Baby name consultant: Green bean #4 needs a name that fits with older sibs

Krystin and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a little green bean. 🙂 She writes,

[We] have a difficult time coming up with names we like because we have both worked with kids much of our lives and have run across many names that are either already used or have negative (to us) connotations, if you know what I mean! We both work in schools …”

Working with kids so often presents difficulty when baby naming! Their other kiddos are:

Luke Earl (“We always loved the name “Luke” due to the religious significance and his middle name is named after my husband and my husband’s father“)
Bennett Paul (“Love the meaning of Bennett (“little blessed one) and Paul is my dad’s name“)
Tessa Marie (“We always loved the name “Tessa” because of Mother Teresa and because it’s just plain cute, and her middle name is the same as mine, my mom’s name is Ann Marie, and we have several other Marys in the family“)

And the names they “can semi-agree on” are:

Grant Matthew (“in total, the name means “great gift from God”“)
Evangeline Rose (“with the nickname Lina because Earl does not like Evie, and Rose is my confirmation name“)

Krystin’s specific questions are:

What do you think of those name choices? Do they flow with our other kids’ names? I don’t love that Grant doesn’t have a built-in nickname (our kids don’t have “real” nicknames, but I do find that we call them by Lukey, Benny, Tess, etc at times just for fun) – but not sure if that really matters. I love the name Evangeline but worry it is a mouthful and that people won’t think that Lina works as a nickname. We both like that we don’t know of anyone else with those names and that they can “grow” with the child without sounding too kid-ish … I would love to hear your thoughts on those names as well as to hear other ideas that you might have as well for both girl and boy names!!”

I love Krystin and her husband’s name style!

First off, my thoughts about their current ideas are: Grant Matthew seems just perfect! I think it absolutely matches the feel of the other kids’ names, nice job Mom and Dad! I do understand about it not having a natural nickname (as you all know, I’m a big nicknamer!), so I wondered what they’d think about Gray as a nick for it? Even though Grant and Gray are both one syllable, Gray seems just the tiniest bit easier to say, like you started to say Grant but didn’t have to pull your tongue to the front of your mouth to finish it. So I could definitely see Gray seeming like a short version of Grant. I’ve seen Gray used as a nick for Graham, which is similar to Grant in sound/length. So Graham’s a possibility? Also, I know a little Gabriel who mostly goes by Gabriel or Gabe, but ever since he was tiny his dad has also called him “G.” Just G, like the letter, and it’s so cute and affectionate and it could definitely work for Grant too.

Evangeline Rose nicked Lina is beautiful! I would say, if they love it, I would definitely go for it! And yes, I think Lina definitely works as a nickname for Evangeline, and I actually know another mama who’s planning to name a daughter Evangeline with the nickname Lina. However, since Krystin said she “kind of like[s]” it rather than “totally adores it,” I will offer that it strikes me as a little different in style than their other kids. Not totally! I could see it pairing really nicely with Luke, and it would be a pretty exact style match with Benedict, and Bennett is a medieval form of Benedict, so it’s all definitely swirling around the same place. But the other kids’ names are short-middle-ish in length, and Evangeline’s one of those looonnngg names, like Seraphina or Alexandria or Genevieve, all of which are gorgeous — I love them, I do — but I was thinking, for this family, maybe just Lina would be a better fit? I know a Lina in real life who’s just Lina, and Lena Horne’s given name at birth was just Lena – it definitely feels to me more like a formal name that could also work as a nickname for a longer name, instead of a nickname-used-as-a-first-name (though, full disclosure, I do think that’s how it started). Lina Rose? I think that’s lovely, and it works so well as a sister to Tessa Marie (as well of course as a sister to the boys, but I like Lina Rose and Tessa Marie as sisters, they go together nicely!).

Also, Krystin mentioned that she and her hubs like that they don’t know anyone with the names Evangeline/Lina and Grant … I do think it’s important to be aware that Evangeline seems to be shooting up the Catholic baby name charts, as far as the names I hear being considered and used by all of you readers and the families that email me (they usually hope to use the nickname Evie). Both Lina and Grant fit that “not used by many parents” criteria, though – neither one is very familiar to me for babies these days, which is really cool that they’ve “discovered” them!

