Friday, February 13, 2009

Ella Valentine now 11 months old!!

Max circa 1973 / Ella circa 2009

Ella just turned 11 months old and it's an exciting time around here. She took her first steps a few weeks ago and now she's busy toddling all around the house. If she needs to get somewhere FAST (like trying to catch the cat or escape a diaper change) she will still crawl, but other than that she's pretty determined to get around on her own two feet. Don't even think of trying to help her - she still hates to have her hands held and she continues to be a very independent little person. She's also very affectionate, smothering us with kisses and hugs and cuddles, making our hearts melt regularly.


Ella recently enjoyed her first overnight with Daddy-only, while I escaped for a mini spa vacation to celebrate my mom's birthday. She and Max and Aunt Eliza had a ton of fun visiting Little Farm up in Tilden park, where a happy, wide-mouthed Ella got her whole face covered in cow slobber.

Ella at Little Farm Feeding the Sheep

Ella is very social and she loves nothing more then getting out and about, seeing people and making friends. She has begun pointing at EVERYTHING, saying "DAH" loudly as she does so....wanting to know the names and function of all that she sees. She also loves to eat, and we are often amazed at the quantities she can pack away in that little body. Fruit is her favorite, especially berries and kiwi, followed by bread, cheese and meatballs. A steady stream of cheerios gets us through almost any car ride. She hates having her face wiped after meals, so by the end of the day, Ella is generally covered in a mish-mash of breakfast, lunch and dinner - ready for her bath with daddy.

She's just gradutated from sitting in a laundry basket that we placed within the bathtub to keep her confined, and now she has the whole big tub to splish and splash and dance to the tunes Max plays her from his IPhone. Her repetoire of dance moves continues to increase!


See you next month when we celebrate the big 1 year!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ella turns 10 months old!

Ella is 10 months old and getting sweeter and lovey-er by the minute. She recently learned how to give kisses and now she attacks us with her big drooly mouth wide open! She's also begun to get her groove on, clapping and bouncing to the music. When she makes sounds on her toy keyboard, her face lights up and she waves her hands in the air as though conducting her own orchestra. She also adores her stuffed animals and loves to jump them when they're not looking, smother them with her whole body and kiss them on their noses. Our cat Parsley gets the same treatment but her response is a little less predictable!

X-Mas eve on Snake Rd.

We had a great time over the holidays with Grammy Dinah out visiting from Maryland. We hosted Christmas Eve dinner at our house and Dinah taught me how to stuff my first bird. We celebrated New Years on the beach with Tom and Linda and Amy and Ella discovered her Italian Fancher heritage by devouring a plate of Linda's meatballs with great gusto!

New Year's in Pajaro Dunes

We started the New Year's off with Ella's first real sickness....a good noisy case of croup. She sounded like a barking seal for several nights and we gave her constant steam baths to try and ease her swollen airways. Poor little thing....check out the photos of her right after one of Max's crazy steam treatments.

Steamy Bathroom Cures Croupy Cough

It looks like our girl will be walking in the next couple of weeks which is exciting and a little sad because the crawling is just so cute. She can cruise the furniture easily now and will stand awhile without support if her attention is on something else.

Happy New Years everyone! We are excited about the days ahead and feeling so grateful for our family and friends and all that we have in these crazy times.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ella Valentine is 9 months old already...can you believe it?

I was pushing her on the swings the other day with my mom and I noticed "wow...she actually looks like a little kid now!." Babies sure grow up fast. And, like everyone told me, it just gets easier and more fun the bigger she gets. Her sense of humor has been coming alive lately and she loves to do silly stuff that she knows will make us laugh. It's good to laugh so much with your kid and this has been such a sweet unexpected part of parenting for me. Who knew that babies were so funny? She's also sleeping MUCH better the past few weeks, and if there's anything better than laughing, it sleeping!!!!!

She still wakes up once for a quick bottle of milk, and afterward she's taken to just laying on me quietly, head resting on my shoulder as we rock gently back to sleep. Now that she's not up every 5 minutes, it actually feels like a sweet and precious time to be sharing with her, so calm and quiet in the wee hours. But during the day she is non-stop activity. She crawls and stands and cruises and has begun really figuring out how some of her toys "work" instead of just batting them around and chewing on them It's fascinating to watch her learn! Just tonight she figured out how to bring me back the ball when I roll it to her (baby fetch!) and I felt so proud I could have given her a medal!

