Choose something near your husband's job. People in Arizona can't drive and freeways are totally inadequate (not nearly enough of them) a long commute makes your life much less enjoyable. If your husband is likely to work near the Chandler/Gilbert area it's a great area for families. Gilbert is really family oriented with lots of activities for families, lots of great schools and lots of kids. If you decide you want to live in Gilbert or Chandler and your husband is going to work in Phoenix you want to find something near a freeway - (near is 2-3 miles).
Downtown Phoenix is a dump, Urban living here is a scam - north Phoenix (85022 or 85032) is great for commuting and there are some very nice areas next to some less expensive areas up there. Tempe would be a good choice too with lots of parks and lots of activities but most importantly a short commute to Downtown Phoenix (you don't want to be too close to the University though)
If he works in Phoenix, Power Ranch would be an especially bad choice with an hour plus of commute each way and the nearest freeway about 8 miles away - Power Road is terrible morning and evening. It's only one lane part of the way and the road construction in that area is never ending, they like to close all of the roads so you have to scramble for a path home along with everybody else, sometimes we spent hours trying to get from the freeway to our house (6 miles) - it's ridiculous. It's also irriatitng to drive past miles of corn fields and vacant land to get to your postage stamp sized lot in a suburb of the suburbs. You get used to it but we recently moved OUT of that area and we can't believe we were used to that! On the other hand if he works in Queen Creek (Power Ranch is in Queen Creek) and you rarely have to leave, it's a less expensive area, Queen Creek is very family friendly and it's a slower area more rural, country, the choice of schools is limited compared with Gilbert, Chandler, Phoenix and Tempe. I chose a school that was 15 miles from my house (Southern & Val Vista) when I lived out there and a friend of mine who just moved in to Power Ranch chose a different school about the same distance away from her house on Gilbert & Guadalupe (that's only about 3 miles from my kids' school). If you want school choice NORTH GILBERT is where you want to be (Between Baseline and Ray and between Higley and Country Club). Oh, and beware of people telling you all the new stuff being built by Power Ranch, the new mall is north of there 6 or 8 miles in Gilbert and a lot of businesses are closing because of the bad economy so some of the services that just came to the area will go away. For example we had pizza delivery for 2 years then lost it again.
We're near Val Vista & Guadalupe (Gilbert) now and we LOVE it, there are close stores, parks, a really nice rec center, a whole host of public, private and charter schools, shopping, a close post office, the US 60 is right up the road and in a pinch the 202 Red Mountain is a good route into Phoenix as well.
As far as trading up goes, Mesa seems to be cheaper than Gilbert and is right next door. Although there is a good mix of less expensive and more expensive houses in Gilbert. Take a look at the 85234 zip code.
The weather is great here, it's hot for about 4 months out of the year but you don't have to scrape that off of your car before you can drive somewhere. The winters are beautiful, snow is a couple hours away in the winter if you ever miss it. It's best to rent at first so you can see what you like, rental houses are easy to find right now. People here move a lot so you can find a house to buy in the area you like relatively easily.