Baby name consultant: Ideas needed for #5 green bean

Laura and her husband are expecting their fifth baby! (“Green bean” because they don’t know if they’re having a boy or girl. Like “Team Green.” I’m kind of crushing on calling the babe a green bean! Is it weird? Or really cute? I’m thinking cute!)

She writes,

You must get tons of these requests all of the time, but if you have time, could you say a little prayer for our little one on the way and maybe even suggest a name or two?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — it is nothing short of a privilege to play a role in naming a baby! You all have given me such joy by asking me for my thoughts/suggestions/ideas, and be assured I pray for each of you and your babies.

Back to Laura! Her other kids are named:

Isabella Jane (called Bella)
Christian James
Gabriel Wayne
Quinn Michael

So many of my favorite notes are hit with this sib set!

Since Laura told me they’re “totally drawing blanks” and “kind of at a loss,” I tried to come up with some extra names for them (I always shoot for three, but was able to come up with four for girls and five for boys):

(1) Juliana
As you all know, I almost always start with the Baby Name Wizard book when coming up with suggestions, as it provides a list of boy and girl names similar in style/feel/popularity for each entry. Since Isabella is Laura’s only girl, I used the girl suggestions for her name as inspiration more than the boys’ names, and Juliana was a top suggestion for her. I love it for this family — I think it fits in so well with all the other kids.

(2) Hannah or Anna
Hannah was a match for a bunch of the names I looked up — both names they’ve used already and ones that seemed like a good fit. It’s soft and sweet, and Hannah’s story in the Bible is so great. Hannah is a form of Anna, and Anna popped up in my research as well, so it seemed a perfect suggestion.

(3) Lily
Lily reminds me a lot of Quinn — short and punchy; it’s also similar in style to a lot of names that seem like ones Laura and her husband would like. It’s also Marian, which you all know is probably my very favorite kind of name!

(4) Sofia/Sophie or Fiona
These two seem so similar in sound to me that I included them as part of the same suggestion. Sofia (or Sophia) or just Sophie as a given name is really similar to Isabella in my opinion — pretty, feminine, and popular — while Fiona brings in the Irish feel like Quinn. I like them both, a lot.

(1) Owen
Owen is far and away my first suggestion for this family for a boy. Quinn feels a little bit like an outsider, with a different style and feel from his brothers, and I feel like Owen bridges that gap really nicely.

(2) Nicholas (nicked Cole?)
Nicholas leans more toward the feel and style of Christian and Gabriel to me, which is great, but using a nickname like Cole brings Quinn right back in again. I love Nicholas nicked Cole (we seriously considered it for my youngest).

(3) Austin
Laura’s taste reminds me a lot of one of the consultations I did a while ago where the family has an Austin and a Christian and one of the daughter’s middle name is Isabel. Austin is fun because it started out as a contracted form of Augustine — so it’s heavy hitting saint-wise without hitting you over the head with it. And it’s got that British Isles feel that I could see Quinn fitting in easily with.

(4) Luke/Lucas
Luke and Lucas both showed up a lot in my research as similar to a lot of Laura’s picks and other names that I suspected might be ones she and her hubs might like. They’re great, solid names — Biblical like Christian and Gabriel, short and punchy like Quinn.

(5) Jude
I was particularly interested in the boy names that the Baby Name Wizard suggested as similar to Quinn, and one of my faves was Finn … but that’s out since it rhymes with Quinn, so I looked up Finn and saw Jude and immediately thought it made a lot of sense for this family. (In case it’s helpful, the others similar to Quinn are Donovan, Reid, Owen, Wyatt, and Griffin.)

I thought I’d share the other names I almost suggested but ended up deleting for whatever reason, in case they’re helpful: Abigail, Chloe, Colin, Caleb, and Charles nicked Charlie.

Those are my ideas! What do you all think? What else would you suggest for Laura’s new little baby-on-the-way?


A few things before we *gasp* leave on vacation

I’m terribly sorry for neglecting you all yesterday! I meant to post and the day just got away from me. If you can believe it, especially after my St. Anne’s Shrine post in which I emphatically declared that traveling with little ones is very low on my list of things that I’m willing to do, I am getting us all ready to go away for a week with my parents, siblings, their spouses, and their kiddos. We leave tomorrow. I know.

