Twins share similarities, differences

Mirror image twins Sally (left) and Sarai (right) Flanagin with identical twins Ethan (left) and Connor Lehmkuhl. All four are students at St Joseph School.

With experience as a labor and delivery nurse and in her third pregnancy, Celeste Flanagin didn’t see the need for anyone to accompany her to what she thought was going to be a routine ultrasound.

But when the doctor said, “Do you see that?” she was shocked to see twins. “I was like, ‘Don’t even say it.’ I was like flipping out…I was in total shock.” Celeste said her husband, Jimmy, has fraternal twins on his side of the family. “I had never thought that I would have twins. Never considered it.”

The arrival of twins meant the Flanagins were doubling their family – going from two children to four. Celeste said it was exciting to be pregnant with two. “I had a great pregnancy with them (Sally and Sarai),” she said, adding that after they were born the work associated with a newborn is doubled. “Literally, you are just doing everything twice.”

Today, Sally and Sarai Flanagin are fourth-graders are St. Joseph School. The twins have an older brother, Walter, and sister, Audrey, and a younger sister, Emily.

Celeste said having twins is “really cool” and her girls have a unique connection. “Their bond is really special. The way they relate to each other is something I admire. They are just so close,” she said. “It’s cool to watch them. They hold hands wherever we go. They are always together. If one gets upset, the other one cries.”

Typically, the twins are always together but on a recent shopping trip, one of the twins decided to stay home. The other one was very emotional that she was going to be away from her sister. “They are that close,” mom said.

Among their similarities, Celeste points out that both girls have lost teeth – the same teeth – within a day of each other. They also routinely finish each other’s sentences and can communicate without saying a word.

Sally said the two have their own “twin secrets.”

While they are exceptionally close and competitive, the two girls have their own personalities and interests. Sarai is organized and knows where things are. Sally is free spirited and is more of a jokester and prankster.

“It wouldn’t be as much fun playing without her,” said Sarai.

While the two are mirror image identical twins, Mom can tell them apart.

The two enjoy dressing alike and have been known to switch places in school. Both think it’s funny when a teacher will call them the wrong name, mistaking them for the other twin.

Both girls enjoy being a twin and their special relationship. “I like it because I have someone to sleep with and someone to talk to and someone to wrestle with. She’s my friend for life,” said Sarai, with Sally echoing her sentiments. “We are lucky to be with each other,” Sally said.

Ethan and Connor Lehmkuhl: ‘Ours are very independent’

It’s been more than six years but Jeanne Lehmkuhl still has a sharp recollection of when she learned she was carrying twins.

The Mayflower family of three – husband Garry and son Alex – were at Conway Regional Medical Center. She was there for a routine ultrasound and her husband was seeing an ENT with Alex who had stuck a Lego up his nose.

Looking at the screen, the technician said, “Oh, look. There’s A and there’s B. It looks like there’s two.”

Jeanne’s response was “What? Oh my.”

After the appointment, on the elevator, Jeanne shared the surprising news with her husband. “We were both like, ‘Ok. Wow. Well, we’ll just see how this goes.’” Alex, however, was not surprised as he had already told his mom, when he was 4, that he was going to have two brothers. “We hadn’t even told him we were pregnant yet.”

Ethan and Connor arrived five weeks early but were healthy. Jeanne said as babies, it was difficult to tell them apart. “We look back at pictures now and wonder which one is which,” she said. “We didn’t write it on the back.”

With three small children, it was an interesting and busy time for the couple, but Jeanne was thankful for her mother, Danita Sendelbach’s help. “When you have two babies to feed, it’s a little more than when you just have one… It was a lot of work the first six weeks and I was like ‘I don’t know if we’re going to make it,’” she said. “Everything was good after that.”

Jeanne said there is a big difference going from one child to three. “If you’re going to have multiples, try to do it first so you don’t know any different,” she said with a smile.

Garry described it as playing zone defense all the time.

Today, Ethan and Connor are kindergarten students at St. Joseph School.

Jeanne said the boys have some similarities, like playing with the same toys, but have different personalities. She describes Ethan as being sensitive, with Conner more outgoing.

According to both parents, there are times when the twins rely on each other and help each other, but they are very independent. “They like to do their own thing,” Garry said.

