house we choose because of it’s charm and the fact that it has a little yard for the little ones. It’s really difficult to find a yard around here and a single family home as well! When we found those two within our budget we jumped!

So after doing a little browsing through your blog I can see that you’re a mama to three and that you’re homeschooling your kiddos! Do you guys have a particular place where you do school work? What has the process of homeschooling been like?

My oldest is just 5 so ‘school’ isn’t so formal right now. We use the dining room table for most of our learning but really we like to get out and explore. We have 5 people living in less than 1,000sq ft and the rooms are pretty tight. The more we can get out the better! We’re a new homeschooling family but I’m learning quickly that it’s not really the ‘school room’ or space in which most of the learning happens. It’s about being with my children and nurturing their interest to learn. Whatever those interests might be. One day we’ll spend hours looking up leaves in our California Guide Book and the next we’re finding books about dolphins at the local library and another we’re baking apple crumble and making a huge mess.

What helps you establish a sense of home (material and nonmaterial)?

It’s been really interesting making a house a home so many times. Each time we move we bring less and less with us. I suppose I’ve become a bit of a minimalist out of sheer practicality. This most recent move we went from about 2,500 square feet to less than 1,000 so a lot of things couldn’t come with us. What has been constant are our plants, cozy baskets for toys and books, a few special knick-knacks or trinkets the kids have collected and our musical instruments. We have a piano and 4 ukuleles, a trombone and a cello! What’s really kept all of our houses feeling like home is the attitude we have towards our spaces. As quickly as possible, we set up beds, unpack, decorate. It may seem frivolous given how many times we’ve moved – who knows when we’ll pack up again – but creating a lovely space where we can really get comfortable is top priority.

After taking a look at your site, Root Well, I’m dying to pick your brain about all things nutrition. Do you do a lot of cooking at home? What are a few items you always have in your kitchen?

Ah, yes! I do most of the cooking at home. A few of our favorite meals are rice with roasted broccoli and tofu, and anything with rice and beans. I follow a plant-based diet so we always keep things like rice, beans, tofu, squash (spaghetti squash is a favorite), broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, and nutritional yeast. I also always have a ton of nuts and seeds around to make sure we’re all getting enough protein. Balance is really important to me and once I went back to get my Master’s in Nutrition, I’ve become a little obsessed with coming up with dishes that are well-balanced. We’re not perfect – I have ice cream all the time – but my motto is “for the most part”. There’s no need to invite stress and anxiety and shame into our meal times so I never beat myself up about stopping at McDonald’s for lunch for the kids or eating a little too much ice cream while watching This Is Us.

Do you host a lot of visitors or entertain frequently?

I actually just hosted about 30 people last week! It was amazing and lovely and surprisingly we all fit nicely without being too squished. I don’t do a ton of entertaining – usually a couple friends here and there or another family or two over for a cookout. I love having guests but I’m an introvert all the way and like to keep my home a really safe and quiet space.

What activity do you enjoy at home over any other place?

Something my husband and I do is have ‘date night’ in. We grab a bottle of wine, get a fire going outside, make some popcorn and sit and chat. Sometimes we play Scrabble (*old lady alert*), sometimes we just talk. It’s nice and the evenings here are always filled with a little chill so it’s always cozy. While I do love a good restaurant and not having to do dishes, these date nights in are where it’s at.

After some time away from home what do you crave most about your space?

I love my bed. After traveling I’m most looking forward to (1) hugging my babies and snuggling with them and (2) sleeping in my own bed. It also has to contain my husband. When Brad’s at drill with the Marines and gone for the weekend, I can’t sleep. There’s something about having the energy and the space taken up by someone you love that just makes the bed such a magical place.

What’s one thing you’re the most proud of about your home? Is there anything you’d change if you could?

I’m really proud of how we’ve managed to make every house feel like home. I make sure to unpack as quickly as possible so it feels cozy and warm. I’ve also managed to keep houseplants alive for quite a while so I’m really proud of that! Since we move so much, we’re renters now. I would love to paint the kitchen, add a few elements to the backyard, and a few things here and there, but it’s not really in the cards for us.

What’s your definition of home?

Home to me is complicated. I’ve moved 9 times in the last 6 years. In that time my husband and I have welcomed 3 children to our family – each born in a different city and called a different physical space “home” when we brought them from the hospital. I’ve learned, through all the moves, that home isn’t a physical space. It’s a feeling, it’s the people who gather together. It’s been hard, to say the least, but I’ve gotten comfortable calling whatever space we’re living in at the moment “home”. Regardless of location, size or furnishings. Because, at the end of the day, home really is where the heart is.

Follow along with Bri on her blog, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter.
Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well. – Root Well.

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