Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Being a Twin: Part 4


Lately I've been missing my twin sister more than ever. I miss her every day of course, but somedays I feel it more. Maybe today because I didn't get to actually talk to her on the phone. Or maybe because life is feeling complicated right now and I just need my other half here with me and me with her. It can be hard to know what to do when half of you is missing...

I've talked before about how we have a closeness that is stronger than any other relationship we'll ever have. Martin often wonders why I always want him around ALL the time, sitting right next to me...a little closer, please? just a little closer?  Our family still wonders why Kate and I have a hard time going to the grocery store alone or the post office by ourselves...we blame it entirely on being a twin. 

I really had never done anything by myself until I went off to college. The day we went our separate ways was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I can remember the moment vividly, our eyes spilling with tears, not wanting to let go from our hug. Knowing that the second we did let go, things would never be quite the same. I watched my sister walk out to the car and I turned away as she drove off. The pain we felt was almost debilitating. 

I remember sitting in my dorm room a few days later, willing myself to walk to class...alone, without my sister by my side. All the way across campus, pretending like I had walked somewhere by myself millions of times before. Kate and I had walked every day to elementary school together, sat with each other on the bus on the way to junior high, and fought over who had to drive that day to our high school. I watched the other students from my window wondering how they made it look so easy. How in the world were they able to be so brave without their twin next to them?? Why were the simplest things the hardest to do alone? I felt awkward and exposed being by myself. I had always had another shadow walking beside mine.

 As we drifted through our college years I felt as if I was learning to walk again, talk again, be me. I met new friends and they knew me just as Jessica, not "Kate and Jessica".  Being a twin didn't seem to be defining who I was anymore. I felt uncertain in my new role as myself, but in a way it was exciting and I began to slowly spread my own wings. We were having our own experiences, some we wished we could share, others we wanted to keep for ourselves. 

The weekends when I could drive to Boulder or when Kate could come visit me felt as exciting as Christmas morning. We would sit in our dorm rooms and talk and talk, not wanting anyone else to join in on our our own little secret Twins Society, where only twins named Kate and Jessica were allowed. We felt so relieved to be in each others company. 

Now, almost ten years from when we first said goodbye...when we thought we would never leave each other again, we've said goodbye too many times to count. Life has taken us our different ways again, but we know someday we'll be back in the comfort of each other. We're still learning how to be on our to live our lives without the other one being right there beside us. Some days are harder than others. Some days we have to keep ourselves from spontaneously buying a plane ticket and moving to where the other one is. Somedays I forget how to walk down the sidewalk without Kate next to me.  But then there are the days where we are thriving on our individuality, when we are growing in our own relationships, our careers.  It's become a balancing act.  Keeping part of us true to being a twin and growing the other part of us in our own distinct way. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

we found fall and it is magical

The weather has been changing here in Colorado. The mornings are crisp and cool, the days are still hot. I love this time of year. We sleep with the window cracked open so we can feel the cool night air as we fall asleep under blankets for the first time in months.  You can feel the change of season in everything you feels good to have a change. I'm always ready for a change when life throws curveballs my way...I want to move past it, be a part of something new.  I want to breathe new air and look at my surroundings in a different light.  
Yesterday was the perfect fall day. The perfect day to take in something new. Martin surprisingly had a Saturday off from work (which never happens) so he came up with a plan that would take us on a tour of the mountain roads and we would be able to spend some much needed time together.  It felt good to get away from the noisy city and to just sit for hours next to my husband in the car. 
Van Morrison and Bob Dylan serenaded us as we climbed higher and higher. We had the windows down and could feel the temperature drop and the air became cool and fresh.  I didn't mind that the wind was whipping my hair around into knots, it felt nice having the breeze against my face and the warm sun on my arms.  I could see Martin out of the corner of my eye, beaming...taking deep breathes of mountain air. He loves the mountains, I think they help ground him back to reality and give him a new dose of energy.
 We pulled off to the side of the was peaceful and quiet.  All you could hear was the wind in the pine trees and the grasshoppers chirping.  I looked around asking myself, "Is this really where I live? Why do I not appreciate this more?" I need to appreciate this more.
We kept driving, twisting and turning up the mountain.  It was just us on the road for a long time. I kept thinking about what Walt Whitman had written..that becoming the best person means growing in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. If we all took in the amazing world that we live in each day, how could we want to do anything bad or wrong? I don't think we could...we would all be so mesmerized by beauty that we would only do beautiful things. 
.  .  .  
We drove until we were forced to stop because of all the people creating a parking lot in the middle of the street. What could they be looking at that was causing such a commotion? A moose?  

It was breathtaking. 
I wish it could have just been Martin and I. We would have sat down by the side of the road and just taken it in slowly for hours. 
But we weren't the only ones enjoying the scenery so we dodged the tourists and screaming children back to our car. Took one last look at the golden Aspen trees and headed to Lyons, the small town where we had gotten married.  
We enjoyed our lunch at Oskar Blues, the local brewpub, while a Polka band played below us on the patio.  We felt the warm sun on our faces and looked out at the mountain where we had said our vows. We people watched until we were both too hot and craved some shade. 