We sure are excited for our first Christmas with her, especially with Grammy Dinah coming out to join the festivities. We're still not sure how to babyproof a Christmas tree, but I'm sure that, like everything else on this baby journey, we will figure it out somehow!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Ella's gettin' bigger....

Check it out...


Saturday, October 25, 2008



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hola Ella...


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ella just turned 7 months old and she's crawling...

Ella started crawling a few weeks ago and it's pretty freakin' cute. It's so crazy that one day she can't do something and then the next day she can. Amazing...



Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ella's first flight...

We were in Boulder, Colorado with some dear friends the past few weeks
and we flew back on Wednesday. Ella did great on the plane...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On the pier in Santa Cruz...

Ella loved watching all the sea lions playing and laying around under
the pier. The sun began to set and the light was just beautiful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

bathing bunny...

Our little bunny loves taking baths... Here are a few pix from yesterday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ella Valentine is 5 months old today!

Looking out our front window in Santa Cruz

Its a cool foggy morning here in Santa Cruz and Ella and I started things off early with a walk to get daddy a sunday morning latte. We are staying in the most wonderful house (thank you Arline, David and Evelyn!!!) and it's just a short stroll across the river to get to Pacific Ave....the colorful pedestrian area filled with cafes, bookstores, street musicians and theaters. Today Ella and I watched ducks splashing in the misty water below us, she in her fuzzy pink hat and me trying to keep her little hands warm with my own. Babygirl sure loves to be cruised around these days so that she can look at (and hopefully touch and taste!) everything in her big new world. There is a wonderful vegetable and flower garden in front of our house and she's been happily exploring the scents and textures of fresh corn, tomatoes, peppers and lavender. We've also taken her to check out the beach boardwalk; her eyes were big as saucers as we strolled along with roller coasters wooshing by and kids screaming everywhere. She much prefers the quiet garden at this point, as do I!

Ella & I in the morning

Aside from cruising around, Ella's favorite pastimes are rolling onto her tummy, being tickled, and hopping in her Johnny-Jump-Up. We've heard that the jumper is bad for her hip development, but its such a ridiculously good time for all of us that we've decided to risk it :-) We'll post a video soon of the little Irish jig she likes to do when she's in there. She's also been enjoying long luxurious baths in the Italian marble sink that graces the gorgeous kitchen here. It's a regular Roman bath and I think our little girl is going to be a spa-junkie someday just like her mamma.

We sure are feeling lucky to have the entire month of August in this special home, enjoying the family, friends and ambiance of Max's home-town.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ella's in Santa Cruz...

We're staying in Santa Cruz for most of August and we're having a great time. It's been so fun to be able to walk and stroll to get places. Where we live in the Oakland hills, it means a car ride to get anywhere. We're wondering if we can ever go back to the hills after this experience.

This is my most favorite picture ever taken of Ella

Friday, July 18, 2008

Smiley face...

Ella has such a sweet disposition almost all the time. We feel so
lucky to get to spend time with such a happy little girl. It
definitely rubs off on ya.

For a long time she was very vocal but recently she's started making
this little noise instead. It's the same kind of noise you'd make if u
were immitating a cat hissing only with less force and prolonged so
it'll last a full breath. We do it back and forth with each other so
that's been fun. It's our own language and we can both speak it

Ella's getting much better control of her hands and arms and can
easily grab things u hand her. She scootches on her back and has
started rolling over (still has trouble rolling back).

More soon...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jump-up for the first time...

Ella tried her "johnny jump-up" for the first time today. She's a
little young to fully enjoy it but she definitely liked it.

4 months old.

Sorry it's been awhile. Ella's still as cute as ever and now she's 1/3
of a year old.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Toes in mouth...

Ella has discovered her toes and loves to suck 'em.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ella's first roadtrip...

We're in the car on our way down to Ojai where our good friends are
getting married this weekend.

Ella's fast asleep but still has quite a grip on her Winkle...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ella Valentine is 3 months old...

If you look closely, you can see Maggie in Ella's eyes.
(I mean literally - her reflection)

Hands at rest.

So cute.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ella Valentine @ 11 weeks...

Let's see... so we're coming down off an amazing three week run with Aunt Eliza (Max's sister) in from New York while on break from her masters program. She was so good to us and took great care of our family. It's been a bit of a shock to not have her around but we're making do. It was especially fun to watch Eliza and Ella bond and we all had a lot of fun together.