Krystin also asked for other ideas for boys and girls, which I was delighted to do. (I can always come up with suggestions! Haha!) 🙂 I always shoot for three for each gender, and I did so here for boys, but came up with four for girls:

(1) Molly
Luke, Bennett, and Tessa/ Lukey, Benny, and Tess all made me think of Molly. It’s got that sweet, spunky feel that Tessa has to me, and I think it pairs really well with Luke and Bennett too. Molly Rose is one of those swoony names to me, so sweet! I also love that Molly is Marian (it started out ages ago as a nickname for Mary).

(2) Lily
You all know that I rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard book as a starting point when doing consultations, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity … Lily popped up as similar in style to Luke, Tessa, and Lina, and I think it’s an awesome suggestion for this family. And Lily is Marian, which is always a big seller for me.

(3) Claire or Clara
This is another one that did quite well for this family in the BNW book, as it’s similar to Luke, Bennett, and Lina. A one syllable name like Claire would please me aesthetically, because then they’d have two kids with one-syllable names and two kids with two-syllable names. (I know this matters zero! But it’s how my crazy mind works. 😛 ) Clara’s so sweet too though … it would be a hard choice for me!

(4) Juliet
Juliet is a total bonus here – three is my preferred number of suggestions, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have thought of Juliet for this family on my own, but the BNW says Juliet is similar to both Bennett and Grant, and I thought that was too much awesome to not suggest! Juliet’s one of my personal favorites, so I’m actually really excited to tell you about it. Juliet Rose? Oh my!

Boys

(1) Samuel
I really like Samuel with Krystin’s other kids, and especially Sam/Sammy. Sam and Ben are two of those nicknames that just really seem like brothers to me, and Luke and Tess totally fit into that too.

(2) Miles
Bennett, Tessa, and Grant are all style matches for Miles – ding ding ding! I never really gave two thoughts to Miles until I read that in Ireland it’s used as the anglicized form of an Irish Gaelic name that means “devotee of Mary” — I just love that Marian connection for a boy! And I also read that, while linguists/name experts aren’t totally sure of its origin, one theory is that it started as a nickname for Michael, and I think that is soooo cool! Miles is kind of similar to Grant, with no built-in nicknames, but I could see Milo very easily being a fun nick for it.

(3) Colin or Ian
These two just felt like they fit to me. They have that same literary and dashing feel that Bennett and Luke and Grant have to me, and they absolutely seem like brothers to Tessa as well.

Those are my ideas! What do you all think? What other names would you suggest for a little brother or sister to Luke, Bennett, and Tessa?


I love to do name consultations! If you’d like me to give your name dilemma a go, check out my Baby name consultant tab.

Baby showers and baptisms

I’m reblogging this with fixed links and updates. 🙂

Sancta Nomina

Does anyone else get a little freaked out at the thought of buying gifts? I do. I’ve never thought of myself as a good gift giver — I usually get paralyzed by feeling like I don’t have any ideas, or that the ideas I do have are dumb. And gifts are the lowest on my Love Languages hierarchy, so I feel like I just don’t have the right mindset for picking good gifts.

But! I’ve been working on that deficiency of mine for years, and I feel like I’ve come a long way. I’ve wanted to compile a list of gift ideas for expecting moms (for her baby shower, or just because) and baby’s baptism for a while, because I feel like I finally have a good handle on appropriate gifts for these occasions, mostly because of people’s generosity to me since I had my first little one.

I always…

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Baby showers and baptisms

Does anyone else get a little freaked out at the thought of buying gifts? I do. I’ve never thought of myself as a good gift giver — I usually get paralyzed by feeling like I don’t have any ideas, or that the ideas I do have are dumb. And gifts are the lowest on my Love Languages hierarchy, so I feel like I just don’t have the right mindset for picking good gifts.

But! I’ve been working on that deficiency of mine for years, and I feel like I’ve come a long way. I’ve wanted to compile a list of gift ideas for expecting moms (for her baby shower, or just because) and baby’s baptism for a while, because I feel like I finally have a good handle on appropriate gifts for these occasions, mostly because of people’s generosity to me since I had my first little one.

