I think of Dwija Borobia of House Unseen. Life Unscripted. as a mix of who and how I’d love to be and also holy cow I just don’t think I could ever do it. By “who and how I’d like to be” I mean: someone who gave up all they knew and were familiar with for Jesus. And Mary. And NFP and all that that entails (awesome post btw). And the whole rest of the Catholic life and catechism that makes absolutely zero sense to everyone else. (I’ve never had to make that choice, not really — this life and faith was mine by birth and I’m eternally grateful, but I’m always always so moved by those who have made such brave decisions and I just always hope and pray I’d be so strong if ever faced with a similar situation.)
By “holy cow I just don’t think I could ever do it” I mean this, from her About Me page, which is too hilarious and *her* for me not to just post it:
“This blog started a little bit by accident as a way to share our misadventures in fixing up our fixer-upper that we bought sight unseen off the internet. Because when your in-laws (and this is an important tip) read a facebook update about you finding snakes in your kitchen walls, you’ll be all “Hahahaha! Isn’t that wacky?” and they’ll be all “Ohsweetbabyjeezus, my grandchildren are going to get eaten by wild boars! Or snakes! As it were!”
So you start a blog so everyone can get the whole story and they don’t imagine a shanty and an outhouse and then start praying novenas to the patron saint of People Getting Some Sense Knocked into Them.”
(Hm. Well, maybe when I say “I just don’t think I could ever do it” what I mean is that I like and thrive on familiar and stable and risk taking is not really part of my wiring … BUT, speaking of wiring, I love love love a good house renovation. And so yes, I’ve drooled (and taken notes) over these before and after pics a time or two. So I think maybe it’s the “Life Unscripted” part I’d have the most trouble with, not the “House Unseen” part. Also the snakes in the walls.)
ANYWAY we aren’t here today to talk about house renos, as fun and fab as they are … as you’ve come to expect, we are here to talk about BABY NAMES because Dwija’s expecting her eighth baby and there’s NO STOPPING my excitement when there’s a baby on the way! ESPECIALLY when that wee one needs a name! Dwija has graciously allowed me to offer some ideas, and I’m so excited to do so, even though she and her husband have done an amazing job with their others so letting me do this is probably more charity than necessity on their part. They have, in order:
Kathryn Marisol (Katie)
Elizabeth Anne (Lizzie)
Cecilia Jean (Ceci)
Nicholas Robert (home with Jesus)
John Charles (Charlie, but I love love seeing #dailyjohncharles on IG — what a great first-middle combo that is!)
Beautiful, right? Classic, saintly, solid.
For this baby, if a girl, Dwija says,
“Right now we have one girl name on the list: Helen (no middle name) and zero boy names … [Also] Teresa, Monica…pretty much I’ve decided on Helen for a first name though if it’s a girl to be honest. We are just undecided on a middle name. BUT if you have some other first name ideas, I’d love to hear them! … Oh, I like Margaret too!”
And for a little Mister,
“We are running low on ideas actually, especially for boy names that we both like and that fit all the ridiculous rules we’ve created 😉 … [seriously,].zero boy names. Hah! We’ve talked about some that are not on the “no way” list- Martin, Dominic, Gabriel.”
Wait! Did she say something about “ridiculous rules”??? Yesssss!!!! I just love rules, no joke—a good name challenge is the best! They are:
“T [hubs] does NOT like William because of William of Orange (true story. This is what I mean about all our weird rules!)
More rules include:
Must be a saint name but not a quirky one (no Scholastica or Cosmas, etc.)
Must exist somewhere in one of our families (you won’t be able to know this, but that’s okay)
Cannot start with a letter we’ve already used.
Cannot start with a B
Initials can’t make a potentially embarrassing word (MIB made it through because I don’t think her friends are going to know anything about Men in Black. Are you starting to see how crazy I am???)”
