Monday, February 1, 2010

Wow, My Head is Full

So I've been thinking a lot lately. A lot about contentment and where I, as a wife, mother and person, and we, as a family, are in life. (Thanks, mostly, to the sermon series at church right now.) And sakes alive is my head overflowing with thoughts and ideas and hopes and dreams!

To begin, I realized this week that one year from now, we will be registering Milo for kindergarten. (Um, seriously, how is this possible?!?!) And for a while now, Aaron and I have thought we'd move into the Lindbergh school district (which neighbors ours currently in Affton). But getting our house ready to sell, actually selling it, finding a house in our price range, buying it and moving all within one year? A year in which Aaron's getting his business off the ground and we're working toward me working less? Yikes.

Then, as I was looking at registration for Lindbergh, I noticed this. $3500/year for full day kindergarten at Lindbergh. Which, really, is half of what we're paying for Milo's preschool right now. But still. Paying for public school kindergarten? Really?

So this led me to look at Affton again. Where full day kindergarten is offered at no cost. Which led me to question why I was anti-Affton in the first place. I'd always heard that their schools are great in the younger grades, but not so great in the older. But as I'm talking to more and more people, I'm finding that's not necessarily the case. And, even more, Affton is a fraction the size of Lindbergh; a place where everyone knows everyone, which is extremely important to me and somewhat important to Aaron. (I think, although maybe I'm just making that up about Aaron just to make myself feel better.)

Then let's circle around again to the question of housing. Without question, our house as-is is simply not feasible for our family. The basement is unfinished and the 2 bedrooms we have are upstairs, so there's no room -- except in the office, dining room, living room, kitchen, and part of the basement -- for the explosion that is the boys' toys.

BUT if we stayed in Affton, we wouldn't necessarily need to move within the year. Or, really, we may not need to move at all. Our house has about the lowest value on our block, as we're the only one that doesn't have an addition. Could we get a home improvement loan more easily than a new home loan? Could we finish the basement and/or add to the back of the house and not over-value our home? Quite possibly. But there's a LOT to look into and consider before we make any sort of move whatsoever.

I can tell you, though, that I am feeling much more at peace today with the thought of Affton rather than Lindbergh. And that tells me we're on the right track.

Speaking of on the right track, I'm really excited about a conversation with our friend, Nick. There are potentially some big things on the horizon for me and my career, as well as for our family. Hate to be cryptic, but that's all I'm spilling for now.

If you're of a praying mind, please keep us in them. We'd love prayer for guidance in all of these decisions and provision, as well as for the courage and conviction to make some changes with our lives and finances. I am ashamed to admit how our finances and the condition of our home do so little to honor God, and we've both agreed to change this. Now we've got to get to gettin' (c) Niecy Nash & Clean House. :) (And please feel free to keep both Aaron and I accountable for these things! Thinking of making an effort to be more transparent on this blog so you'll have better tools to do so...)

Monday, January 25, 2010


So....where does one begin updating when one hasn't updated in too long a time? By month? By person? Eeek!

Let's go by person. Oldest to youngest. Sound fair? Good. Here we go:


One word to sum up Aaron Chandler these days? Busy. Very, very busy. He's playing a ton, working a ton, taking care of us a ton, and then still makes time to watch football. (Go Saints!) :) Just before Thanksgiving, there was chaos at the music store (I think I'm putting that mildly enough). I won't give you the dirty details, but Aaron is now commission-only and is expanding his own business from home, ACME Trombones. Website is being developed now, and we'll be sure to share just as soon as it's ready to be looked at! And if you have a trombone that you love, please send it to Aaron -- I don't really know what voodoo he does to them, but trombone enthusiasts sure do love it!


One word for me? Busy. (Ha!) I'm still working, although have (finally) arranged for my hours to be reduced to 36 per week. Know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it does allow me to stay at home in the mornings until the boys leave; whereas before, I was leaving before they were even up a lot of the times. Still looking for some way to go part time, while still having insurance and, you know, paying the bills, but, for now, am as happy as I can be.


One word for Milo Guy? Hmmmm. How about big? That boy is growing up -- as he is very quick to remind us -- every day! Getting so darn big and tall and smart. He really is very funny and has a great sense of humor! He can count to 10 on his fingers, knows how to recognize and write his name (even if it is backwards sometimes), loves to sing songs by his Daddy's band (favorites are "Palm Court Strut" and "When I die (nice, right?) better second line"), has had a blast at soccer class, asks to go back to the beach at least 5 times a week, loves his "family" (which, btw, does not include Aaron, Hank and I -- it is his aunts and uncles and cousins), and is really, REALLY looking forward to swim class in a few weeks. He also loves preschool, and is really flourishing there.


