Monday, August 18, 2014

Camping.

On Saturday, we decided to go camping.

Happy Photographs-2

Well, more accurately, my 2015 Senior Models voted on a camping group session and, since I had to rent out the campsite, Andrew was like "We get to camp?!?!" and, because I am an awesome wife, I said "Sure!" and not-so-secretly hoped it would rain out.

(Camping is Andrew's favorite thing and we haven't camped in five years.)

And I'll be honest, I was a little nervous about camping by water with two crazy boys (not even lying- Andrew had to put the boys in the car at one point so they would stop running away for rocks and leaves and sticks and streets and, well, freedom) but, once my shoot was over and we were settled in, it was such a blast. The weather, the s'mores, the food cooking on the fire, the way Max had soot and dirt and sweat all over his face and the way that Henry and I sat in a pile of leaves dumping leaves on each other for fifteen minutes and the way that Andrew was, like, totally in his element.

I dug it. Like, I really dug it.

I mean, with faces (and company!) like this, how could I not?!

Maxwell and a Crush Soda - lissachandler.com -3

And thennnn Henry started coughing and coughed so hard for two hours that Andrew and I packed up the campsite with two flashlights, loaded the boys in the car, and then got home around eleven, laughing the entire time about everything - from how I learned that I actually love camping to how Max told me that he knew a T-Rex was going to eat our house while we were gone to how he fell asleep as soon as he got in the car to how Henry talked the entire way home to how we just couldn't stop laughing - the car ride home may have been one of my favorite parts.

So! I think we are going to have to try that again.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Morning and Thursday Night.

This morning, the boys partied with one of their favorite babysitters while I photographed a session at a greenhouse (well, finished a session at a greenhouse because, at the session last week, we got to the greenhouse and it was closed!!) and dropped off 500 bags of baby clothing off at Goodwill and it was only slightly embarrassing when they saw the messy trunk of my mom car.

Dropping off baby clothing is the worst because, at the moment, there's no reason to keep it but, at the same time, every time I put a piece of clothing in a donation pile, all I see are the fat legs and chubby cheeks and happy lips and blonde hair that used to live in those clothes. I mean, I kept lots of outfits, of course, because I would love to have another little boy one day but we just don't have the space to keep everything. These kids are just growing up so fast!

Case in point: Henry photobombed Andrew and I yesterday.

Photo. Bombed.

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Anyway, this little guy threw up twice today so we're inside for the rest of the night... which would have happened anyway because, as I put Huck down for a nap, I came back out to a living room full of blankets and a box of toys thrown all over the floor because Max had made a fort because, when you're four and inside, everything needs to be a fort.

Or food. I swear, four year olds never stop being hungry.
(While writing this, I have been asked for cereal and bread and to make cookies and Jell-O at the same time and, two hours ago, he ate two bowls of Jambalaya. #cantstopwontstop #probablywhyIneverwriteonhereanymore)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

These Two Pictures Are From the Fourth of July But Whatev.

My boys are growing up.

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Fourth of July Photographs by NWA Wedding and Senior Photographer Lissa Chandler - lissachandler.com -8

Yesterday, I sat in my mom's kitchen and flipped through her copy of Max's baby book. I grinned so hard at the rolls and the smiles and the memories of the three of us living in that teeny, tiny one bedroom apartment in South Provo that probably should have been condemned but sheltered us anyway. We didn't even have two quarters to rub together and I can still remember the pit in my stomach, hoping that we had enough to cover groceries and diapers and gas for the end of the week. We married so young and so fast and so intensely and, when our life together started, it was like my heart was ripped open- and I mean this in the best sense.

When Andrew and I fell in love, it was like everything was new. And when I became a mom? Everything just multiplied. Andrew and I are parents to the two most magical human beings on the face of the planet. Maxwell is the happiest person I have ever met. Not the happiest child or the happiest preschooler or the happiest relative - the happiest person. When he smiles, his whole body beams. When something exciting happens, he is the first one to clap. When someone needs help, he is the first to volunteer. When there's a joke, he is the very first to laugh. I'm not saying that he is perfect - he is stubborn and overly excitable and so, so sooooo stubborn (did I mention stubborn?) - but his outlook in life is something that I marvel at daily. He's just happy, from the tips of his toes to the top of his hair. And better? He radiates it. When Max laughs, you can feel it from across the room. The boy's infectious!

