Dig This Reunion.

After uploading photos from last week, I was at first a little bummed that I missed a lot.  I’m usually so good at remembering to take photos, and here I was enjoying a memorable week with very special people we don’t get to see very often, and I forgot to capture things I would have loved to preserve.  Like that one night our kids piled into the hot tub together or the following morning when they wore princess dresses to the beach. 

But after I edited twelve good photos from our time with friends last week and uploaded them for this post, I stopped to notice that the “upload complete” page told a very nice story.  Twelve photos–three rows of four–summarizing everything I wanted to remember.  An album of connection and friendship. 

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I met Nici through blogging shortly after I started Enjoying the Small Things and, after e-mailing and talking for a couple years, I finally met her in person when the girls and I traveled across the continent to spend a week with her family in Montana in 2010.  It was very this-should-be-weird-but-it’s-not.  We immediately connected–from that first hug shared at the Missoula airport terminal, the one that lasted longer than most hugs do.  And the rest is history. 

We used to joke about how funny it was that we became such good friends because, on paper, we were “so different.”  But I don’t know what that really means now.  I mean, I guess she grows her own food, sews her own clothes, and her kids eat stuff my kids won’t.  But those are just itty bitty things that don’t define us.  What does is that we both love adventure and finding new ways to connect.  We enjoy spending time with our kids, being creative, nuturing our families, writing about life and learning from people around us.

Tomatoes, Tomahtos, we’re really pretty much the same people.  (recurring theme: ding ding ding ding ding!) 

I do know that my friendship with Nici has taught me a lot about tearing down my own walls.  Because sometimes when I see someone do something differently than me, I conceal my curiosity with judgment.  Like maybe I assume she thinks she’s better than me because her kids eat tofu and spinach every day and don’t know all the Nick Jr. characters by heart like mine do. 

I think most of our “I bet they think they’re better than me” assumptions have nothing to do with them and everything to do with us.  And no one can make us feel crappy about the way we parent, what we eat, how we tend to our marriage, where we shop, how we spend our money or what kind of person we are–no one but ourselves. 

All this to say, there was a time when I thought that maybe Nici coming to Naples and seeing us in our not-so-Missoula-ish glory might not be a good idea.  I mean, we live in a subdivision for Pete’s sake.  I thought maybe she’d judge us, but what that sentence really means is that I judged us.  And that’s silly. 

It’s sort of this awesome little path I’m on lately (lately, as in the past thirty-four years):  the less I judge myself, the more I accept other people for who they are.  Win, win.

So here we are, two life-loving creatives from two different places on the planet.  I live in a subdivision, she lives in the mountains.  I believe in God, she believes in the Universe.  I shop at Publix, she shops her garden.

But we love each other.  And we’re curious about each other’s lives and what we are learning. 

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woods selfie

So last week, my friend and her beautiful family arrived to Naples.  And I was all “Oh my God, you are in my house.  You are tripping over toys in our Sanford and Son garage.  You are in my closet trading shoes with me.” 

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Our kids picked up where they left off.

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Heidi’s bathroom turned Merle Norman

And so did we.

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Dinner at Heidi’s

I toyed with the idea of exposing them to as much of Naples as we could fit in a few days but settled with the much more doable plan of just the best.  Which leaves us at the beach.  With cool people.

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And an epic sleepover that took all the elements of a sweet sixteen party (ghost stories–we each have real ones, laughing, three girls to a bed, finally hitting the pillow around 4 am) and balanced them out with good grown-up stuff. Like things we’ve been through, things we’re learning, things we hope to overcome.  Beer that isn’t preceded by Root. 

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This mama means so much to me, and what an incredible week we enjoyed.

My friend Nici and her family fit well into our little subdivision.  Her mountain kids played with my beach kids and her Slinky curls took to our humidity. 

I’m so glad, way back when, we focused on our sameness. 
Or we would have missed the chance to learn from our differences. 

I dig this chick.
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Leave a Comment
  1. I dig that chick, too. Loved this. xo

  2. You two rule! I love both of your blogs. I found her’s from yours, and hello, in the comment just about there’s Melina, a new favorite blogger who just stopped by as well. It just feels like a big small world. I am not a Mom, but I still find a lot to relate to, enjoy and to be inspired by in both of your blogs. I wish I got to put more of myself into mine. In the meantime, thanks for keeping me inspired and helping me find more who inspire me.