I always try to have a gift or two for the mamas in with the gift or two for the baby when I go to a baby shower, or when a friend’s expecting, and I can’t recommend highly enough the Mother’s Manual. Do you have one of these? I’ve turned to it time and again for prayers that are so specific to so many situations! It was my constant companion during a particularly difficult time recently, and a source of immense comfort. I seriously wanted to run right out and buy a hundred of them and hand them out to all the moms I know. And though this isn’t new-mom specific, I just finished My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell, and I’m feeling like I want to give this to all the women I know as well. It discusses marriage and motherhood as well as lots of other things Catholic women of today struggle with. I loved it.

When my babies are brand new, I always feel like I’m in a state of constant near-panic that something will happen to them. Crazy, I know! But I seriously feel a reassuring sense of peace every time I see their Guardian Angel Crib Cross (pink and blue and white) hanging over their cradle. It just reminds me I’m not in it alone, you know?

My boys have always loved the Wooden Rosaries we have and my parents have from my growing up as well, and I love that they start to love the Rosary from their tenderest years through them. And I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again — they also love Fr. Lovasik’s Picture Book of Saints. It’s hands-down my first recommendation if you go to a shower where they ask you to bring a book for the baby’s library.

I’ve never given a Sophie the Giraffe before, but I will be from now on, now that I know it was named after St. Madeleine Sophie!

Finally, per her experience raising my sibs and I, my mom always gives us a blanket when our babies are born — a blanket intended to be *the* blankie/lovey — and it’s always been this kind, which I’ve really enjoyed over the years not only because half of my boys have taken to their grandma-gifted blanket in the way intended, but also because Carter’s seems to come out with a new design (usually based around an animal but not always) each year (which goes on its blankets, onesies, outfits, etc.), and it’s gotten so that I’m intrigued with each baby to see what the new design is. I feel like I can trace my motherhood through a timeline of Carter’s designs! (We have a horse; a blanket with “Baby” in bubble letters in the corner; a puppy with paw prints; a puppy with a bone; a monkey; and zoo animals.) I should also note that my mom always gives us *two* of the exact same blanket, so that one is always clean and ready in case the other needs to go in the wash. It’s worked out so well for us that I’ve started doing the same for others.

I do say “half of my boys” though because the other half connected with something different, despite my best efforts (draping it on them when they were nursing, snuggling them with it, etc.) — one received a blanket similar to this from a friend of mine, which he has loved nearly threadbare. Another latched onto a stuffed lamb that looks a lot like this (though it didn’t come with a blanket as this one does). And my last loves an exquisitely gorgeous homemade quilt that I wish I could link to for you but alas, my friend doesn’t have a shop. But I will offer that this seems to be quite popular — we’ve received a couple, which I love — they’re so beautiful and luxurious!

So those are the ideas I have for you tonight! I hope they’re helpful! Happy weekend! (So many exclamation points!)

UPDATED TO ADD: How could I forget??!! Of course every expectant mama needs a name book (or two)!! I would absolutely recommend including the Baby Name Wizard book and perhaps The Catholic Baby Name Book or one of the many other books I list on my Resources and recommendations page in a baby shower gift, especially if the parents are expecting their first baby, or if you know that one or both of them love names, or if you know they’re stumped for ideas (in which case you could also direct them here. 🙂 )


This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com and The Catholic Company.

Nicknames: Ways to get to Sy/Cy

I’ve been seeing the nickname Sy pop up here and there recently, which has reminded me that I know a boy nicknamed Cy, and it’s kind of stuck with me — it’s feeling really cool to me, and a nice way to manage a heavier or very long given name.

I really liked the suggestion of Sy as a nickname for Sylvester, Silas, Simon, Cyrus, and even Cedric. The Cy I know is Cyril I think, and this suggests it as a nickname for Seymour and this suggests it as a nickname for Josiah. Another possibility is Sidney.

What do you all think of Sy/Cy? Do you know anyone called this, and if so what’s his given name?