Henry, on the other hand, doesn't care as much about being happy as he does about going at top speed all of the time. Henry was the most chill baby I have ever been around- he was content to look around and stare and coo and, now that he is almost two (!!!), I am one thousand percent positive that, while he was acting so chill, he was really just plotting about whatever it was he was going to do as soon as he was big enough for it. Max is always laughing. Henry is always scheming. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen and, in retrospect, I have no idea how I ever felt like I had my hands full when we just had Max. As I told my mom recently, Henry is just the kind of kid that everyone spoils. Something about the spark in his eye and how he loves to say "Me!!!" or "YEAH!" or make whale noises with his hands raised or the way that he dances like a maniac whenever he hears music or, heck, even the way his gravely voice says "No!" makes people adore him.

They are just growing up so fast!

But! Instead of gushing so hard that I put y'all (and my "y'all", I mean my future self) to sleep, I will just tell this story from this evening:

After bath time, Henry ran out into the yard naked and played that way for thirty minutes. And the only time he stopped running? He stood over my brother's toy water gun to pee on it.

The boy's got perfect aim, y'know? 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Well, Those Four Months Went Fast.

Not gonna lie- I'm not even going to attempt to catch up on the past four months.

Just know this: They were crazy, they were busy, they were colorful, they were full of doctor's appointments and nails that needed to be clipped and disaster haircuts and eczema on little knees that was cured by wearing little girl leggings (not even joking). And, most honestly, they were filled with a ton of mom guilt about not documenting the every day.

You see- when I started writing this blog, it was for fun and when I started learning photography, that was for fun, too. What I didn't expect was that, in a few short years, I would get really, really good at photography and that I would enjoy photographing other people more than I enjoyed photographing my own children. Three years ago, I didn't know what it meant when someone said "1.8" in relation to a lens and I did not expect photography to consume my world like it has. I expected, like I expected growing up, that I would be a stay at home with a small hobby of taking photographs once in a while.

That's not what's happened.

And, truthfully, I believe that this was always how it was supposed to go- that I was supposed to become a wedding and portrait photographer in a big way, not a side business way. My business is still small and still has an enormous amount to grow but, from where Andrew and I are sitting, there are some extremely exciting things happening right now. It's taken a lot of late nights and lots of crying (from me, obviously) and lots of sacrifice that I never expected to make, but things are starting to unfold a little easier and, for that, I am incredibly grateful.

As for Henry? He is grateful for neon leggings and Dorito's because, well, a Henry without a messy face is anything but the Henry we have come to know and love (side note: he is the CRAZIEST and the cutest!!)

And Max? Well. See for yourself!

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This is him singing "I am a Child of God". And, no, he can't play the ukelele at all but he sure can strum those strings while singing a primary song! Love him and the fact that he has looked exactly the same since his first birthday. He is the biggest gem and we can't get enough of him.

Sidenote: Andrew is obsessed with How I Met Your Mother.
Also, pretty sure I am about to make some chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Hue of You

I know. I am the biggest family blog slacker ever because, well, things have been busy.

And one of the things causing that?! THIS!


I have photography Breakout (basically a mini-workshop in the form of a PDF and videos) launching on Clickin' Moms today! You can read all about it here. I'd love to see some familiar faces there!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday.

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Monday is not my favorite day of the week. I mean, I like it. It's alright. And, on some Mondays, we basically just wear our pajamas (or PAND-jamas as Maxwell likes to say) and the boys build block towers at my feet while I edit. But! On this Monday! I woke up, got dressed, dressed the boys, and then cleaned out my closet, the bookcases, did the laundry and the dishes, and then cleaned the fans, too.

You guys- I hate cleaning fans.
And our fans? They were past kinda-gross and had skipped all the way to plenty-gross.
Like, I had to get re-dressed after I cleaned them. It was a hot mess. The boys loved it.