“Ours are very independent of each other,” Jeanne added. “I know not all are.”

Still, there is a special bond between the twins and there are times when the couple finds the twins in the same bed in the morning.

Jeanne said the boys shared their own special language as infants and are close, but “some days you wonder” because of how they are interacting with each other.

While enjoying their independence, Ethan and Conner also are very protective of one another. Jeanne said they enjoy messing with each other but if someone messes with one or the other, the other one is quick to come to their twin’s aid.

Robert and Rachel Poppe

Twins Robert and Rachel Poppe.

Age: 18.

City: Conway.

Family: Brian and Lori Poppe; Caleb (brother).

School: Seniors, Conway Christian School.

What was it like to be a twin growing up?

Rachel: It was definitely an interesting experience to grow up as a twin.

For one, our mom always dressed us in matching clothes. She doesn’t do that now, of course, but if she did I’d be into it but my twin wouldn’t be. Sometimes we’ll accidentally wear the same colors, which makes us laugh.

Growing up as a twin had an overall influence on me to where I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for my brother. Since we are the same age, we shared toys, clothes, friends, everything that was usually something no one would actually want to share. I learned to cooperate at an early age and not to be selfish and take things for myself. I learned to share and take care of others.

Growing up with a twin was different than having a best friend because my brother and I hung out every day because we wanted to. I always felt like I had a friend who was always there if I needed him. I have always felt a type of connection with my twin brother more than anyone else I’ve ever met. It has been an overall wonderful experience just to have someone constantly by my side.

Robert: You always have someone with you. At any event, there is always someone to hold on to. Our relationship, unlike many, doesn’t revolve around feelings. We can get frustrated with each other, of course, but it never goes any further than that, because at the end of the day we don’t really care. Our relationship is stronger than that, and that is refreshing.

Any funny stories related to being a twin?

Robert: We rarely fight, however when we do, we sit in silent anger until one of us laughs, usually by cracking a joke. Kind of strange, but amusing to the people around us.

Rachel: Strangers usually assume that we’re dating. A couple of times I’ve met someone and they reference my brother next to me and say, “Is that your boyfriend?” Since we are always together in public and talking and laughing with each other, it looks like we’re dating. We’re just that close.

Similarities/differences between twins?

Robert: We are both relatively quiet, but can be boisterous when the time is right.

Rachel: We are more different than similar. I prefer to stay home when he prefers to go out. I enjoy video games and he does not care for them whatsoever. I love to sing, he does not. But, we both are passionate in the things we do, as well as being peacemakers instead of fighters.

More information?

Rachel: I cannot begin to imagine what my life would be like without my other half, I do not want to.


Kaeden and Kaiya Ingram

Twins Kaeden and Kaiya Ingram.

Age: 10.

City: Conway.

School: Fifth grade, Carl Stuart Middle School.

Favorite subject: Reading (Kaiya). Social studies (Kaeden).

Family: Keisha and Arthur Ingram (parents).

Favorite meal: Pizza (Kaiya). Pasta (Kaeden).

Most cherished possession: My family (Kaiya). PS4 game system (Kaeden).

What is it like to be a twin growing up? Fun and annoying; we are asked all the time if we are twins. Sometimes people around us do not realize that we are twins unless someone mentions it. It is annoying sometimes because people expect us to be together all the time or like all the same things. We are kind of always together but sometimes we’re not. We fight sometimes but not all the time. Being a twin means I’ll always have someone there. I like that.

Similarities/differences between twins? Differences is easy. I’m a boy and she’s a girl. He’s also taller and likes video games, I don’t. We’re alike in a lot of ways too. We both love our family and cheer/tumbling, movies and to travel. We also love to do new things, with and without each other.

More information you would like to see included? Being a twin is a good thing about me but it’s not the only good thing about me.

Twins Blake (left) and Grayson Crossman. (Photo courtesy of Strain Photography)


Blake and Grayson Crossman

Twins Blake (left) and Grayson Crossman. (Photo courtesy of Strain Photography)

Age: 9

City: Conway

School: Third grade, Woodrow Cummins Elementary School.

Favorite subject: Math (both).

Family: Jessica and Charlie (parents).

Favorite meal: Pizza (Grayson). Chicken Alfredo pasta (Blake).