Repeating Mary

I loved reading all your comments yesterday!! One of the things that rose to the top for me is how many of you know of families, or are such families, who have used Mary or one of its forms for more than one daughter:

  • “The obstetrician that delivered me had a very large, very Catholic family, and had six or seven daughters all named Mary. Of course, they weren’t JUST named Mary, they were Mary X, but one of them was Mary Mary!”
  • “my stepsis’s were named after Mary (THE Mary) whereas I am named after my mother (who was also named after Mary) … My mom (Mary)’s only sister’s name is.. Rosemary”
  • “One of my sets of girl cousins in the same nuclear family all have the middle name Marie”
  • “all of my sisters and I have Marie/Mary in our names”
  • “I have two cousins who are sisters, and one is named Danielle Marie and the other is Rosemarie Elizabeth”
  • Another family with seven daughters that have among them Mary twice and Marie once
  • “a friend explained to me that it’s a tradition in the Philippines to name all of your daughters Mary and have them all go by their middles instead”
  • “each of our sweet baby girls have a “form” of Mary in their name”

Woo! Mother Mary FTW!

It reminded me the family one of you readers introduced me to the other day from the Five Marys Farms in California, which is so named because, yes, Mom and all four daughters are named Mary:

Mary Regan (Mom)
MaryFrances
MaryMarjorie
MaryJane
MaryTeresa

The daughters all go by nicknames, which are adorable!

I know I’ve said it a million times before, but my paternal grandmother and her sister were both Mary ____ and went by their middle names; all six of my dad’s female first cousins on his mom’s side (from two different families) are Mary ____ and go by their middle names; and my three sisters and I all have a Marian name as either our first or middle.

I never tire of hearing about Marian names, or different ways of working Mary into a name, or families with lots of Mary names … I love them all!

Repeating names

Yesterday’s post about the Campos-Duffy family prompted me to look more into what people think about repeating names among siblings. If you remember, they used Pilar (one of my fave Marian names!) as a middle name for three of their girls, and Margarita as a middle for one girl and a first name for another. I’m just noticing too that they used Jack as a middle and John-Paul as a first (it’s the John connection that I’m finding interesting between them).

I think the majority opinion is that names shouldn’t be repeated? Grace (Camp Patton) once said, “Simon came up with Xavier as the middle name and I wish we’d saved that for a first name because I love that name as well.” In the Name Lady’s Can I Recycle a Middle Name post she describes it as “not an ideal situation,” though she also acknowledges that it’s not “totally out of bounds,” and “In fact, quite a few parents give in and reuse older kids’ middle names. You never know it, because they carefully avoid mentioning their children’s middle names at all.” (I would find that so hard! I love each firstname-middlename combo my hubs and I came up with for our boys — I’d hate to feel like I had to “carefully avoid mentioning their … middle names at all”!)

I know a few people who gave multiple children the same middle name — one family gave all the girls the middle name Marie, and two other families I know gave two daughters the middle name Catherine (but not all the daughters). There does seem to be a difference between giving all your children, or all your children of the same gender, the same middle name vs. only giving some children the same name and not the others.

The mumsnet thread Would you reuse a middle name as a subsequent childs first name? brought up several potential issues with reusing names — both using one child’s first name as another’s middle, and even repeating first names:

  • “many people have said to me that in the future DD1 may resent the fact that DD2 “took” part of her name. Or DD2 may resent being “named after” DD1″
  • “I personally wouldn’t do it, although the middle name we’re about to use is gorgeous and I would love to use it as first name, but I don’t want to hold it in reserve in case I don’t end up having another child to use it on!”
  • “I know a guy who is named (first name, middle name, surname) after his older brother who died from SIDS! That’s V weird!” and “I do know a boy who has the same name as his brother, who was stillborn sad and I know somebody who is pg who already have a DD but they are expecting a DS, and they are going to give him the same middle name as their DD’s middle name!”

I was particularly intrigued by the second bulletpoint — I think a lot of people might load up all their fave names at the front end of their family because of not knowing how many they’ll have of one gender — or how many kids they’ll be blessed with overall — and not wanting to miss out on using a beloved name.