Aside from cleaning, we had a play date (hooray!) and, during our post-playdate-errands, Maxwell crashed in the car. And here's the thing: Max always falls asleep in the car. Not every time we drive, obviously, but if it's in the afternoon and we drive for more than twenty minutes, he is completely, totally, and absolutely out. And Henry? Yeah... No. Henry will only sleep in complete darkness and refuses to take naps if something exciting is going on- and he thinks that something exciting is always going on. Like, no matter how dark we make his room or how much we rock him or how soft we make his blanket, he won't nap on the weekends when he knows Andrew is home and, also no matter what, he never sleeps in the car (unless it's total darkness and- you guessed it!- Andrew is not in the car). So! Today. We drove around after Maxwell fell asleep, picked up our main man when he beat us home (hello, Andrew!), drove to the store, and then Henry partied like an only child while Max slept for FOUR more hours until we finally woke him up at 8:00.

He's been watching TV and eating strawberries snuggled up to his Daddy ever since.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Maximillian the Helper

Today, while Henry slept, we made cookies.
Max helped of course.

Helper-1


He LOVES making cookies and helping with dinner and with bringing extra bits of sunshine into our home (also dirt). But! He does not like behaving in church (homeboy almost got taken home today when he kept throwing fits and unfolding chairs during Sacrament Meeting) and he does not like cleaning up his messes, either. One of the most corner-inducing phrases in our house is "Mama! YOU clean it up! You clean up my mess!" because, really, he doesn't like chores but when you say "Will you help me?", he is all about helping. All. About. It.

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Especially when it means wearing oven mitts and sneaking cookie dough.

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Helper-1

Also, tonight after church, we watched a movie and he pulled out a brush and brushed my hair for at least twenty minutes. Annnnd my mama heart burst and burst a little more when he sat in front of me and let me comb his hair for ten minutes and then sat on my lap for another ten. He is the sweetest when he's not being extra naughty. And when he has had a super I'm-a-three-year-old-boy kinda day, he always makes up for it by going to bed early. So, really, that's a win for Andrew and I either way.

PS. Today, Henry went with me to Young Women's and cruised over, like, six different girl's laps and called each one Anna. Apparently someone knows what his aunt's name is (confession: she was the first person he walked to).

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bath Bros.

These two.
These blonde haired, blue eyed, crazy guys.
They are becoming the best of friends.

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It has been amazing to watch Henry grow up with Max as an older brother. Max has always loved to call Henry "his baby" and loves talking about all of his baby ways but, this week, he has started calling him "My Little Kid" because now he can do things like walk and say "Go! Go! Go!" while playing with dinosaurs and "Vroom!" when playing with cars and, most importantly, he is really good at waving action figures in the air to make them fly. And Max loves it. And then he hates it. And then he loves it some more because the only thing worse than a brother who shares all your toys is when mom takes all the toys away unless everyone shares. So! Spoiler! We are getting really good at sharing at the Chandler house.

Except I'm still not very good at sharing blankets and, today, I ate a good chunk of the chocolate chip cookies all on my lonesome. But! At least I shared most of 'em!

Friday, November 15, 2013

It Goes So, SO Fast.


Max-1

Lately, this kiddo is a Mama's Boy who walks into our bedroom every morning with his favorite blanket- the one my mom made me when I was three- and he rubs his sleepy eyes, hands the blanket to me, and climbs into bed until his little body is squished against mine. It always seems like he will, but he never goes back to sleep and instead starts grabbing my face and talking three miles a minute and, as much as I love it, some mornings it drives me crazy because I never get enough sleep but, somehow, every morning, he wins me over with his little smile and his excited voice and the way he says "I love you, too, Mama." and the way he squeals "No!!" when I ask him if he dreamed about dinosaurs fighting stars or penguins wearing tuxedos or zebras partying with lions.

He has brought three years and four months and two and a half weeks of magic into my life and those days have gone so fast and, you guys, it's going faster every day. I love this little man of mine. To put it lightly, he's a peach.

PS. A week or two ago, he stood in the living room wearing no shirt and a Wolverine mask and basketball shorts and bare feet and said "Oh Sh-t. Sh-t. Sh-t." There's a first time for everything, right? Even swears.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sir Huckles the Mischievous


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So, here's the thing about Henry: I am never going to write enough about him.