Ella's been as cute as ever. The latest thing she's doing is that she's starting to realize that her hands and arms are actually hers! She recognizes when she touches things and you can tell that despite the lack of control that she's trying to make contact. It's so cool to watch her little brain working so hard.

You can click on this photo to see a few more Ella pix...

Ella at 11 Weeks

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ella Valentine turns 10 weeks...

Ella's aunt Eliza turned 29 this past Saturday. To celebrate, we drove down to Santa Cruz (the farthest Ella's been from home yet!) and went to Eliza's b-day party. It was so fun to be with family and have Ella meet even more people who love her.

She's been "talking" a lot and singing with me and staring into our eyes all the time. You can really see her little brain working so hard as she takes it all in. Here's a little video so you can see what I mean...

More soon.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ella's getting bigger before our eyes...

Hard to believe that two months have gone by! Little Ella Valentine is outgrowing her clothes and getting bigger every day. Lately she's been giving us huge stares with lots of eye contact and the biggest, most adorable smiles. That's been the highlight over the past couple of days. Hard to top the big smile with the scrunched up nose she's flashing us.

Ella Valentine Fancher

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It Takes A Village

CLICK THIS PHOTO to see the latest Ella Valentine Album...

Ella Valentine 4-22-08

Maggie here (finally!)....

Ella Valentine turned 6 weeks old today and has just begun to bless us with her incredible smile. She is amazing and Max and I are learning to read her cues and understand her needs better every day. My respect for all the parents of the world has grown by leaps and bounds! I find myself constantly marveling at the thought of my own mother who raised five of us long before the invention of disposable diapers (or electric swings or breast pumps or dads-who-change-diapers and do night feedings!). I honestly can't fathom how she did it when mothering one little easy baby girl has kicked my butt in these first weeks!

Max and I have only managed to muddle our way through this far because of the amazing support we've been getting from our family and friends. Erica arranged for folks to bring us evening meals and we've been blessed with wonderful food and endless loving arms to hold Ella. My dear friend Terri Fox jumped on a plane from Boulder when Ella was just two weeks old and took incredible care of all of us. Terri's a mother of two, and she schooled us beautifully, giving Ella her first sink-bath and teaching me about the healing powers of drinking wine in the evenings and wearing ear-plugs at night. Grammy Dinah came out and stayed with us for two weeks which was a huge gift. Every morning Dinah would cradle Ella in her arms as she sang and talked to her about her future and rocked her to sleep. Grandpa Tom and Grandma Linda have been nurturing us all, Linda even taking on the brave adventure of sleeping/feeding Ella for an entire night while Max and I got to snuggle and sleep. And as I write this, my mom is in the next room - her arms numb from holding Ella in precisely the one position that has finally enabled her to fall asleep.

Max and I feel so fortunate to have this level of support and it makes me so happy to feel all the love Ella is receiving and to think of the big circle of friends and family she will grow up within.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Pix of Ella Valentine...

Here are some new pix of Miss Ella V. Click Here to view the latest album or click on the picture below...

Ella Valentine 3-29-08

The Snugglewrap is the best!!!

Of all of the baby products we've put to good use since Ella was born, none has been as influential as The Snugglewrap. Little Ella and I start each morning by gulping down a bottle of milk (she does the gulping). Then, I get her in the wrap and we bounce around the living room and inevitably she falls asleep.

The Snugglewrap

Today we went for a hike up in Redwood Regional and she slept the entire time. What I really love about it is that she's snuggled up really tight to my body and I know it's a really comforting, womb-like feeling for her in there.

The wrap is really easy to get on, it's as comfortable as can be, and it's totally soft and stretchy and yummy. We also have the Baby Bjorn but it's not as cozy and doesn't support her neck as well. So, if you know someone who has a baby or will have a baby soon, this makes for an awesome and unique gift. Check it out... The Snugglewrap

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lazy Saturday

We're doing great. Sleepy but great. It's Saturday and it's almost two
weeks since our labor started. It's been a big blur but we're still in
love. Can u see Ella's cute little elf-ears in this pic?We'll post
more soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The name game...

We took our sweet time to make sure we got it just right... "Baby Girl" Fancher now has her very own name. Without further ado, we present to you...

Ella Valentine Fancher

We call her Evee (E.V.), Ella-Bella, Ella-Bee, Eliana, and most often, "da Faysche".

Ella, from the greek, means "torch" or "bright light." Valentine, of Latin origin, means "strong and robust."

Thank you for your patience and for all of your support. We feel like the luckiest new parents in the world.