We’ve never done anything like this before, but the opportunity to be all together for a whole week — which hasn’t happened in at least … seven years? I think? Maybe longer? was certainly not something to be passed up. My boys will be seeing the ocean for the first time, which we’re all excited about, and hanging out with their cousins (also all boys), which we’re all excited about too. We’re staying in one big house (all twenty of us) that has a washer and dryer and kitchen, so I’m actually not stressing too much about it at all. I feel like I really don’t have to do much more than I had to do for the overnight we did at my mother-in-law’s house last weekend. Maybe a few more clothes? I’ll let you know next week if I was right. 😉

In the meantime, I wanted to assure you that I will have a consultation posted on Monday — WordPress has the handy feature of deciding when posts post, so I’ll write it up before I leave and schedule it to post Monday morning. I don’t know if I’ll have internet access or not — I’m assuming I will, at least occasionally — which only means that I might not be able to approve comments from people who have never commented before, and that I’m not planning any posts for next week.

But I’ll be back with a vengeance after that! Hopefully I’ll have spotted some great names or had some great name conversations (my sisters and sisters-in-law are good like that) that I can tell you about, and there are some upcoming births I’m excited about (Jenny Uebbing I’m looking at you!), and a couple other things I want to blog about, so August will be fun.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! And I’ll leave you with this, which is exactly the kind of thing I thought I’d find when I was writing my middle names article for (I didn’t find it though, and Barb only tweeted this to me after my article posted). I’m fascinated by this — have any of you had this experience or know someone who has?


A break in regularly scheduled programming …

I’m hopping out of name mode for just a second to make sure you know about‘s ongoing series on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ — every week a couple of writers will be offering brief commentary on one of the chapters. So far there’s been an intro by a geologist and environmental consultant, and commentary on Chapter 1.

Look for the new chapters each Sunday! And keep a special eye out on August 2 … you might be familiar with one of the authors … she may or may not write a Catholic baby names blog … 😉

Birth announcement: Jack James!

I did a private consultation for Veronica not too long ago, and she emailed me to let me know the baby’s been born: Her baby #2 is a little boy named Jack James! He joins big brother Jerome Michael. (Now, come on — can you get any more handsome or classic than Jerome and Jack?? She actually said, which I just absolutely loved, that she and her husband “both love the sweet meets cool factor of Jack” — is that not a bang-on perfectly exact description of Jack?? So great!!)

Veronica also said she wouldn’t mind if I shared the suggestions I’d offered her, which were focused on girl names, since Jack James was their chosen name for a boy from the beginning. She’d written,

We both prefer traditional Catholic names but are willing to mix in a little trendy so long as the name still has a nod to our Catholic identity. So for a girl I am incredibly stuck between Vienna Marie and Genevieve (unsure of a middle name here). My husband loves Vienna and I’m only struggling because it was our #1 pick for Jerome Michael if he turned out to be a girl and I almost feel like my love of it came and went with his birth! My grandmother was Marie and so the middle name would be to honor both her and the Blessed mother. So I’m considering Genevieve Marie as well but I don’t know how well that flows together. I like Genevieve Therese a lot more because of my husbands grandmother and my mom’s late twin sister(both of whom are Patricia) and my love of St Therese of Lisieux … I’m hoping basically for some feedback on the name Vienna to maybe make me fall back in love with it. If you could find a Catholic connection I’d be sold! I should mention that both Vienna and Genevieve don’t particularly resonate with us for any reason other than how they sound/feel. Well and I love that they both have a “v” in them.”

As I told her, I actually love the name Vienna, and I wonder why it doesn’t get more use? It’s a place name, which is a popular style right now, and it begins with V and ends in A, both of which are also big hits right now.

I love Genevieve too, one of my personal faves, and I think Marie flows fine with it. Genevieve is such a French name that I think most French-y names would pair well with it, like Marie or Therese as she’d mentioned. Veronica also said her husband’s grandmother and her mom’s twin sister were both Patricia – I could see the French Patrice flowing quite well with both as well. Vienna Patrice or Genevieve Patrice?

In hoping to come up with some ideas to maybe make Veronica “fall back in love with” Vienna – one idea I had was Genevieve with the nickname Vienna. It totally works! Almost all of Vienna’s letters are in Genevieve! Or if she needed something just a little more obvious, maybe Genevieve Ann (Ann is Veronica’s middle name, so a nice nod to her!) or Genevieve Anna? Then there’s Vie- from Genevieve and –nn or –nna from Ann/Anna, and she wouldn’t have to choose between Genevieve and Vienna. And if she felt like she just couldn’t warm up to Vienna still, her hubs could still use Vienna as a nick, and she could use the full Genevieve always, or have her own nick for her, like Evie or Vivi or Genny.