Regarding the third bulletpoint, in the old days reuse of names from older deceased child to younger sibling seems to have been somewhat common. Genealogy.com says that,

Up until this century, parents could usually count on one third of their children not surviving. If a child died, the name was often used again. If a baby died, the next child of the same sex would often be given the same name. When checking birth records, you should never stop when you find the name you are looking for. You should continue for a few more years, because the first child could have died and your ancestor could have been the second child in the family with that name. If an older child died, a younger one would often be named for him or her. If you see George in the 1850 census as a six year old and then in the 1860 census as an eight year old, it may mean the first one died shortly after the 1850 census was taken.”

And we’ve seen how at least one Catholic royal family reused names with abandon, and not necessarily because of infant/child death.

I’m not sure what I think about the first bulletpoint. Probably that kids (big and little, adult and not) get in a huff about a million things that parents don’t think they will, and don’t get upset about things parents were sure they would … if I’d chosen to do this with names, my approach would probably just be to be sure to always positively talk about the choice we’d made — make a big deal about how wonderfully meaningful it was meant to be and a choice given in love — so at least if the kids hated it later, they would know it wasn’t done to upset them. And then pray for the best!

I’m also thinking that sometimes, as with one of the families I know that used Catherine as a middle name for two of their daughters, the reasons for using it were different each time — which then sort of makes it like two different names being used: one daughter was named after St. Catherine of Siena, and the other was named after Grandma Catherine. I myself would have used the name once and been pleased with the double honor, but that’s just my personal preference — I can definitely see it seeming like two different names in this scenario, even though it looks and sounds the same. It kind of ties into what Abby wrote in one of my favorite of her posts, The Secret Meaning of Names:

Some of the best names have backstories that are unique to the family in question. Mallory doesn’t mean sorrowful if your parents met in Mallory, Indiana. Then it means “small town where my parents met.” And if your parents happened to meet there because it was a dark and stormy night, and your mom had a flat tire and the repair shop was closed and your dad just happened to be in town for a meeting and suddenly, there they were nursing coffee at the Mallory Diner just one seat apart … well, then your name means “serendipity, twist of fate.””

And it ties into what I wrote in my Nameberry post Good-Intention Baby Naming: “The intention behind the bestowing of the name can be as important—or more so—than the name’s actual origin or meaning or other specifics.”

In the case of the Campos-Duffys, their repeating of names is so exuberant — one of you used the word “confident,” which was so great — that it really strikes me as not that strange at all. And the gorgeousness and saintliness of the names they chose makes me think of that royal names post — each one is sort of decadent and fabulous, really beautiful choices.

What do you all think? Would you (have you?) use one child’s middle name for another’s first name? What about other types of repeating — using the same middle name for all the children, or all one gender, or the names of lost babies (miscarried/stillborn/died when they were older) being given to younger siblings?

Famous Catholics: Campos-Duffy

I’ve been meaning to update this post since I discovered little Campos-Duffy #7’s name back in the spring, and kept forgetting to do so … but today’s your lucky day!! 🙂 She’s the beautifully named … [drumroll] … Margarita Pilar!

I’m very interested that it’s the third time Sean and Rachel have used Pilar as a middle name, and the second time they’ve used Margarita (first as a middle, now as a first). Either way, it’s beautiful and saintly and heavy hitting! She’s one blessed (and beautiful!) little girl! (And other than Rachel’s Twitter, I think it’s very possible you’re hearing it here first, because even her Wiki page only notes the birth of a daughter, it doesn’t list her name.)

Sancta Nomina

Ok, so I don’t know a whole heckuva lot about Rachel Campos-Duffy and her husband Sean. I do know:
— They met on MTV’s Road Rules All Stars in 1998
— Sean’s a congressman (Wisconsin’s seventh district)
— He’s one of eleven children
— They gave their children super duper Catholic names:

Evita Pilar
Xavier Jack
Lucia-Belen
John-Paul
Paloma Pilar
MariaVictoria Margarita

They reportedly recently welcomed baby #7 (a girl!), but I haven’t been able to find out the new baby’s name. Anyone?

Read more:
Rachel Campos-Duffy Expecting Baby No. 7
Wisconsin congressman welcomes baby number 7
Rep. Sean Duffy and Rachael Campos-Duffy welcome seventh child into the world

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