One word for Hankers: Busy. That boy does NOT stop moving! He's walking -- and almost running -- everywhere, climbing, screaming, talking, kissing, splashing. Boy! To have just 1/10 of his energy would be great! At his one year check-up last week, he was just shy of 25 lbs (75%) and 30" (50%). He has close to 15 words (at his age he should have 2), and loves to engage whoever's near in peekaboo or mimicking noises. In the fall, the poor little guy had 5 ear infections in 7 weeks. It was miserable for all of us! But he got tubes in early October, and has been perfection since. And he had his second round of MRI and developmental testing for the autism study at Wash U that we're participating in this past week. He was the first baby ever to lock himself in the office. True story. And I didn't even panic! ;)

So, that's us for now. And I'm going to work on uploading photos from all the fun we've missed sharing: playing in the leaves, Milo's 4th birthday, Christmas, Hank's 1st birthday. Where, oh where, does time go?!

Love to all!

Ummm...Hello? Anybody There?

*insert embarrassed smirk here*

Can someone tell me? Has it REALLY been half a year since I've updated? Why didn't someone snap me out of it? ;)

At any rate, we're still here! The Big Boy is 4; the Baby Boy is 1, and we're all still standing. Let me gather my thoughts, and maybe edit some photos to add. Then I'll do a proper Welcome Back post. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sleepless Nights


*Yawn* That's what you hear around the Chandler home these days. A lot. For 2+ weeks, Hank has not been sleeping. Our good sleeper, the one -- from birth -- you could lay down and would go to sleep all on his own, has been waking 3 and 4 and 5 and 6+ times a night. And, Lord, I am weary.

Rewind a couple of weeks, Hank started at the new sitter (she whipped him right into a schedule, btw) and was kind of fussy in the evenings and wasn't sleeping great. We thought it was just adjusting to the change. Then that Friday, Milo woke from his nap crying and saying his ear hurt. Put 2 + 2 together, and got both boys to the pediatrician that afternoon. Sure enough, BOTH of them had ear infections in their right ear.

Both got prescriptions for amoxicillin -- Milo bounced right back; Hank not so much. By Day 3 of amoxicillin and Hank getting worse, he got a new prescription for omnicef and both boys got an adjustment at our friend's, the chiropractor's, office. Fast foward one week, and here we are still not sleeping.

But Hank went back to the pediatrician today. No more infection, but the doc thinks he probably still has fluid in his ears that's causing pressure and pain when he lays down. So Benedryl and Motrin it is (which, btw, we've been doing -- and he's been waking up anyway!!!). Also, the doc thinks Hank's teeth are bothering him. He hasn't cut any yet, but they could still be an issue.

Oh, and Baby Boy is still husky. ;) 24 lbs, 9 oz. And the Big Boy is now 39" and 37 lbs. Getting bigger, these boys.

Anyway, let's talk fun. Two weekends ago (the weekend of the ear infection discovery), we all trekked out to St. Charles for Festival of the Little Hills, a huge craft and food event. Great fun was had by all (especially as evidenced by Hank), and we even got a little Christmas shopping accomplished.

And this past weekend, we had our first-ever yard sale. We're calling it a success -- made enough to buy our family a Wii (I was overruled -- I thought we should be practical and buy a new mattress for Milo's bed. But whatever.), and sent the rest to Goodwill. Not that this was actually *fun*, but it was a good thing to rid our house of all the useless junk....ahem, *priceless treasures*...that we didn't need to hang on to.

Gramme, Milo, Hank and I did have fun yesterday, though, as we headed to Grant's Farm after church. (Which Milo keeps calling "Transform" as in "Transformers".) ;) We rode the train, a carousel, watched part of 2 shows, fed baby goats and geese and swans and llamas, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Some pictures for proof:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Milo-isms: The Animal Edition

- Mama? You see this boo boo? This one here on my leg?
-Yes, Milo. How'd you get that boo boo?
- From a rhino.
- A rhino? Where on earth did you see a rhino?
- Yeah, a bunch of little rhinos came and stepped on my leg.
- Really? Where were you?
- The zoo.
- The zoo? You went to the zoo without me?
- Yeah, the zoo, but you weren't with me. I was at the zoo and a bunch of little rhinos stepped on my leg. That's how I got that boo boo.

