Baby name consultant: A little football, a little Catholic baby naming

I had a little mix-up about today’s scheduled consultation, so I’m going to post this one instead, which I’ve been working on recently. (Yes, I do spend my free time doing things like this. I’m a little bit crazy.)

One of my husband’s biggest disappointments regarding his lovely wife is that I don’t like football. Which isn’t even entirely true — what I don’t like is that when “the game’s on!” (football, baseball, basketball, NASCAR, golf ………………) there’s a lot of ignoring-of-wife. Also, game losses=bad-mood husband. Also, no one can watch anything else because the game’s on! I’m sure some of you know what I mean.

Sports in general I’m a big fan of (though more as a player than a watcher), and I think participating and watching are both great ways to spend one’s time (a lot better than some other things right?). Re: football, I also profess to be a Giants fan because my dad is a Giants fan (daddy’s girl and all). (My husband says I’m not allowed to call myself a Giants fan though because I decided to go to bed with two minutes left in the game during that SuperBowl that the Giants were in, which I couldn’t even remember which one it was so I just texted my hubs and he said: “Super Bowl 42 in 2008. Giants beat the Patriots 17-14 on a crazy last minute drive to beat the previously undefeated Pats (19-0 heading into the game) … And you went to bed.”)

Anyway! All that to say, despite my rocky relationship with football, I’m a huge fan of Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Huge fan! I admit I’ve never watched him play (I probably wouldn’t even know it was the Chargers unless it was pointed out to me. Because I’d probably have my nose in book. I’m such a disappointing wife!), BUT I do know these things about him:

NFL Quarterback Philip Rivers on Faith, Family & Football (by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word)

Tiffany Rivers, Philip’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know (including their commitment to premarital abstinence, Natural Family Planning, and having a big family)

Touchdown: Chargers QB Philip Rivers welcomes seventh baby (nothing more to say 🙂 )

Catholic in the NFL: An Interview with Philip Rivers (on Life Teen’s blog) (“If you’re going to be a Catholic man, be it all the way“) (“Thanks so much for taking the time today to talk, is there anything that you would like prayers for? Yeah, I can give you many intentions, but I’d certainly be humbled if you prayed for my family and for all the unborn.”)

Catholic Quarterback Philip Rivers Passes On the Faith (National Catholic Register) (the whole article’s the bomb — the Eucharist, favorite saints, the Miraculous Medal, purity)

NFL Star Philip Rivers Tells Catholic University Grads to Never Give Up (he got married and had his first baby while in college)

Philip Rivers — Life on the Rock — Faith, Family, Football (fantastic 52-minute segment from EWTN’s Life on the Rock show, posted on his buddy Jason Evert’s Chastity Project site [which is itself an awesome awesome resource]) (it starts with an opening bit about the sacraments, and Philip comes on around the 8:30 mark)

Challenges ahead for Chargers’ Philip Rivers, but he has faith (“… in May, when the San Diego Chargers quarterback and his extended family visited the Vatican and were in a crowd of thousands for a Wednesday papal audience. Rivers, a devout Catholic, had a prime spot in the crowd and was holding the youngest of his six children, Pete, who will turn 2 in October … “I was about 10 yards away, and the crowd kind of opened up,” Rivers said. “Pope Francis just kind of motioned like, ‘Bring him to me.’ Pete was like, ‘No! What are you doing?!” But we passed him to the pope. It was awesome. The pope kissed him, blessed him. We got great pictures of it.””) (“Real life can be tougher. Rivers and his wife, Tiffany, got that reminder after the season when their 5-year-old son, Gunner, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.”)

I mean, come on. Especially for me as a mom of six boys, Philip Rivers is absolutely the kind of man I’m happy to know is out there, saying things publicly that I want my boys to hear, living a counter-cultural life that’s not hidden.