  3. I love the internet so so SO much!!! We have access to so many people who are different and the same and everything in between.

    I have met so many people since Hazel was born and I swear I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have them to help me with perspective.

    Lifestyle, parenting, there are so many ways to do things and I LOVE meeting people who do it differently than me. It’s an opportunity to see things that you don’t see and learn new ways to eat, or teach, or parent, or play.

    I love this post, so great!!!

  4. Looks like a great time! The Internet can be a wonderful place :)

  5. I was introduced to your blog when you first went to visit Nici and I fell in love with you both! My two favorite bloggers, hands down! I love your friendship – your differences and your similarities. XOXO

  6. You two look like sisters! How beautiful that you could meet such a wonderful friend clear cross country!

  7. It sounds as if a good time was had by all. Love the pictures from the beach. What a blessing to have such a special friend in your life. Those are the best.

  8. Ah! This had me in tears. I have had an online bestie for 10 years and we’ve never met. We share everything and talk constantly. This makes me even more eager for meeting this girl that I love!

  9. I love this! I have been a reader since Nella’s birth, and found her blog through you. I rarely comment, but just had to say thank you for sharing your lives with us! It is nice to see people in different parts of the country who are living such different lives from me, but so similar at the same time.

  10. AWESOME!

  11. Nothing’s better than gaining and learning about a new friend! Love that you guys connected on line, became friends, met in person, and will probably end up being life-long friends! :-)

  12. Oh how I needed this. I have friends visiting this week for my 30th, and I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of the best plan to show them EVERYthing in San Diego! There’s so much to see, so much to do. But I decided that staying home with maybe one outing is the way to go. After all, friends visit to see us, not the city. Thank you for confirming my decision :)))

  13. This is so cute Kelle, brilliant post.

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  15. Love without an agenda is the best kind. Delighted to read this post!

  16. Kelle, you are SO wise and your words are so rational! Do you mind if I use them myself? Like this: …because sometimes when I see someone doing something differently than me, I conceal my curiosity with judgment.
    How I wish I had come to this conclusion as early in my life as you have! And how happy I am that at least I finally have. Brilliant, my most admired blogger-mama!

  17. So wonderful! I haven’t met too many of my online friends but when I have it’s almost always been absolutely fantastic. I’m so glad you shared such a wonderful week. xox

  18. “The less I judge myself, the more accepting I am of others.” I love this. Thank you. Thank you for continuing to inspire me in your writing, your living life, your parenting and your friendships!

  19. “The less I judge myself, the more accepting I am of others.” I love this. Thank you. Thank you for continuing to inspire me in your writing, your living life, your parenting and your friendships!

  20. I am going to start reading her blog… which means I am going to lose some more time! LOVE LOVE LOVE the beach scenes… and oh – so- jealous!

  21. I LOVE her (blog) 😉 and YOURS! So this makes me happy happy!! :)

  22. This is so awesome!! And I’m happy to say that some of my closest friends are those I’ve met via blogging :)

  23. This is such an awesome story and just so great that this type of friendship happened through the screen of a computer. Love it…

  24. I have been reading both of your blogs since 2010 and just love what you both put out there. I really love it. I’m a 32 year old mother of two, I live on the coast of California, and I dig both of you. And Heidi. Love that you guys got another rare chance to soak up each other’s company and the kids got to bond. Thanks to both of you for being brave and putting all that you have out into the world. It makes my life better.

  25. “But those are just itty bitty things that don’t define us. What does is that we both love adventure and finding new ways to connect. We enjoy spending time with our kids, being creative, nuturing our families, writing about life and learning from people around us”

    ….I DIG ENJOY & I ENJOY DIG!…so very proud of both of you,xoxo
    Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  26. Got tears in my eyes reading that last line. I started reading Nici’s blog because of yours, Kelle. And yours are my favorites of all the others I read. You are very different, but like you said a whole heck of a lot alike too. You make me think, appreciate, consider, learn, and love. Yay! Thanks so much!