So I clapped my hands and rubbed them together gleefully and got my cup of coffee and my Baby Name Wizard and my thousands of other name books and went digging around in my mental archives of saints and names and came up with what I think are some pretty great options. They fit all The Rules as far as they can — I just don’t know, as Dwija pointed out, if they fit the “family name” req or of course the always subjective and not always entirely predictable do-I-like-it-or-don’t-I test. (Also, regarding those rules, I just have to say — preeetty sneaky getting a Ceci and Charlie in the same family when one of The Rules is no repeating first initials — just tack a John on the front of that Charles and you’re good to go! Brilliant!)
First though, just some quick thoughts about the names on their current list:
I love Helen. Beautiful name, beautiful saint, great for a sister of the Borobia children. Dwija didn’t ask for middle name ideas, but Helen Sophia was striking me as a really gorgeous combo.
Teresa, Monica, and Margaret are great options too, and gave me a really good idea of their taste and style, BUT — Monica and Margaret repeat Mary’s M, so they’re out! Maybe as middles?
Martin, Dominic, and Gabriel are awesome — some of my very favorites. But Martin’s an M name, so I did use it for inspiration, but I don’t consider it a real contender for them. Dominic and Gabriel seem to be going in just a little bit of a different direction than what they’ve done so far — they both seem a touch more exotic, perhaps — but they are great names and great saints, so I have no real quibble at all. (Although, now that I think about it … perhaps a quick look at my Gabriel B. post would be wise? It’s always good to have all the information.)
Okay! Here are my ideas/suggestions:
(1) Ruth, Rita, Rose/Rosa
So when you have seven other children, all with first and middle names, plus a list of names that you’ve decided you don’t hate, there are a LOT of names to work with. It makes finding patterns in the Baby Name Wizard a bit more challenging, but also a lot of fun and really satisfying. Ruth, Rita, and Rose/Rosa revealed themselves as style matches for the Borobias, and they all fit the rules so well. I’ve grouped them together because they all begin with R and they’re all four letters, but they each have their own merits. And as long as they don’t use Ursula as the middle, I think the possibility of potentially embarrassing initials is low.
Ruth is, of course, Ruth from the bible, also known as Ruth the Matriarch (and yes the Old Testament holy ones are considered saints). Ruth is one of the very best women in my opinion, for her love of her husband and her mother-in-law, never mind that she was one of the only women named in the genealogy of Jesus. I’ve been seriously crushing on Ruth recently, mostly because of Ruthie. So sweet!
Rita I’m kind of excited about for Dwija and her hubs because they like Margaret but Margaret repeats the M of Mary, which violates one of The Rules. But Rita can be considered a form of Margaret! It’s a short form via variants like Margarita, which makes it a St. Margaret name, and St. Rita is also an awesomely amazing saint in her own right (I’m privy to some amazing intercessory action on her part — great namesake for a little girl).
Rose was actually one of the first names I thought of when I was musing over the list of the already born Borobia children, such a lovely, simple name! St. Rose of Lima’s one of my faves, and it can also be a Marian name. Rosa is a great variant too, and adds an extra syllable if one syllable is considered too short, and Rosie is another of those darling nicknames.
I’ve been pushing Hildi on lots of people recently! Haha! St. Hildegard of Bingen, new Doctor of the Church, is the inspiration here. Hildegard still feels a little … much, to me, for most people, but I’m swoony over Hildi! I definitely think it can stand on its own as a first name, but Hilde and Hilda are variants that can work too. I don’t think Hildi/Hilde/Hilda would qualify as the disallowed “quirky,” but I admit I’m not 100% sure … (it also knocks Helen out for potential future use because of the H).
I actually didn’t know that Alice was a saint’s name until doing this consultation. It seemed such a great fit for this family, but of course I had to make sure it was a saint’s name, and lo — there’s more than one! (Don’t be put off by the fact that none of those are listed as St. Alice — if you click on their names you’ll see they’re also known as Alice.)
Lastly, Frances, fairly uncommon for a first name for a girl as far as I can tell, though Francis is all over the Catholic name stats for boys. Frannie and Frankie are sweet nicknames, and the full Frances is serious and bookish in all the best ways. Frances can be a nod to any of the Sts. Francis, but of course there are loads of female namesakes.