I wish we had more days like this, instead of our hectic daily schedules. But I guess when they are so far and few in between we don't take them for granted and we soak in every moment together.

We ended the day up in Fort Collins and decided to surprise my parents. We talked for a while on the back porch while the sun began to set. I loved being able to go home, even if it was for a short time. And I loved being in the mountains. I can see why Martin loves them so much, they put your life back into perspective. When you look at something so much grander than you, the only thing that seems to matter is making your life the way you want to live it. Forgetting about all the things society is telling us to care about...letting go of anything that makes you unhappy. 

I am learning how to do this and I feel like with each changing season I am getting better at it. 
It truly was a perfect day.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Tyrannosaurus Rex Named Sue

When we were in elementary school I remember our music teacher put on a show for the families about Dinosaurs. 
We worked for weeks making giant dinosaurs out of paper, learning our songs that we would sing for our parents, and practicing the choreography. On the night of the big show I remember dressing like a Flintstone, having my mom pull my hair as tightly as she could into the highest pony tail possible and wearing an outfit that a respectable cave girl would have most definitely worn...leggings and an animal print top. 

I distinctly remember the song about the Tyrannosaurus Rex.  I remember belting it out at the top of my lungs thinking it was the most amazing song I had ever sung, "TYRANNASAURUS!!! REX REX REX REX REX REX REX!" We put our elbows close to our bodies creating tiny T-Rex arms and slashed them in the air.

Occasionally my twin sister and I will still belt out the Tyrannosaurus song while driving in the car or walking through the grocery store. 

This week it was Free Educator's Night at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. If you want teachers to come to anything, just make it free and we're there.  I always love going places with large gatherings of's one of the best places to people watch.  
haha I love it

We got to experience the new exhibit about a T-Rex named Sue (the oldest T-Rex ever found) and explore the museum without doing a head count of our students every two minutes...1, 2, 3, 4, 5...wait where's Juan!!?  
It was pure bliss. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A September Shower

Today we celebrated my big sister, Elizabeth, and her little boy, who will make his appearance soon into this world. 
It was such a special weekend filled with family and friends...our sister Kate even got to fly home from Florida for the special occasion! Kate and I have been planning the shower for months now, planning every detail, making sure everything was perfect. 
I got these adorable straws here
It's so amazing to see my big sister preparing for the role of motherhood. She is going to make an amazing mother, I know this because she has practiced on Kate and I for the last 26 years :)

She looked so beautiful's true what they say, pregnant women really do glow. I imagine it's because they are filled with so much happiness and joy it just oozes out of them. 
9 more weeks! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

people are friendlier in the midwest

I just got back from a very special wedding.
Remember these two adorable people?
A few weeks after I took Meg and Cass's engagement pictures they asked me to travel to Nebraska and be their wedding photographer for their September wedding. I was excited, scared, nervous.  Taking someones wedding pictures is not something to be taken lightly. I felt a little...well somedays a lot unsure about having said yes. I practiced and practiced, read everything I could and finally the weekend had arrived. 

The moment I got to the church I was welcomed into their families with great big open arms and lots of food. Seriously, midwesterners are the NICEST people I've ever met.  Strangers say hello to each other, they feed you lots and lots of food, and on one of the biggest weekends of their life they are asking if you need anything.  As my mom and I drove to the church on Friday evening, we noticed a little white haired lady strolling down the sidewalk. A car passed her and she stopped, turned, and gave them the biggest wave her small frame could muster.  Then a motorcycle passed ten seconds later and again she stopped and waved.  When we got closer to her I wondered if she just knew everyone in the neighborhood or if we would get a friendly wave too. 

We got a friendly wave too. 

I'm pretty sure if you were to wave to people walking down the street in Denver they would think you were a crazy person. There's just something special about small American towns. 

The weekend went by quickly and before I knew it my mom and I were driving along I-80 once again through wheat field after wheat field.  It was a beautiful weekend, full of beautiful weather, beautiful people, and a beautiful wedding. 

Monday, September 5, 2011


Today is my husband's 27th Birthday.
Another year gone in the blink of an eye. 

I can't believe how much Martin has been through in just one year...changing careers is a big decision and I'm so glad he followed his heart. I know this next year will be good to him :)
{I've always loved a man in a uniform}

I remember when I first met Martin.  He had just turned 17 and we were slowly becoming friends. It's amazing to think that we've celebrated 10 birthdays together. 
I wonder what Martin would have said if he had been told that ten years from when this picture was taken he would be an amazing chef and be married to the girl sitting next to him?

When you meet someone so young you are lucky enough to watch them grow into who they want to become.  Ten years later Martin is still very much the guy I met in high school.  He lives his life each day to its fullest...never dwelling on anything negative. He beats to his own drum, which is what I love about him, never caring what others think. He walks with his head held high and a big grin on his face.  He's goofy and silly and he makes me laugh. He has worked so hard to be where he is today and I am so proud of him.

Happy Birthday to my dearest husband. I can't even begin to imagine my life without you.  You make everyday...every moment better and I am so blessed be by your side year after year. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

i love this room

Here it is :) My older sister's nursery. 
Perfect for a baby boy.  
It fits my family's motto that my mom has instilled in us since we were little...simple, yet elegant.