M & M

Friday, March 14, 2008

Parenthood Day 5: glowing baby girl

The past couple of days have mostly been amazing but also a little trying. We're slowly getting caught up on sleep and we're just starting to figure out how to do this parenting thing. Such a trip to have this crazy, physically and mentally draining labor experience and then be expected to muster more patience and strength than ever before. It's really wild. I've gained a whole new respect for all the parents out there, especially my own!

Our friend Sirena gave us some great advice yesterday... She said that it's important that when child-raising stuff is feeling hard and trying, to remember that it's only a phase and that it'll pass soon... AND to also remember that when stuff is going great and feeling easy to not get too attached cause that too may change. We're feeling that already. Thanks Ren.

Lots of people have been commenting on how our little girl has "such a glow" about her and that she's radiant. That glow is actually a mild case of jaundice so that's been good for a few laughs. ;-) We had our first doctor visit today and our pediatrician told us that she wasn't too concerned about it and to come back again next week to see how she's doing.

We continue to feel so lucky to have such amazing friends and family. We've been hiding in our little bubble here trying to regain our strength but will reach out soon and start returning calls and emails. Thanks for your patience.

We've still not chosen our little girl's name which we'll do this weekend. We have until Monday so we've committed to getting it done soon.

As always, thanks for your support.





We've started calling our little baby with no name "da faysche". You would use it in a sentence like "look at dat faysche" or "I'm gonna eat dat lil' faysche". It helps if you keep your teeth clinched together as you say it to create the right accent... oh and scrunch your nose up just as you say "faysche". give it a try.

she's killing us with her cuteness. i know i'm biased but "da faysche" is such a sweet-pea. check it out...

"da faysche" comes home

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We're home now...

It's almost 4am. I've got baby on my shoulder and we're sitting in a
glider (thx edie) rocking back and forth. Swadled girl in my left
hand, iPhone in my right and I'm typing away hoping the battery won't
die before I send this to the blog.
We got home safely weds afternoon and it feels great to be back in the
comfort of our own space. Erica had cleaned our house from the crazy
labor so we walked in to a fresh new home. What a gift! Just another
incredible thing she's done to help us out. Thx erica again and again!
The day has been challenging for us. Baby's gotten really good at
crying at the top of her little lungs and isn't eating as easily as
she did the first two days. We're all learning how to do all this
stuff but it's never fun to have a baby crying so hard and feel like
you don't know exactly why. We're getting it but it's been a little
trying especially since we're both so tired.
Maggie's doing great despite being tired and really sore. I read her
all of your emails and 'comments' throughout the labor and delivery
but she's had time now to go back and read them herself. You all are
so cool. Your support REALLY made a difference and we love you for that.
Okay, battery's almost dead and my thumb is getting tired. We'll be in
touch soon.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One more night at the hospital...

The girls are both doing great. Baby girl is passing tests right and
left and is doing all the things she should as a one-day old. She's a
great breast-feeder and our nurses think she's a special little thing.

Despite being really tired maggie went another night with no sleep.
Baby's sleeping fine but maggie's head is spinning with so many
thoughts that she can't seem to close her eyes. At this moment baby
girl and I are out cruising the hospital and we're hoping mom is fast

Despite being sleepy, maggie's spirits are high and she's a natural
mommy. So fun to watch her with her baby and see her bring so much

We're getting taken care of and we're glad for more time here. Each
encounter with each nurse we learn something new. Nurses are incredibe
and do such amazing work. Yeah nurses!

We're excited to get home too and looking forward to tomorrow as well.
For now we're just chillin'.


Monday, March 10, 2008

photos & a little about our delivery...

Here are a few pictures from today...

Baby's First Day

I want to write more to tell you about how awesome our actual delivery went and about how sweet and beautiful our daughter is... but, i just can't right now... i'm a little tired and can't seem to pull the right words together.

okay, the short version is like this... after suffering for so long, maggie's cervix finally opened and we woke up this morning with our baby ready to come into this world. it only took 25 minutes of actual pushing and she was out! can you believe that? maggie was such a trooper through the whole thing. and it was such a gift to have the end be so sweet.

So now we have this yummy little baby (name not decided) and we're learning so much about parenting. breast feeding, swaddling, burping, etc. etc. all things we learned in class but now there's a whole new meaning behind each lesson. Our little baby is learning too. She's so cute and gazes into your eyes when you're up nice and close. just a really precious little thing. i am in love.

can't wait for you to meet her.

we'll be in touch soon.

m & m.

Daddy nap time