  27. Well, I love this.

  28. So well written girl. My closest peeps were just blog readers at one time, until we decided to make it real. Now I’ve got besties all over the place and it happened just like you and your Nici. It is surreal when that virtual person is suddenly standing in your kitchen. It was fun to follow on IG.

  29. Totally off-topic: your baby boy has THE sweetest mouth ever. Oh, my….

    Mary, momma to many

  30. How cute are you two? Such richness in your similaries and differences and the way you embrace it all. xo

  31. YES! Loved this.

  32. I love this! I do the same thing and I know it is just me needing to adjust my thinking.

  33. I have to say this is one of my favorite posts of yours ever. Everything you said about celebrating our samenesses and our differences and accepting ourselves in order to accept others is right on the money. I’m glad you all had such a great time! You are blessed to have friends like that. :)

  34. So lovely. And so true about making assumptions about how other people are judging us. It can be such a vicious circle!!

    P.S. Can’t wait to read Nici’s perspective :)

  35. Reminds me of my college roomie. We seemed so different at first, yet ended up close friends and chose to live together all four years. I’ve often found myself gravitating to people who have qualities I may not (in addition to some similarities)…definitely some truth to opposites attract! I think we find the people we need. Glad you had a great visit!

  36. I LOVE this post. Several years ago I went to stay with a “friend” I met on the internet playing online Scrabble. My daughter and I flew across the country to stay with her and her family for a few days. We attended a Scrabble tournament together (my first/only one). Anyway, my Mom thought my new friend, Missy, was an axe-murderer. We did like you –hugged for longer than normal and we had the BEST time with her and her family. I love trusting your instincts with people and having it come true! Great story. Thx for sharing

  37. Thank you, this is exactly what I needed to hear. I am a soon to be mom, with lots of new or also soon to be moms in my life. I have “felt” judged about things I want to do as a parent, such as cloth diapers, but really like you said, I am judging myself. Stay confident in what you decide and learn from what others are doing too. What if we as women could see that there are thousands of ways to parent, and just support each other in that? I think it could be legendary.

  38. This post really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing!

  39. I don’t know you two look like you could be sisters. I think it is beautiful you moved passed differences to find joy and friendship.

  40. You two are perfect together as friends or mates as we would say here. Xxx to you both

  41. I believe it was mother Theresa who said if we spend our time judging others we have no time to love them.

  42. There’s just something magical about those people you just gel with. Love this.

  43. Beautiful perceptions. Love this post. So so happy for you, dig, and all of your friends who got to spend time with you both. Looks like a magical time.

  44. How boring the world would be if we were all the same. I love that you two are friends, and I love even more that you are so different.

  45. I needed this. I have been anxious about a stupid 2 year old birthday party we are having at our house this weekend. Our tiny, two bedroom one bath house with sketchy landscaping and scuffed floors and dirty basement carpet. My friends all have pinterest worthy parties and big houses and manicured lawns. I couldn’t even get out legit invites. But I love our home and we don’t want anything bigger (hell, I can hardly keep the tiny one we have clean) but I still feel like Cory Haim in Lucas, worrying that people will think our house is “too small”. But this made me realize that what’s good for us is good for us and that’s all that matters.

  46. This. This is why I keep coming back. To both of your blogs. Because i find your words so healing. I like it when something forces me to really look at myself and the life I am living. It is often a painful and ugly moment, I try really hard not to compare, but ultimately it does help me learn to love and not be so damn hard on myself. I think that is the single most important and hardest lesson in life. To truly love and accept yourself. Such simple words. But oh so complicated. I sometimes dislike that I found you both on social media (I want to know you and have you know me in person!), but most likely the reality is that I wouldn’t know either of you any other way. Once I accept that, it is super cool. xo

  47. Friendships like this are just truly beautiful, and magical :) I’m glad you all had a great time!

    ~ Noelani

  48. It seems like you have such an effortless ability to form close friendships. I definitely envy that. The advice you gave here, about judging yourself less resulting in judging others less as well, is so spot on. One day we’ll all figure that out!

  49. Yes you are so lucky to find people you connect with no matter how different you seem. Love this reunion. You 2 and Melina are the blogs I follow so it’s really cool to see you all on each others pages!