Most cherished possession: Basketball (Grayson). Bike (Blake).

What is it like to be a twin growing up? Super fun, we are best friends and MOST of the time, get along really well!

Any funny stories related to being a twin?  We are practical jokers, and think it is funny when people get us mixed up. When we were born, the only way our parents could tell us apart was to paint our toe nails. We still, on occasion, have to clarify which one is which to people!

Similarities/differences between twins? Both are very social, outgoing, fun and love to try new things. Favorite activities; camping, basketball, Cub Scouts and playing on an iPad. We can be competitive at times! Definitely more similar than different.

More information? We are MIRROR image, identical twins, so we appear to be exact reflections of each other. Blake is right-handed and Grayson is left-handed.

Marco and Azul Rivera Suarez

Twins Marco and Azul Rivera Suarez.

City: Conway.

School: Woodrow Cummins Elementary School.

Azul says that being a twin is marvelous because she loves to share her birthday with Marco and she would never be alone.

Marco said he likes it because he gets help and someone who he can always talk to. He loves knowing that someone loves him. When they are not together, they miss each other a lot.

I think the funniest thing about them is that sometimes one is so happy and cheerful while the other is bored and gloomy. When one is ravenous or happy, the other one lost their appetite and is gloomy. Also, when they were babies, they would switch cribs and take all the clothes out of the closets. Marco would always take care of Azul and make sure that she is OK even if it means missing a game or something else fun. Before Azul was born, she would kick and move while Marco would always be still and calm.

They are both very sensible and kind, but talk a lot. They are different because Marco is very hard-working in the house and Azul is not. Marco loves video games while Azul prefers playing with small toys. They both love school. They were born only three minutes apart.

Being a parent of twins is beautiful. It is amazing the miracle of life and to see how they communicated since they were in the womb. It has been a great and beautiful experience.


Kavanaugh and Jachin Wallace

Twins Kavanaugh and Jachin Wallace.

Age: 9.

City: Conway.

School: Third grade, Carolyn Lewis Elementary.

What is it like to growing up as a twin?

Jachin: Good and bad. I always have to take care of her, since I’m the oldest. I make sure she gets where she needs to and take care of her at recess. I am good at that. I hate that she always wants to play with me and my friends. Sometimes we just want to do boy things.

Kavanaugh: I have my brother to play with and sometimes help me. He doesn’t like that I’m always hanging around but mostly he just deals with it. Mom tells us that we are special being twins because we always will have a special friend.

Are there any funny stories about being a twin?

Jachin: One day at the house we were having a Nerf gun war. I accidentally shot Kavanaugh with a dart. She cried! I sort of felt bad.

Kavanaugh: One time we were at preschool I was doing a funny dance and it embarrassed my brother! It was great!

How are you similar and different?

Jachin: We actually both like electronics, but we like different things on our phones. She likes girl games.

Kavanaugh: We are mostly different… but I don’t like lasagna and he does. Mom tells a story when we were little about how we used to baby talk in a twin language to each other. Only we knew what we wanted. One day Jachin and I were playing and I said something in our language and he stopped what he was doing to bring me what I wanted. I guess we did understand each other.

Jachin: When we were little, Kavanaugh always did all the talking. That hasn’t changed!

Emily and Christa Owen

Age: 16

City: Conway.

School: Juniors, Conway High School.

What was it like to be a twin growing up?

For us, growing up as identical twins, we were used to being called the opposite name, or if someone didn’t want to take the chances of calling us the wrong names, they would call us “the twins.” It became such a regular, day-to-day thing that we answer by each other’s names just in case someone was wrong. Although our identities might always be switched, we are the best for each other. Our bonds are as strong as any other best friend. We always dreaded being separated.

Any funny stories related to being a twin? After getting tucked in at night, both of us would quietly step into the kitchen. One of us would scout for any interruptions, while the other would reach into the cupboard for spoonfuls of sugar. Then we would alternate roles. One day we got caught, we never did it again. We were about 4 years old.

Similarities/differences between twins?

Emily parts her hair to the left and plays the violin. We both have the same style in clothing.

Additional information you would like to see included?

We love to run, distance, for the Conway High School Track Team.

Sonja Keith