Why I love 3.5

This week marked the boys 3.5 years of life.  By far 3 has been my absolute favorite age so far.  I tell so many people this with kids and they almost all say something like "3 was the worst." "oh no, 2 was great it was 3 that was terrible."  I say to you people, you never had 2 year old twins before!!

There are so many things that I love about 3.  One of the main difference with these 2 is how much they have fallen in love with each other over the last 6 months.  In the 2's we had lots of battles and arguements. Biting and hitting.  And while that hasn't totally gone away, because they do have their issues and moments, most of them have been replaced with a sense of "Team".  Them against me!  Sometimes it makes my days much harder but it brings me so much joy that they are so close.  

Sunday school teachers, teachers at school, childcare workers at gym, they all say the same things to me "They are so nice to each other." "they can't stop hugging each other". 

I also love how they are always thinking of each other.  When Beckett wakes up in the morning the first thing he asks is "Eli still sleeping?"  When Beckett was still sleeping during nap last week, Eli and I found a ladybug in the bathroom.  We put it in a cup and I said that we should go take it outside and set it free. Eli said "no wait Mommy.  We have to save it first to show Beckett."  And then Eli fell asleep for bed first on movie night so Beckett got to watch a new movie that I got them all by himself.  We snuggled on the couch watching it and Beckett said "mommy, can we watch this tomorrow.  Eli would love this movie."   If Eli gets in trouble, Beckett cries.  He also says "eli is sorry mommy." Immediately for Eli when he knows he is going to be in trouble!  I would say that Eli does that for Beckett but Beckett rarely gets in trouble :-)

They have lots of common interest.  They say  a lot of the same phrases like "This is the biggest one I've never seen!" And then they also do this silly talk that I have no idea what they are saying.  Dress up is a favorite.  Superheroes are still at the top.  We just went to the gym as Thor and Iron Man yesterday. Sometimes they throw other crazy costumes in the mix too.

Eli dressing accessorizing himself for church 

Batman wears red boots

buzz lightyear checks the mail 

blast off!

loves to wear his monkey
they love their avenger shoes

this was at bedtime.. clearly not asleep 

ninja turtle gear
And all that super hero action makes us very tired too!

Every day we read from our massive assortment of super hero books.  I now know more about super heroes, the villains, and all the stories behind them than I ever wanted to know.  DC Superhero friends vs Marvel super heroes.  They each have their own set of bad guys.  Who knows them all? These 3 year olds too!  

They both also love to play toys and have huge imaginations.  They both make up the best stories full of action.  

a battle on the high sea 

And nothing thrills them more than a  good "ranger fight" "darth vadar fight" or a "sword fight".  I love raising super heroes.  Sometimes they want me to be the bad guy.  But as soon as one of them starts fighting me, the other always gets upset and rushes in to protect me!

light sabors "or light savers as they call them"

"you can trust me mom. I will protect you!"
They share a mutual love of puddles and one of their greatest favorite gifts they have ever received are rain boots from Dee Dee and Poppy.  We look forward to rainy days so we can go find the big puddles!

They love to go places.  Every day they wake up and say "where we going today."  Some days we will go to bible study, then lunch, then a playground and I am exhausted.  We get in the car and they say "where we going next??"  Their favorite places are the park with ducks, Bouncing Bears, the trampoline place, Target, the Children's Museum and of course.. Chucky Cheese!

feeding ducks

love the rocks and trucks at the museum 

Beckett's favorite - firetruck play 

They loved loved the volcano experiment.. 

They also have very different, very distinct and unique personalities.  Likes and dislikes.  Quirks.  Strengths. Weaknesses. Here is a prime example.  Justin even commented "isn't crazy that how one piece of art can show their different personalities"  It amazes me that with the same parenting at the exact same time they still have such different reactions and different make up.  God given uniqueness :-)  

Here is Exhibit A.  This is Eli's art.  He is my border line OCD, doesn't like anything broken, loves things to be in order, drawers shut, etc.  Routine must be followed. Flexibility is not allowed. Loves putting things together and taking them apart.  He listens sometimes but most of the time has his on idea about how things should going.  

Exhibit B: my Beckett's art.  He is carefree.  He is loving, he is sensitive. He is messy.  He goes with the flow.  He follows directions well and listens.  He laughs and sings songs. He dances.   He loves imaginary play and dress up.  He loves just hanging out.  He likes his feet to stick out of his covers (just like his mom!) Beckett is super super silly.  Clouds in grass? No problem.  

This art was hanging in their classrooms at school for a while.  When I got there Eli could not wait for me to see.  He said "look at silly Beckett's mom!  His clouds are on the bottom" and was pointing out all the things.  His teachers say that Eli sits beside Beckett and tries to get him to do things "the right way" and Beckett could CARE LESS.  Ha! 

Eli is full of mischief, jokes, and pranks. He loves Dr. Seuss.. especially Cat & The Hat.  (fitting, right?)  He is always thinking of doing something that I clearly would never think of to get a laugh (that is a Riley attribute through and through) He is obsessed with the color orange.  His Dee Dee started a joke a long time ago with him that orange is stinky (Alabama fan in us) and he wants everything orange now.  He wants me to take pictures to send to Dee Dee too.  Notice his house is orange in his art.

orange scissors.  orange shirt. orange craft paper. 
Here is a good example of his mischief.  It was "nap time" (more on that in a minute) and he was crying that he was hungry.  Well, he didn't eat lunch because he was playing so I gave him his apples and his chicken nuggets and put him in his playroom for nap.  Here is what I found later. A fish tank full of nuggets and apples!!