Part of that is because he is my second child. I have been around this block before. Sure, the block is pretty different and, actually, nothing is really the same, but at the same time things ARE the same. A baby is a baby is a baby, y'know? I mean, sometimes you just can't say anything more or much of anything at all because all you really want to do is squeeze their cheeks over and over and over and kiss the wispy hair on the top of their heads and nibble on their tiny toes before, y'know, they become gross. Cause everyone has gross toes! Just not before they can walk.

But here's the main part of why I'll never write enough about Henry: Henry is just magic. He is the sweetest. He is a mama's boy with a golden heart and the most mischievous personality in the entire world. Max is my obedient child. He is ridiculously stubborn and super focused and super happy and, well, amazingly awesome, but also, he is my obedient child. On Friday, one of his friends came over and stood on our porch railing and Max just about blew a gasket telling him that "Climbing on the RAIL is not ALLOWED at MY house!!!" because, if I didn't mention it already, he is Sir Bossypants.

Love him.

Back to Henry: Henry has this little twinkle in his eye that just means he is going to be trouble. And he is trouble! First off- he will turn thirteen months tomorrow and he still doesn't walk. And it's not because he can't! I have seen him walk from one side of the kitchen to the other and I have seen him walk to me for chocolate chips. He has been cruising since he was seven months old and, still, he mostly just speed crawls everywhere and laughs at us when we try to coax him into walking- like, "Nice try, Mom, but why would I do that when you can hold me?". And I realize that what I just described isn't that mischievous, but what is mischievous is the way we find him standing on tables- last week Andrew found him sitting on my work table between my desktop and my camera bag full to the brim with equipment- and the way he just disappears. One second he's next to you and the next, he's vanished. When Max vanishes, you hear him. When Henry vanishes, you have to pray he wants to be found because he is like a freaking fox. He just disappears! It's seriously unnerving but also kinda awesome. I mean, maybe we are raising a ninja.

Besides that, he is smart. Today, he picked up a dinosaur and shouted "Go! Go! Go!" as he made it race across the chair (and, yes, this was at Sacrament Meeting and, yes, we were sitting in the very back of the overflow because, really, we never get anywhere on time now-a-days). His favorite toys are cars and more cars and then more cars and he also loves grabbing super hero action figures- not the Little People figures but Max's action figures- and making them fly in the sky over and over and over. He calls each super hero "Bah-Mah!" (translation: Batman) and screams "MAMA!!" whenever I walk away from him and will respond "Yes" to questions (and he means it!) and has started saying "Oh No!" and thinks that everything is a phone- especially his baby monster.

Also, he is the giggliest and has the softest skin and is just the most perfect child ever. I am going to miss his babyhood so hard when he gets older but, at the same time, I find comfort knowing that, even though I still miss Max as a baby with overwhelming force, I traded that baby in for a pretty rocking awesome three year old. And Henry will be the same way.

Halloween This Year.

This year, Max was The Flash and Henry was Yoda.
Andrew wore a Chewbacca shirt (however it's spelled!) and I wore a Robin shirt.
It looked like this:

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 9.48.05 PM Halloween-4 Halloween-14 Halloween-1 Halloween-15 Halloween-16


So! Anyway, photographs aside, our Halloween afternoon was incredibly crazy. For starters, Max and Henry had been swapping colds since Saturday night and, on Thursday, I was a hot mess (I use the term "hot" loosely) of a cold. The day had already been crazy- Max got to wear his costume to preschool, we parked by a (rank) dead bird at a parking lot and Max wouldn't stop talking about it all day, we met Andrew for lunch and afterwards we had a huge melt down in the super crowded candy aisle of Wal-Mart and, really, my kids were thrilled to Trick or Treat. Or at least Max was. Henry was just being Mister Sneakypants like usual.

I am getting away with myself.

My whole story is this: After a crazy day, I got the kids ready with thirty minutes to spare before heading to our friend's house. Our church's ward activity had been cancelled the night before because of rain and I was super excited to get the boys in their costumes and go. They took a long bath and then I put their costumes on. And they LOVED them! Max was flashing across the apartment, Henry was grabbing at his ears and laughing, and I was able to put makeup on without a child sitting on my foot.