And happy news! Philip and his wife are expecting their eighth baby — a girl! They have five other girls:


And two boys:


I do love to try to predict what name(s) I think expectant parents might choose, based on the names they’ve already chosen (and what kind of Catholic baby name blogger would I be if I didn’t have some ideas for Philip Rivers!), so using my trusty Baby Name Wizard book and my gut feeling about their taste, I came up with some names that I thought seemed to hit all the right notes:

(1) Sofie (or Sophie)

Halle and Gunner really jumped out from the list of their kiddos’ names — I thought that maybe they didn’t seem to quite fit with the other kids’ names? But when I remembered that the spelling Halle can be Scandinavian (I tend to think of it as more mainstream than ethnic, what with all the Hailey/Hallie/Hayley variants, but Halle is a legit Norwegian name on its own, albeit a male name), and Gunnar (that spelling) is Scandinavian as well, I thought maybe that was the key there. We’d actually considered Gunnar as a middle for one of our boys — it’s a family name on our Norwegian side, and we liked the uber-masculine feel of the sound of it, which we would have said like Gunner (even though I’m pretty sure the Scandi pronunciation is more like goo-NAR?) — so with all that in mind, I really paid attention to the suggestions given in the BNW as similar to Gunnar, and Sofie leapt off the page. That spelling — Sofie — is the Scandinavian spelling, and the Sophia/Sophie names are so similar to the style of Caroline and Grace specifically (and it’s a virtue-type name, like Grace), that it seemed like a really great pick for the Rivers. I really like the Sofie spelling for them because I think it helps loop Halle and especially Gunner in even more with whole group, but I don’t mind the Sophie spelling. (And i could be totally wrong about the whole Scandinavian-Halle-Gunnar/Gunner thing.)

(2) Julia

One of my favorite things is looking at a sib set with names of different styles and trying to find names that bridge the styles. Julia is one such for the Rivers family. It was listed as a style match for Caroline and Grace, and it’s biblical like Sarah, Rebecca, and Peter. And it’s got a pan-European feel — and is indeed used in the Scandinavian countries — which goes well with Halle and Gunner.

(3) Evangeline/Evie

Evie was listed as one of the matches for Halle (or rather, Hallie, as the spelling Halle didn’t have its own entry), which is so sweet, and it made me think immediately of Evangeline, which I thought might have just the right elements: it’s long, like Caroline and Rebecca; it’s biblical-ish, which fits in well with Sarah and Peter; Evie as a nickname is a good match with the shorter Grace; and like Sofie/Sophie and Grace Evangeline’s also a faith-filled concept.

(4) Leah/Lena/Lily (or Lilly)

I grouped these last three together because they’re all four-letter names starting with L. I like each of them for different reasons: Leah’s a major Old Testament woman, so certainly a good fit with Sarah and Rebecca (it’s somewhat pan-European as well, and its Scandi spelling is Lea, but I don’t love that because I think it makes the pronunciation uncertain — Lee or Lee-ah?). Lena was listed as similar to Halle, and can be the Scandinavian short of Helena or Magdalena, or it could be a nickname for Evangeline (I’ve seen a few families do so). And I think Lily — which was listed as similar to Grace — works on so many levels — it’s Marian; it is sometimes used as a form of Elizabeth, which ties in the Bible; it’s got a Scandinavian form (Lilly); it’s sweet and feminine like their other girls’ names.

I don’t know any of the girls’ middle names except Sarah (Catherine), so I don’t know if I’ve listed some names here that are unusable for that reason, but otherwise — what do you all think? Do you think these predictions are well founded? What name(s) would you predict Philip and his wife might choose, based on what we know of their taste from their previous choices?

(If anyone knows Philip or his wife and can pass this on to them, I’d be delighted. 🙂 )

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.


22 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: A little football, a little Catholic baby naming

  1. We LOVED watching Philip play at NC State (his last year overlapped with my hubby’s freshman year), and even more have loved watching his and Tiffany’s family grow. Through the friend grapevine, I have heard untold stories of their quiet commitment to living and building their Catholic faith in the San Diego area by partnering with amazing Catholic organizations out there. Life dream = be BFFs with Tiffany Rivers! Confession – I always draft Philip Rivers in fantasy football, partly because he is a good player, but primarily because he is an amazing man in a world that desperately needs to see more men living up to their vocations to be leaders and defenders of the faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading about Rivers, too! His little brother was on my alma mater’s team and lived literally down the street from me last year. He and his grad student wife were expecting a baby at that time, I imagine he/she is here now!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never heard of him in spite of having a very devoted college and NFL football fan husband (though Big 10/Mich State and Detroit Lions), but I loved reading all this! I wish we had some couples or individuals cross our paths earlier on to inspire us since we ended up in the right spot, but after a lot of fumbling (I’m a convert, we didn’t get involved at all until our pre-Cana classes and then dropped off for a few more years before really starting to attend Mass, etc.).

