1. We call Addie 'Addie Paddy Puddin' Pie' which gets shortened to Paddy then lengthened to Paddy Wagon.   2. Vivi may be the best photo bomber in the universe, as she silently walked right in front of Addie and did this as I took the picture, then silent
You know that “picture paints a thousand words” cliche?

I tried finding a thousand words about a picture when I was in Jr. High as part of some school assignment and you know what? It’s hard as hell to come up with a thousand words about a picture.

But this one, (well, that one ^ up there ^) I may not have a thousand words about it, but I do have an awful lot of feelings about it. I may even have a few hundred words about it.

I took this on Saturday at a pizza place Urban Spoon told us about in Brandenburg, Kentucky. We spent the morning at Squire Boone Cave where Addie and Cody ziplined and Vivi managed to trip over every single rock on the ground. I took it because we call Addie Paddy Wagon and have for a really long time. Cody started singing “Addie Paddy Puddin’ Pie” to her years ago and as nicknames go, Addie Paddy Puddin’ Pie turned into just Paddy then into Paddy Wagon. I still call her Paddy most of the time, I sometimes wonder if people actually think I named my child Patty and if they judge me for it. (Not that I care, because I don’t. People name their kids much stupider things than Patty.) Anyway, that’s why I took the picture, because she’s our Paddy Wagon and there was a paddy wagon. (It’s also why she’s pointing to the sign and to herself.)

Beyond the Paddy part, those shoes she’s wearing are the only pair that really truly fit her right now. Somewhere over a two week span in the summer the kid’s feet grew TWO FULL SIZES meaning her feet are real close to being the same size as mine which is weird because didn’t she just come out of me? And the t-shirt, we got it from Kohl’s last year and it was easily the best mom-override I have ever enacted. (She didn’t want it because she didn’t get it and I said “I DON’T CARE I GET IT AND IT’S FUNNY AND YOU’RE GOING TO WEAR IT.” It’s now one of her favorite shirts and people comment on it all the time.) Those legs? Still not sure where she got those stems from because both Cody and I are far more trunk than stem in the leg department — always have been.

Now let’s talk about this restaurant. The food was amazing and we learned if  starved our kids for an afternoon they could eat a teenage boy under the table. It was called Jailhouse Pizza and it was built in an old jailhouse where Jesse James once did time. Before we went in we saw two confederate flags which will always be weird for us and just outside the restrooms there was a framed hangman’s noose on the wall, we suddenly wondered what we had gotten into.The women’s cells were on the lower level (and yes, you could eat in them) while the mens’ cells were upstairs (you could also eat in those as well.) Our waitress said something about the floor but with Vivi being Vivi nobody really heard what she said. As we were leaving I showed Cody a hole in the floor they had covered over with plexiglass that we had missed before. Addie ran upstairs to dance on the glass floor above our heads and that’s when we realized we were standing right below a trap door where hangings used to take place and our kid was dancing where people had died.

While the noose on the wall in front of us made more sense, we were all a little unsettled by the realization.

Now back to the photo and the other person in the photo. You know her as Vivi, we know her as Buddy, Vivi-inator, Vivienne Jean Baby, Veevster, Veever Believer Bear, the Vivster, Tiny Dancer, Medium Sized Dancer, babydoll, the little one, the Vivmonster and the loud one. She was wandering around minding her own business but when she saw me raise my camera to take this picture of Addie she walked right in front of her and struck this pose for no other reason than to be kind of weird, funny and obnoxious in a way only Vivi can truly pull off. Her shoes once belonged to Addie and every toddler should have a pair of Keens. The cowgirl suit also belonged to Addie (a gift from my grandma) but Addie never actually wore it. Vivi found it in the dress-ups the day before our trip and never let it leave her body except to sleep, and even then we had to coax her out of it. In the morning she woke up, put her Sheriff Callie suit over her pajamas and only then would she agree to eating breakfast and having her morning pee. There was a hat too, but the hat was holding her acorn collection in the car.

These two little girls fight like crazy, and I mean like literal crazy. Addie gets all pre-teen passive aggressive, eye-rolly and foot stompy while Vivi gets all toddler-hulk-scream-rage at Addie. The two fighting styles don’t match at all and it usually ends with Cody and me screaming “JUST LOVE EACH OTHER” because trying to reason with both of them at the same time is like trying to reason with a cat who is dead set on eating a pissed off wasp — everyone loses. But they still love each other for a few minutes each day and those few minutes are magical.

bus stop vivi


  1. Fabulous words about a great picture. It is really comforting to hear that your girls struggle with getting along also. I have two girls the same ages as your girls and I love getting glimpses of your life with you girls.
    I could do without all the fighting and just a bit of kindness in our house however! You have a gift with words as well as your camera and have captured this stage perfectly.

  2. The fighting gets less as they get older. Not less intense, just less often. (At least that’s been the case in our family. I’m hoping it works that way for you.)

    And honestly, every time I see this picture, I crack up laughing. My baby boy is the weirdo (a title he cherishes) crazy one in our family and this is something he totally would have done. And there would have been shrieking and passive aggressive eye rolling at the time, but now they would laugh so hard when telling the story.

  3. Amazingly awesome picture. And can I just thank you for what you wrote here about your girls fighting? My boys fight all. the. time. I feel like 99% of my mothering time and energy is spent on mediating, admonishing, and pleading while they participate in everything from quiet devious tactical attacks to all out screaming physical brawls. Even reminding myself about all the fighting my sister and I did growing up, it’s still easy to think that your kids must be the only ones to be doing this to each other. Hearing about others’ struggles with this reminds me of how normal it is, and to soak in the brief moments when they choose to love on one another.

  4. Stephanie says:

    My two girls are much closer in age (5 and 2 1/2), but they also fight A LOT. I also love that they play together now. I’m an only child, and I would have loved to have had a sibling.

    I really love that periodical chart shirt. MUST FIND IT if I can still buy it.

  5. Oh, the love!! Please don’t ever stop writing. Whether it is 10 words or 1,000. You have a gift. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  6. I. Love. This! Your girls remind me of my own girls, just a little bit different aged- my oldest is 10 and my youngest is 7. But Their personalities sound so similar! It is nice to hear that the things that happen in our house and family also happens with others! Sometimes, when it’s really crazy, I feel like surely no one else has this going on! Thank you for the reminder that pre-teens act pretty much the same and little sisters are still little sisters!

  7. My sister and I are 15 months a part in age and we fought horribly when we were little. When we hit the late teens there was a span of time for about a year or so where we didn’t speak at all. We reconnected by the time I was 20 and she was pregnant with her first child. Now at 33 and almost 35 we are much closer.

    I love this picture. It showcases some distinct personalities. I vote for Keens over Sperry’s any day!