My twins are 16 today. I know this is cliché, but it’s hard to believe. I remember their first day of kindergarten so clearly and next week they will finish their sophomore year of high school. In all honesty, 16 does not look like I imagined it would, but in many ways it’s much better than I anticipated. Some things are easier than I thought they would be, but many things are harder than I thought. My girls are strong, independent, and not afraid to be different. I am constantly learning from them and most often trying to figure out how to be the best mom I can be even though I have made more mistakes than I care to admit. Lucky for me, they don't seem to keep track.

Hannah passed her drivers exam last Friday and can officially start driving today. Hailey did not pass (eek!) but is scheduled to re-take the exam in a few weeks. They started driving last summer after they received their permit and it’s been a long year of trial and error and a few close calls. We would all agree that my husband is a much better driving instructor than I am.

Hailey has bright beautiful rainbow colored hair right now and Hannah has an adorable pixie hair cut. They buy almost all of their clothes online and most often shop at Thred-up for used clothing. They have incredible style.

Hannah is a dancer and has been dancing at the same studio for the last 5 years. She is in her 2nd year of pottery at school and has brought home incredible pieces this year.

Hailey is extremely artistic and this quality infuses everything she does including decorating her room, putting together outfits, applying make-up, her love of drawing and photography – all with an artistic flair.

They are both passionate readers and share a love of books. Hailey is currently reading Pride and Prejudice and Hannah is reading Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? by Mindy Kaling. They are avid Netflix watchers and recent favorites include Parks and Rec, The Office, West Wing, Newsroom, and Dowtown Abbey. SNL is also at the top of their weekly watch list.

They are each other’s best friends. They love their little sister, Emi, fiercely and often videotape the funny things she does. They are the best baby sitters ever.

They both love dogs and I am sure that they will each have a dog (or 2 or 3) when they live on their own. For now, we have 2 cats and they seem to fill at least part of the void. Hailey is especially in love with our kitties and often posts about them on her Instagram stories.

Neither of my girls love High School. They would say it’s ok, but they don’t love it. If you ask them about school they will probably tell you that their favorite part is their classes (not friends or activities). They took AP European History this year and completed an immense amount of homework and never complained. The one school activity they do enjoy is the Harry Potter club and Hannah has actually been leading the club this year.

They travel monthly to visit their dad and his family in Chicago. Since they were 4 years old they have traveled to see him in Seattle, but he moved to Chicago earlier this year. This is definitely hard on them and even after all these years, it is still a difficult transition. I divorced when they were 3 years old and they have carried this burden incredibly well at times and at times they have fallen apart at the seams. It is not an easy thing to do, but living with two completely separate families has certainly shaped their character and never ending perseverance.

We are talking about college more and more these days. They most often talk about schools far away from Washington state and they are very much dreaming at this stage. It will be interesting to see where they end up and if they will be far away or near one another. They honestly haven’t been apart for more than a night from one another since they were born, so it will be a significant transition if they end up in different schools/different states.

Both girls are incredibly knowledgeable about world events and politics. They care deeply about the environment and women’s rights. They are strong advocates for the LGBTQ community. I have no doubt that they will continue to seek ways to advocate for these issues and use their voice to bring change. Hailey mentioned the other night that she hopes to be a Senator some day.

Hannah started a jewelry shop about a year ago. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook at @gsjewelry or on Etsy at GingerStones. She makes beautiful necklaces and earrings with a modern vibe. She donates 20% of her proceeds to either the American Refugee Committee or Planned Parenthood and allows her customers to choose the charity they prefer at checkout.

Hailey has been a vegetarian for almost a year now. I was skeptical of her commitment when she first told us this last summer, but she has proven me wrong and still remains a vegetarian.

Hannah is a plant girl. She has a virtual jungle growing on her side of the bedroom. It started with just a few plants on her windowsill, but now includes shelves and layers of plants on plant stands. She is the first to help me plant our flower pots every spring, but still the last to volunteer to help with weeding.

As we walked into Ritter's Nursery this last Saturday morning, Hannah watched me put my camera in my purse and promptly said, “I would rather you not take any photos of me”.  So, I planned to just take some shots of the flowers and plants, but it wasn’t long before Hailey asked me to take a few photos of her and then Hannah slowly came around. There was nothing planned about this session and honestly it’s rare these days for me to capture images of them with my Nikon as I so often just reach for my IPhone. Even more reason that I love these images so very much.

It’s so very much them right at this moment.  Beautiful inside and out.

And so very sixteen.