    I LOVE Lily (my eldest’s nickname, coincidentally her first beau is named Gunnar 🙂 ) and Julia best of your suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • God knows your journey Hollyce! How wonderful that you “ended up in the right spot” 🙂 Would you mind sharing your eldest’s full name, that Lily’s a nickname for? (Soooo cute about Gunnar!!)


  4. I should add that she would tell you Chandler is a HORRIBLY embarrassing middle name, worse than anything she can think of and worse than Hortense or Bertha. If it were free and easy, she’d change it, she says! Interestingly the names she DOES like are very tasteful and were on our baby name lists for her before we really locked in our style. Anastasia is the one that comes to mind, I forget what else she said. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree! I mean, she’s in a sea of girls with pretty similar and predictable names with only a few exceptions like twins Ruby & Esmerelda (nn Ez), Greta, Cecelia, Gillian (pron GILL ian) and Gillian (pron JILL ian), Tess, Margaret (nn Meg)…I think she’ll be glad to have something a little unique, but not unheard of. I love your avatar/logo idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Kate! 🙂

    I’m a new-ish reader and find your blog really fun to read! Keep up the great work!

    A dear friend of mine is a reader of yours, and she saw this post and forwarded it to me because I know Philip’s mom. I forwarded your post link to Philip’s mom and asked her to forward it along to Tiffany if she thought Tiffany might enjoy reading it. And she did! Here is Tiffany’s reply, which is actually directed to you! 🙂 Enjoy!


    Halle Elizabeth- Philip and I just loved the name Halle and when I was in mass while pregnant with her I noticed the song we were singing had Hallelujah in it and I took it as a sign 🙂

    Elizabeth is Philips mom’s middle name and two of my favorite saints. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and St Elizabeth Anne Seton. Although at the time I think we were just naming her after her grandmother 🙂

    Caroline Leigh- we loved the name and her god mother’s name is Leigh Anne

    Grace Marilyn- because I was in awe of Gods grace and his love for me. Marilyn- after Mary and my mom’s middle name

    Philip Gunner- Philip obviously after his dad 🙂 and Gunner is Philips mom’s maiden name. Her parents had 9 children and passed down the Catholic faith in a very Protestant part of the world.

    Sarah Katherine- Philip picked Sarah, he loved the name and I love Old Testament names 🙂 Katherine after my grandmother and st Katherine Drexel

    Peter Michael- Peter is my brothers name, but we most of all love it because we both have a heart for the Protestants coming home to our faith and Peter symbolizes that for us… The rock

    Michael- Philips middle name and the name of the one who has done much battle for us and all God’s children (St Michael the archangel )

    Rebecca Marie- another Old Testament name we both loved. Marie after our mother Mary.

    We are awaiting our next blessing, and plan on naming her Clare Magdalene (or Magdalen) not sure about the spelling, maybe you could help me decide 🙂

    With all the opinions we have here in our house now, we finally came up with one everyone likes. And will name her after St Clare of Assisi. Magdalene because it reminds me again of God’s grace and no matter how far we fall from God he is always our Father and wants us home! Plus love that fact that she (Mary Magdalene) was at the cross.

    Thanks for writing such a nice blog post about Philip 🙂 and you never know we may have to talk about some of your name suggestions- we have been known to change names last minute!!

    In Christ,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ohmygoodness … I am just in awe here … Jen! Thank you so much for passing on this lovely note from such a lovely lady!! I am absolutely thrilled to read the process behind Tiffany and Philip’s name choices — each so beautiful and so thoughtfully given! (“Halle” contained in “Hallelujah” — I LOVE it!!!)

      If you don’t mind being a go-between — would you mind passing my thoughts back to Tiffany? I love love love their plan of Clare Magdalen(e) for their new little one — saintly, elegant, just wonderful. Funny that she should ask about spelling — this is one instance where I don’t have much of a preference; I quite like both Magdalene and Magdalen. Mayyybe I’d tip toward Magdalene, just because that’s what I see most often when St. Mary Magdalene is written out, but really, I think either spelling quite obviously points out which saint they’re referring to.

      I’m absolutely humbled that you didn’t mind passing this on to Tiffany, and that she took the time to respond. What a joy this blog is to me! Thank you again!!

      Liked by 1 person

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