(1) Andrew, Thomas, Luke
Here are my New Testament Boys suggestions, chosen as much for the fact that they don’t repeat initials already used as for being a good fit with the first names Dwija and her hubs have already used for their boys: Paul, Nicholas, and John. I love each of these names for different reasons.
Andrew seems a really handsome, friendly name to me, and Andy and Drew are both really cheerful nicknames. I also had the privilege of hearing Fr. Andrew Apostoli speak this past weekend, and he referred to Andrew as his patron saint, which of course is obvious, but it made me sit up and take notice of Andrew a little bit more.
Thomas is great as the full Thomas, and even better — I assume Mr. Borobia is Thomas since he’s referred to as Tommy on the blog, so it’s a family name and even a Junior if so desired! Or, I know a grown-up Thomas who has initials TAB and goes by Tab — this could also be a possibility. I realize that Dad being Thomas could also work against this idea, and though I assumed the no-repeating-first-initials thing only applied to the kids, I realize it might also encompass D and T because of Mom and Dad.
And Luke — I’ve always loved that Luke’s gospel is considered the most Marian — it mentions Mary more than any of the others; it’s the one which the prayer the Magnificat comes from; and it presents Jesus’ genealogy that some believe goes through Mary rather than Joseph. So Luke can really be considered a Marian name for a boy, which I think is incredibly cool.
(2) Stephen, David
Okay so yes, I know, Stephen is a New Testament name, but I’m grouping it here with the Old Testament David because I know a couple of Stephen & David brother pairs, both older men in my own family and boys in my boys’ school, so they just seem like they go together, peas-and-carrots. Both names are those of beloveds in my family (we have Stephens and Davids that are not brothers as well as those that are), and each name projects a sense of the regal to me, probably because they’re both king’s names as well as saint’s names.
St. Stephen was the first martyr, which is a pretty great credential (and if Dwija and Mr. like the idea of Stephen, I’ve been digging the first-middle combo that Danielle Bean and her husband used: Stephen Matthias). St. Stephen of Hungary was a king, and also known as St. Stephen the Great. I love that! There were also a few Pope Stephens. It’s got some major Catholic cred.
David is King David, of course. I mean, come on. King David. There’s also a bunch of Sts. David too. (But D-Dwija and D-David?)
Just kidding. 😀
I suggested Hildi above and I’m suggesting Henry here and Dwija already said they’re mostly likely settled on Helen so maybe H isn’t the right direction for me to go, but I really love Henry. It’s a sweet name for a boy without being unmasculine, and I think Henry brings out my (admittedly fairly small but existing) contrarian streak because I really hate that some people say, “Henry is too Protestant.” This is totally one of those names that needs to be reclaimed because there are lots of holy Henrys! (And Hank’s a traditional nickname for Henry, and it’s been killing me with cuteness recently, can’t you picture a tiny Hank?!)
(5) Victor, Gregory
This is my Pope category. Victor is a papal name, and also a saint name (besides Pope Bl. Victor III), but my favorite way to think of it is as a Jesus name. We talk a lot about Marian names, but I haven’t heard much about Jesus names, and Victor can totally be considered one, because, as I told a mom in a consultation just recently, He wins! Victor! Victory!
Gregory is one of the Pope St. the Greats, and, as I’ve quoted here before, the Baby Name Wizard says, “Popes, saints, and Gregory Peck! Can a name get any more distinguished?”” I love that! “Greg” tends to be the problem with Gregory, if people have a problem with Gregory, but I’ve suggested both Rory and Gus (perhaps for Gregory Stephen?) as possible avoiding-Greg nicknames. I’m guessing Rory Borobia isn’t going to be a big hit, but Gus Borobia is suuuuper cute. 🙂
And those are my ideas! What do you all think? Do you think they’re hitting the right notes, or totally off key? What would you suggest for the new Borobia baby? (Remember the rules! Must not repeat initials, must not suggest B names, must not suggest quirky saints’ names, and absolutely no William!)