Driving by Grant's Farm yesterday afternoon:
- Milo, look! There are some deer and some elk.
- Yeah! Deer and elk!...........But where's the tiger?
- A tiger? They don't have a tiger at Grant's Farm -- he'd eat all the deer and elk. Tigers eat other animals.
- NOOOOOO! Tigers don't eat other animals! They eat pancakes........LOOK, MAMA! THERE'S THE TIGER!
- Really? You saw a tiger in Grant's Farm?
- Yeah! He was down that hill. He's gonna come to our house and eat pancakes.

We had breakfast for dinner last night, and as Aaron was cooking pancakes, Milo came in the kitchen. But know there was no more tiger talk since our earlier conversation -- a converstion that Aaron wasn't privy to. ;)
- Daddy? What time is the tiger coming to our house?
- Tiger? What tiger, Milo?
- The tiger at Grant's Farm. He's coming over for pancakes.

Gotta love emerging imaginations! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh my! Where has the time gone?!

Oh my word! I can't believe it's been so long since we've posted! Let's see. Where have we been?
First up: Arkansas over the 4th of July

We spent a fabulous long weekend with the French Family at the Farm. Thanks to Auntie April and Uncle Adam for housing us, and to Aunties Brenda and Debi and Uncle Brad for feeding and entertaining us! (We missed you, Jackie! <3) align="center">

Plus we managed to get a photo that serves as Hank's 5 month portrait:

And, on the way home, Hank *almost* got to enjoy his first trip to Lamberts. However, with over an hour wait, we decided to skip it. But as a consolation, we ate Lamberts rolls in the car. Look closely -- Hank liked it! :)

Next: Pensacola Beach

Milo, Hank, Gramme and I hit the road in the middle of July and drove(!!!) to meet some of the Frenches at Pensacola Beach, FL. But we made it. Had to stop every couple of hours, and split the 12 hour trip into 2 days there and back, but it was ok. And while we were there, it was fabulous!

Here are some highlights:

Sunrise from the Boardwalk
Sunset view from our deck
The 2009 French Family Beachbums

And we're counting this one as Hank's 6 month portrait. :)

For a complete set, you can click here (you don't need a Facebook account to view them).

What else?

Let's start with Baby Boy.

Hank is getting up on his hands and knees and rocking, even moving backwards. Every once in a while, he makes a bit of forward progress, but I'm betting just any day now, we'll have a crawler. He had his 6 month check-up last week, and is now 23lbs, 13.5oz (still over 95%), 28.5" (90%, and he was 50% up until now), and I can't remember his head circumference, but it remained at 90%. So, yeah. He's still big. ;)

Oh, and he's big enough to not use the baby tub anymore. A pic of Hank & Milo sharing their first bath:

Speaking of big, let's talk about the Big Boy.

Milo is fully and completely potty trained (well, except night, but I'm not concerned about that), and even standing up to pee. Good times. Actually, I'm not complaining at.all. It's been a loooooong time coming! He's still loving preschool, and has two friends, Cody and Andrew. Well, I actually think he has more friends than that, but those are the only two kids that he knows their names. ;)

Aaron's band, Funky Butt Brass Band, is going great guns. They released their first CD, Cut the Body Loose, and opened for a reknowned New Orleans musician, Dr. John & Lower 911, here in St. Louis last night. If you'd like a CD, they are $15, and you can just let us know -- we'll get it to you. Or you can download here:

As for me, well, here I am. Really having a hard time getting my head back into *life*. And really, really yearning for more time with the boys. If you're of a praying mind, I would appreciate prayers for a door (or window!) to open that would allow me to work part time. Of course, this would mean we'd have to find insurance on our own, so it is kind of a big prayer. ;) But, really, we're all pretty good right now.

And what's coming up? Let's see. We're going (and taking the boys) to TWO Cardinals games next week. And we're really looking forward to Aunties Jackie and Iris, and Uncle Ken, and Ryan and Kendra coming in town for a visit next weekend! Also, Milo starts the Fall session of preschool -- thankfully he's in the same class and has the same teacher, so there won't be too much transition. And Hank begins at the new sitter soon, too.

What's new with all of you?