And then! THEN!

I had the nerve to put on my Robin shirt.
The Robin shirt I bought when Henry was going to be Batman but before we realized all the Batman costumes were gone and I ordered a Yoda costume on Amazon instead.

The Robin shirt had a cape.

Now. I know not everyone is as well versed in superheroes as I have become in the past year, so I'll just tell you: The Flash doesn't wear a cape. So, when I put on a cape, there was some serious drama. Costumes were ripped off, tears were shed, socks were taken off, hairspray was wasted- I had a serious Halloween meltdown on my hands.

So. I took a deep breath, found Max's superman cape and his Batman boots and, by the time Andrew came home, I was pulling boots onto a new character called Super Flash- super for the cape and Flash for the rest of the outfit. And all was right in the world.

Except Henry's world. I made him wear the Yoda ears and I can honestly say I'll never regret it.
My boys are CUTE.
(And that includes you, Andrew C.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Henry the Night Roller

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Wellllll. I haven't blogged in over a month and have let super important events slip by undocumented (Henry turned ONE!!!!), but tonight after I finished nursing Henry, Andrew and I started laughing about how, every night, no matter what, as soon as he is done, Henry flails his arms in the air and rolls over two or three times until he is laying on top of his Daddy's chest. It doesn't matter whether Andrew is asleep or awake or somewhere in between- every night, on cue, our little crazy haired wonder finds his man.

And, really, I just love that.
And we love that little baby so much that sometimes it feels like our hearts are going to explode.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

These Two.

Just two of my three main men looking good after church.

LissaChandler-3

I like to call the one below "No, Daddy, Noooooo!!"

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I mean, the kid just wants to be kissed when he wants to be kissed (read: not in this photograph) and he really wanted to chase after the baby snake that Max was spellbound by as we took these photographs. Also, in Sunday School today, Henry learned how to throw his Little People Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and LDS Missionary (what a combo, eh?) across the room as hard as he could so that he could crawl after them as fast as his legs could carry him.

I really love eleven month olds. 
Also three year olds.
And also my husband. Ever since he was twenty-two. I can't believe we are coming up on our fifth year (dating!) anniversary but at the same time, I have a really hard time picturing my life without him and his nerdy, comic book reading ways so there's that. Love him, even when he's sitting on the couch in old pajama pants eating oatmeal out of a coffee cup as he procrastinates his homework.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sometimes, your crib gets crashed.

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... And then you get it back to yourself and all is right with the world once again. At least until you realize that it's naptime.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday.

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This afternoon, after coming home from lunch with Daddy and an hour of Max running around at the library (yep! we are that family!), we came home to a box at the door.

But first! A little back story. When packages come, Andrew often opens them with a butter knife. We've never talked about this with Max but, earlier this week, three or four packages came in during Henry's naptime. I work while Henry sleeps (Max usually destroys the living room in a massive war of Super Heroes or we build him a tent or he sits next to me and pretends to work on his computer... which usually ends with him sitting on my lap looking up animals), so I stacked the boxes behind me and kept working. Max got kinda quiet, though, so I turned and looked at the boxes and found him standing on top of all of the boxes with a plastic butter knife trying to open one of the cardboard boxes.

And here's the good part: He opened one of the packages! With a plastic butter knife!

So! When the package came today, I sat down to open it with Huck in my lap and Max squealed "A package for ME?!?!?", zoomed into the kitchen and then zoomed back to the living room, a pink, plastic, child knife in hand. We opened the box together and, when he found several toys from his Mimi and Grandpa, he danced around the entire apartment and, once Henry went to sleep, "shared" all of his Henry's toys with himself.

No worries, though, as soon as Henry woke up he "shared" Max's toys as well. And by sharing, I mean he chewed all of them up with his brand new (and eighth!) tooth. Also, he speed crawled out onto the patio today and, when I caught up with him, he was sitting in a chair. Homeboy would probably climb up a five story building with no ledges if we let him. And he'd grin the whole time he did it.