Another idea is the name Vivienne. It’s so similar to Genevieve, with all the V’s and N’s and I’s and E’s, and it’s also French, and Vienne or Vienna makes even more sense as a nick for Vivienne than it does for Genevieve. Or they could consider Vianne instead (like the character in Chocolat), which is kind of like a mashup of her first and middle names, and kind of sweet since Jerome shares his first name with his dad.

However, I did actually come across a Catholic reference to Vienna that I suspected Veronica would love! I’d never heard of St. Francis of Paola until I was doing this research, and his is a beautiful story – but what really caught my attention is this bit:

His parents, Giacomo and Vienna d’Alessio, were remarkable for the holiness of their lives. Remaining childless for some years after their marriage they had recourse to prayer, especially commending themselves to the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi. Three children were eventually born to them, eldest of whom was Francis.” (source)

How lovely! The mother of a saint, who herself was known for her holiness. A lovely namesake for a little Vienna.

Veronica had also asked for other suggestions for girls (and I can always come up with suggestions!), so I took to my Baby Name Wizard book which lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar to the entry in style/feel/popularity – I looked up all the names they’d used and were considering, as well as some other ideas of my own. I always shoot for three suggestions, and I did so here, plus a bonus one that I’ll list first:

(1) Other V names
Because Veronica had specifically said that “both Vienna and Genevieve don’t particularly resonate with us for any reason other than how they sound/feel. Well and I love that they  both have a “v” in them,” I thought some other V names might be of interest to them, especially the super Catholic ones, like:

— Evangeline (this is pretty popular in Catholic circles these days, and is often listed as similar to Genevieve and Vivienne … Evie is a sweet nickname for it, and I’ve seen Lina too)

— Avila (after St. Teresa of Avila of course … I actually loved this one for them because it’s a place name, like Vienna, and has the V in it too, and is super Catholic)

— Vesper (I was working on a consultation recently for a mom who is considering Vesper for a girl because of its “evening prayer” meaning. I love it!)

— Verity (this means truth, which of course is as Catholic a meaning as you can get)

— Evelyn/Eveline/Evelina (the Evelyn names actually stem from a variant of Avila – cool right?)

— Violet (such a sweet name, and can be considered Marian: “The lowly violet was associated with humility and became known as Our Lady’s Modesty. It was said to have blossomed when Mary said to the Angel Gabriel, who had come to tell her she was to bear the Son of God, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.”” (source)

— A couple others that I thought she might like: Viva, Avalon, Evienne

(2) Eleanor nicked Ella
I’m always interested when I see overlap in style of names in the Baby Name Wizard, so when I saw that Eleanor was similar to Genevieve and Ella to Jack, I thought it was a potential winner.

(3) Susanna nicked Anna
One of the names that was listed as similar to Jerome is Yvonne, which I noticed right away because of the V. I didn’t think Yvonne was quite right though, so I looked it up to see what names were listed as similar to it, one of which was Suzanne. I also looked up Yvette, and Suzette was listed as similar. And Anita was another listed as similar to Jerome, which is a diminutive of Ana, so with all that I thought maybe they’d like Susanna, perhaps with the nickname Anna?

(4) Adrienne, Colette, Margot
These last three sort of jumped out at me, not because they overlapped with a lot of their names, just because for whatever reason I thought they might like them. Probably because they’re French, and for some reason I’m hung up on Veronica and her husband liking French names because of Genevieve, and because I suggested Vivienne, which is also French. Weird is an understatement for how my namey mind works! Anyway, I thought I’d mention them. Adrienne is saintly via St. Adrian, which is also the name of several popes. Colette is a sweet name, and the name of a saint as well. And Margot has recently been on my radar as kind of fun and funky. It also makes me think of Jerome for some reason, not sure why!

Thanks to Veronica for giving me the okay to share all this with you! Congratulations again to the whole family, and happy happy birthday Baby Jack!!

Max’s big sibs

When I posted the birth announcement yesterday for Hallie Lord’s #7, Maximilian Joseph, I noted that I’d love to list her other little ones’ (awesome) names but I didn’t think Hallie would be comfortable with that. Then the lovely lady herself tweeted them to me and said I could list them here! Woo! Check these out (I included Max so you can see the whole set together. *swoon*):

Daniel Francis

John “Jack” Paul

Sophia Kay

Lucy Jean

Zelie Olive

Charles “Charlie” Benedict

Maximilian Joseph

I love love love them, each one! ❤

(If Miss Hallie is reading, and has nothing better to do with her time 😛 I would be over the moon to hear how and why each combo was chosen! But of course a mama of a newborn doesn’t have time for that.) (Unless she loves the idea? I’d be all about that, with my little bundle snoozing on my chest and someone who actually wants me to talk about names. But we all know I’m a little nutty that way. 😉 )

Baby name consultant: Sporty, uncommon, traditional, ethnic — help!