  50. I love this post! I’ve definitely had the experience where I haven’t felt like my life is cool enough…and so true that the less we judge ourselves the less we judge others.

  51. I love this post. One of my best, best friends (we also met through blogging, when we lived miles apart but both wrote for the same parenting website, and now live in the same city!) is the total opposite of me, on paper. She’s a Mormon, she eats fast food, etc. I’m a hybrid Buddhist, ‘real’ food… ‘type.’ But when we hang out — kids and all — it’s so easy, and real, and so natural. We share so much in common that, had we not entered into our friendship with open minds and hearts, and were we not still always open-minded about each others’ different approaches to life, we’d have missed out on this friendship that is so full of laughter and honesty and joy! I’d trust her with my life, and with my kiddos, any day. It is amazing how we’re all pretty much the same, even though we’re different.

    Your little boy is growing into such a delicious little bundle. Keep up the great work on all fronts, mama.

  52. You are an inspiration and this is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  53. love this. so glad you had such a grand reunion. and yes, how boring would we be if we were all exactly the same???? xoxo

  54. ♥ this post! And just LOOK at how Mr. Dash is filling out! Gorgeous baby boy.

  55. Kelle….
    “No one can make us feel crappy about what kind of person we are–no one but ourselves.”. I needed that. More than even words can express!! 😉
    Very good. Your friendship between twain very different lifestyles reminds me of my dear friends. Steph and Pat. I will not go into any detail here, but we could not be more different from each other!! In everything!! We actually “agree to disagree”, as that phrase goes more times than not!! But that has kept our friendship. It is built on mutual respect for one another!! And, you know what? We are “more alike than different”!! –Wink, wink!!– ;-D

  56. Ever, ever so lovely. Thank you.

  57. “i finally realized that I thought I was better than people who thought they were better than me.” -my pastor

    “people seem think that me putting away our TV is a commentary on them having a TV” -conversation with a friend in the target parking lot on the responses I got after deciding to put away our TV

  58. I love this!

  59. So awesome! I follow both of your blogs, so when I saw her kids in pics you took, I thought that was really cool that y’all have connected. It really is a small world!

  60. I love this post. Reminds of Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly. How much our lives open up and bloom when we stop judging others, but more importantly when we stop being hard on ourselves. Brava!

  61. well you just done and got me all teary-eyed again. haven’t been to my computer in AGES with a nursing babe and busy little ones underfoot. but found myself here today, checking in on your corner of the world. I just so admire your beautiful heart. and dig’s, too. thank you for sharing this; your words never fail to warm and inspire. xo

  62. Always love reading about your lovely family, but am really so happy to read about your friends as well! Mine are my comic relief, my voice of reason, and some days, my lifeline. Thanks for all you do, I’m a fairly new reader, and I plan to follow you as long as you will write!

  63. I found your blog when Nella was born and have read it ever since. I am probably old enough to be your mom…but I am learning about myself a lot through your recent posts. How accepting ourselves helps us to in turn accept others. By not judging others, we learn a new and more peaceful way of life.
    I was raised in a very “religious” group and it seems we were taught to not “mingle” with the world. But why…because we are better…absolutely not! Because the world is dangerous…? We all have so much to offer each other. So, all that to say…I appreciate seeing in you…what I longed for when I was your age and didn’t know how to begin to grow! Be blessed! I love this blog!

  64. “Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest, it’s about who came and never left your side.”

    You two have the glue of deep-roots. I see why you two dig each other.

  65. Love this! I found you through dig many years ago. This is possibly my favorite ETST post ever! Thanks for focusing on the sameness.

  66. i am always in awe after reading your posts. they remind me to grab onto whats important to me and enjoy every small thing i encounter. i got “bloom” for my birthday on this past tuesday from my best friend, and i finished it yesterday. today, i’m beginning to re-read it again. slowly, savoring my favorite lines, sticky notes on the pages that i feel empower me in ways i wouldnt have thought of before. thank you, thank you, thank you kelle. not only for your raw honesty, your revealing emotions, and sharing your sweet family, but also for giving so much inspiration to the world (when we sometimes need it most)!

  67. Beautiful post, Kelle.

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