Bedtime and nap time are a battle for Eli.  Getting him to take a nap is a challenge.  If he takes a nap, bedtime is a challenge. But when he doesn't take a nap the period from 6pm to bedtime is full of tantrums and fussiness and I want to pull my hair out.  Every night at some point he ends up in our bed.  It varies but I do kind of love the little snuggles. 

saying he was going to nap outside. yeah right. 

refusing to sleep 

does this look like a nap to you?? 
One nap time I laid down to rest in my bed and Eli was the playroom.  I hear something rattling in the kitchen and walk in to find this.  His response "What mom? I was just checking on the groceries." 

I am working on him playing by himself while I get "rest time" and Beckett naps.  Some days he does great. Some days not so much.  He really just insist on being silly.  



yep silly 


and silly (and that LOOK) 
He has the most interesting taste.  He loves kale chips, asparagus, olives, brussel sprouts, avocados and obsessively cheese, chips, and dip.  I make him Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip.. his favorite.  He asks for it for breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Dessert. He is also obsessed with Chobiani bite greek yogurt with guess what? Raspbery and chocolate chips.  Actually Eli is my mini me when it comes to eating.. all my favorites are his favorites too and he is not scared to take them off my plate and say "oh you made me this" 

Oh and his sweet tooth.  Serious problem.  Brownies, cookies, ice cream.  We have all kinds of rules and restraints around them.  Too protect him from being 100 lbs at 3 :-)  

cotton candy with chocolate chips
funfetti brownies
He also likes to torment his brother at times.  Right before this picture I said "Eli, now don't squirt your brother with the water hose."  And here is what Beckett said next " Mommy, Eli shot me with the water!" 

Beckett is full of love.  Where Eli is sharp and funny, Beckett is soft and sweet.  He freely gives his "I love you's" and always is up for a snuggle.  In fact he favorite phrase is "It's time for a BIGGGG Cuddle" then he tackles you with a bear hug.  He gives me endless amount of kisses and never is too busy to hug me.  His perfect afternoon?  Cuddled on the couch with his snuggly blanket catching up on ninjas.  He is the best little sleeper (most of the time).  Says good night mommy and that is that.  Except he always says "you forgot to give me a kiss.. wait you forgot to give me a hug.. wait you forgot to give me another kiss.. repeat and repeat" 

my love 
And he loves his Spiderman pajamas.  He wears them everywhere.  Pants to MOPS.  

But the main thing about this boy is he is usually a happy guy.  Tantrums are minimal.  Silly songs and singing are the norm.  Happy Happy Happy. He loves to roll the windows down in the car and turn the music up and jam.  Current favorite?  Ninja Turtle Theme Song, Boom Boom Pow, and Moves Like Jagger.  Love.

working out with daddy 

He has the sweetest voice.  People are always commenting to me how sweet he sounds.  Its soft and he is so very polite. And usually gentle.  While Eli plays on the playgrounds or runs around, Beckett is usually content to sit right beside me or walk with me.  Ahh.. I love this sweet little hand.

Beckett has very traditional simple taste.  He is not into trying anything new.  He likes what he likes and that is it.  He eats a good variety of meats and veggies.  And he likes fruit. A lot of fruit.   Especially cuties.  

Oh and still obsessed with milk.  And ice cream of course.

strawberry is his favorite 
His favorite joke is to lean over and tell you that he has a secret.  In your ear he will whisper "Beckett is the coolest"  Yep. I think so too.  His biggest accomplishment at 3?  I took his pull ups away for good when he turned 3 and within a couple of month he's got it. Finally being potty trained 100%.  All done and doing great.  Beckett is my learner.  He loves to do his work.  He pays such great attention at school and has the most amazing memorization abilities.  Loves books.  Loves learning new things.  

They love Daddy play.  When he is gone for extended period of time, they suffer from a lack of serious wrestles and craziness.  Mom just does not play this way!

The most popular question I still get is their hair.  Beckett's hair just makes me jealous :-)  How cute is it??  Eli always says " Beckett.. you have crazy hair!" And Beckett says "no, its beautiful like mommy's."  I wish. 

And that Eli.  He goes through phases of wanting to grow long hair but it just won't grow.  He really prefers the spikey and Dad's barber shop. 

They are mommy's heart through and through.  We had a sermon recently and the pastor was drawing a picture of God's love by comparing the love of a parent.   How your heart and their heart are joined almost outside your body.  Their emotions, their happiness, their actions, they all affect you.  The comparison is that is how God loves us.  My boys have taught me so much about forgiveness.  God has revealed so much of his love of me through my boys.  How easily they forgive me when I make mistakes, how easily they forgive each other, and how easily I can forgive them.  Love has become so much more real to me over the last 3.5 years.  The other night I was awake at 1:00 in the morning with Eli.  His legs were itching (allergic to mosquitoes of all things)  and I was  exhausted looking for cream and everything else and comforting him and rubbing his legs.  As I laid there I just thought how much love has been redefined for me.  I do these things willingly, happily.  

I do truly love that it has gotten better and better the older they have gotten.  I do truly love that they have the sweetest hearts.  That they both proclaim to have Jesus in them.  That they love the Word and we talk about it often.  I love that they ask so many questions and that I have the answers.  I love that they say Daddy is funny but Mommy is smart.   I love that they call me a princess and they tell me I'm precious. And beautiful.  It may not stay this way forever but I am grateful for the love of the last 3.5 years.

The Riley's