Cailan and her husband are expecting their first baby, a boy! Cailan writes,

I tend to prefer uncommon names that are somehow linked to our heritage (Irish and Portuguese for me, Polish and German for him), but my husband prefers traditional names … We are both Notre Dame graduates (that’s where we met), Catholics, and huge sports nuts. One of the tests for any name we come up with is how conducive it is to cheering at future sporting events! … I am mixed race — my mom is Irish and my dad is from Macau. My heritage has always been something I’m very proud of, and our child will carry my last name as a second middle name as a testament to his beautiful mixed race background … I am partial to Irish names, but my mom’s side is a big, Irish Catholic family and a lot of favorites are already taken (Kellen, Brian, Liam, Kieran, Beckett). Our family is really close so those names are automatically off our list … The baby’s middle name will be Francis because Steve has loved that name forever and always dreamed about it as his son’s middle name. I’m okay with it, and like the idea of naming him after Pope Francis.”

So many awesome things to take into consideration!! Cailan shared the list of her husband’s favorite names:

Charles (Charlie)
Edward (Eddy or Teddy)
Daniel (Danny)
Thomas (Tommy)

And her current favorites:

Patrick (Patch)
Finian (Finn)
Theodore (Theo)

She also notes that, “In the past we’ve also thought about Henry and Anthony, but couldn’t come up with a nickname besides Tony.”

This was a fun dilemma to work on! I especially love how important it is to have a name that “yells well” at sporting events! 😀 And all the lovely family considerations, just wonderful.

First, some thoughts about their current ideas: it seems to me that Cailan and her hubs already have a few options that are a good mix of both their tastes, like:
— Patrick Francis, “Patch” — Patrick absolutely has the same feel as her husband’s favorites, so I’m surprised he’s not okay with it. Patrick Francis as a full name is stunningly handsome and traditional, and Patch is the kind of nickname I go for — something a little offbeat that can jazz up an otherwise “normal” name.
— Theodore Francis, “Teddy” — Theodore/Theo’s on Cailan’s list, but Edward/Teddy is on her husband’s — what about combining them into Theodore/Teddy? Or, if she just hate Teddy, but can get her husband on board with Theodore/Teddy, maybe they can both agree that Cailan will call the baby what she wants (Theo) and her hubs can call him what he wants (Teddy) and I bet it’ll all eventually shake out to one nickname that they both like equally.
— Anthony Francis, “Ty” or “Ace” — Cailan said they’d both talked about Anthony but don’t love Tony — I thought Ty could easily be a nickname for it, or even Ace, with the A of Anthony and the -s ending of Francis.

I did come up with a few more ideas though — usually I shoot for three, but in this case there were five I thought were promising:

(1) Francis as a first name, nicknamed Finn
This is far and away my favorite suggestion. They’ve both agreed to use Francis already, and Cailan loves the nickname Finn, which I totally think could work as a nick for Francis (just like I suggested for Grace). One of the fun things about putting Francis in the first name spot — a substantial nod to Cailan’s husband’s taste — is perhaps the middle could be all hers! I’m loving the idea of Francis Finian (Finn makes double sense here as a nick!), Francis Cillian, and Francis Liam (a nice way to use an otherwise unusable but loved family name).

(2) Michael, nicked Milo or Miles
Michael is totally like the other names Cailan’s husband likes, and is totally traditionally used in Ireland. I’d suggested Miles as a nickname for Maximilian for Grace, but when I’d looked into Miles’ history, I discovered that one theory is it started as a nickname for Michael. How cool! And Milo is even jazzier. I just love interesting nicknames for formal, traditional names — this is one of my faves for sure.

(3) Timothy, nicked Ty (or even Tadhg?!)
Timothy’s another, like Michael, that’s traditional and traditionally used in Ireland. Ty could work as a nickname here, like I suggested for Anthony, or — if they were feeling really bold and Irish! — Tadhg! It’s probably my favorite Irish boy’s name — it’s used as the Irish form of both Thaddeus and Timothy. It’s said like the first syllable of “tiger,” like Ty with a hard G on the end. Awesome name. (I’m SURE Cailan’s husband will hate this though! Haha! That spelling’s killer too.)

(4) James, nicked Jamie
Cailan has Jaime on her list, and Jamie’s a traditional nickname for the very traditional James, so I wonder if there’s a compromise there? I think it’s worth noting though that even though Jaime in Spanish is male, Jaime in English is considered feminine, so I would recommend changing the spelling to Jamie. James nicked Jamie is a great option I think.

(5) Connor
Finally, all my other ideas focused on balancing Cailan’s taste and her husband’s taste through formal, traditional names with quirky/unusual/interesting nicknames. But Connor was inspired more by Cailan’s taste — I thought Connor might just have enough of a traditional feel for her husband, and enough Irish for her. Connor Francis is amazing.

I think all these suggestions fit their “conducive to cheering at future sporting events” requirement, and “Irish” as a theme is totally appropriate since Cailan and her hubs met at Notre Dame!!

Those are my ideas! What do you all think? What other names would you suggest for Cailan and her husband?

Birth announcement: Maximilian Joseph!

I have it on good authority (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) that author/blogger/speaker/sweeter-than-pie and Edel co-founder Hallie Lord has given birth to her little boy! Welcome Maximilian Joseph!!

What a name! She’s been referring to baby Max for months, so I knew Max- was the name, but I certainly didn’t know the full combo, and I love it. St. Maximilian Kolbe’s one of my very very favorites, as is our good St. Joseph. Wonderful wonderful name for a little boy. (I love a good hashtag, and I saw one that someone left in a comment on Hallie’s photo: #CatholicToTheMax hahaha! Love it!! 😀 )

I’d love to share with you her other kids’ names, since — as I can gather from bits and pieces here and there over the years — they’re pretty awesome, but I can’t find any one post that refers to them all in a namey way (and I don’t even think I know them all), which says to me that maybe a full-out name-identifying post isn’t in her comfort zone. (Like your friendly Catholic-name-blogger who pseudonyms her own kids’ names on the blog. 😛 )

Congratulations to Hallie and her husband and older kiddos, and happy happy birthday Baby Max!!

A total name post

Okay, it’s not a total name post — it’s the two-part story of Bosco Patton‘s birth! BUT it includes some namey stuff (like how he was almost named something different! And how his initials are BIP! Which, I know, we could all figure out on our own, but I hadn’t thought of them at all, and seeing them typed out made my namey heart sing. BIP! So cute!!) so … I just love birth stories, but wouldn’t feel justified linking to them here if they didn’t have some name connection, so thanks Grace for thinking of us!! 😀

(I will say … the oooonly quibble I have is that we don’t know what their chosen girl’s name was. I know I know, it’s their secret and I get it.) (But I’d love to know. 😉 )

Bosco’s Birth Story (part one)

Bosco’s Birth Story (part final)

Girl names turned surnames

I’ve written before about boy names that have “gone girl” but I’ve compiled a small list of names that started out as feminine first names that then became surnames, and I think (though I could be wrong) that last names as first names historically tended to be given to boys? Can anyone verify that? (I know the South has different traditions regarding last names as first names for girls.)

I’m sure there are much more than this, but these are just what I happened upon while reading Reaney & Wilson this morning:

Annas, Anness, Annis, Anniss are all from Old French Anés, which was “the vernacular form of Agnes”

Annatt, Annett, Annetts, Annott are from Ann-ot, which was a diminutive of Ann, which was a pet-form of Annes (Agnes)

Ebbetts, Ebbitt, Ebbutt may be from Ebbot or Ebbet, which were diminutives of Ebb for Ibb, which was a pet-name for Isabel

Emmatt, Emmet, Emmett, Emmitt, Emmott, Emmert, Emett, Hemett all from Emmot, which could be from a place in Lancashire, but also “Emmot was a very common pet-name for Emma”

Ibbelot, Iblot from Ibb-el-ot, a double diminutive of Ibb, which could be a pet form of Isabel (also of Ilbert)

Ibbott, Ibbett, Ibbitt, Hibbit, Hibbitt, Hibbott, Ibbs, Hibbs can all come from Ibb or Ibb-ot, which is a diminutive of Ibb

Ibell, Hibble, Hible from Ib-el, a diminutive of Ibb

Ibson means “son of Ibb”

Ibbelot, Iblot are from Ibb-el-ot, which is a double diminutive of Ibb

Libby, Lebby were surnames from pet names of Isabel

Libbet, Libbett from Libb-et, from Libb, which was a pet form of Isabel

The thing I love most about these is their possibility as fresh-seeming nicknames or variants of Agnes, Emma, Isabel, and Elizabeth for girls (I’ve actually heard of a woman named Elizabeth who goes by Libbett), and variants for honoring female relatives for boys (like, naming a boy Emmett after Grandma Emma or Hibbs after Grandma Elizabeth or Isabel). What do you all think?