Dianne and her husband are expecting their fourth baby and third girl! Their older kiddos are:
Love. Love. Love.
“My husband prefers initials that spell things, but so far we haven’t done that well with the other children! Ava’s initials are ALM (and we stretched that to say she’s our almsgiving). It’s obviously not a deal breaker, but it’s nice.
We liked Ava because it was close to “ave”, the start of a Ave Maria … “Lilian” is her aunt’s name. Spelled with one middle L, being the Filipino way to spell it. (My husband is Filipino and I’m white, so our kids are mixed race. We considered more traditional Filipino names, but they’re mostly hispanic in origin and we don’t feel like that works well in the US with our heritage).
Sophia’s name was almost going to be Olivia, but my grandmother (middle name Elizabeth) died shortly before her birth. And for whatever reason at the time, I didn’t like Olivia Elizabeth and decided that Sophia went better with it. Since then, my cousin named her daughter Olivia, so I’m not keen on using it again.
We thought that Caleb Augustin was just a real strong name. We dropped the “e” on Augustin because we thought it helped to pronounce it as “Au-GUS-tin” instead of “AUG-us-teen.” His first name was almost Augustin, but I didn’t want a Gus (we did like the nickname Augie!), and I ultimately thought it would be too “weird” sounding outside of our Catholic circle.
We didn’t consult “top name” lists until after we named our kids. We had no idea how popular they are. I would probably prefer a name not at the top of the popularity list like our other kids, but again, not a deal breaker. I do want names that are common enough to 1) be pronounceable, and 2) not seem too weird on future job applications, etc. We would also love a very strong saint’s name, or at least some obscure connection to a saint.”
This was so fun for me to read, I love being given lots of information about the hows and whys a couple named their children.
For this baby, their top name contenders are:
Siena — (“Catherine of Siena is my patron saint. I don’t really like Catherine“)
Seraphina — (“we like that she could go by something more common sounding — Sera — while still having a beautiful name, that reminds us of the angels”)
Adele — (“A beautiful saint name. We don’t love the mental association with the singer, but we don’t dislike the musician, so it’s still a contender.. ha“)
Charlene, Charlotte, and Madeline — (Dianne likes but her hubs doesn’t care for Charlene or Charlotte, and Dianne’s not confident Madeline goes well with their last name)
Basically, it all boils to these three things:
1) Are these names too similar to Ava or Sophia’s names?
2) if we have future girls, are we locking ourselves into a name ending in “a” if we choose Siena or Seraphina? I’d lean towards Adele because of that reason, but I think Siena Adele sounds prettier than Adele Siena.
3) what nicknames would be good for these names?
Alrighty, first off, I love that Ava’s name was chosen because it’s close to Ave! I actually know a little girl named Ava Maria, for that same reason. Ava Lilian is a beautiful combo, and I love her initials!
Sophia is a beautiful name, and sounds lovely with Elizabeth. I do see what Dianne means about Olivia Elizabeth not flowing well!
I love Caleb Augustin, so handsome! We almost named our youngest three boys Augustin, that spelling, for the same reason Dianne and her hubs used that spelling—we wanted au-GUS-tin, not au-gus-TEEN. In the end, just like them, we just couldn’t pull the trigger! But I do still love it.
As for the names on their current list:
Siena is a great name, and a great way to honor St. Catherine of Siena if you don’t care for Catherine. It is similar in sound, rhythm, and length to Sophia, but with Caleb between them I don’t think it’s a huge deal. They could also consider a variant of Catherine — there are so many! Caterina was Catherine of Siena’s actual name (Catherine is an English and French version), and there are a million more variants here. I wouldn’t think of nicknaming Siena, would you? I could maybe see Sia working, if you really wanted to shorten it, but there’s the singer reference there as well (who’s actually quite well named: Sia Kate Isobelle. Gorgeous!).
Seraphina is one of my favorites, such a gorgeous name! But it is very similar to Sophia, more so than Siena I think, because it shares the beginning S-, the ending –a, and the –ph- in the middle. If Dianne and her hubs decided they wanted to use it anyway, there are some sweet nicknames for it: Sera, as mentioned; also Fia, Fina, Fifi, and even something sweet like Sunny! Another way to make it just a little different is to use the French Seraphine instead, which eliminates the –a ending. It also made me think of Josephine — it has a similar length and rhythm and some shared sounds, but that it starts with J- automatically makes it more different from Sophia.
Adele is great if they want to move away from names that end in –a. I agree that Siena Adele sounds nicer than Adele Siena, but of course they could do a different middle. Something like Adele Josephine, for example, or even Adele Seraphina — both sound lovely to me! I think the most natural nickname for Adele is Ada, which doesn’t work with their Ava, but I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t do Elle or Ellie, or even Dell — kind of sweetly tomboyish.
Charlene I was surprised by! It’s feminine and pretty, but has more of a mid-century feel to it (style matches would include Marsha, Gayle, and Francine) than the other names on their list. Charlie and Lena are both cute nickname ideas.
Charlotte, on the other hand, didn’t surprise me at all! It’s very consistent with the other names they like style-wise. It (along with all the names on their list) helped inform my ideas for below.
Madeline is also beautiful and consistent with this family’s style. I don’t mind alliterative first name-last name combos as much as some others do — I think Madeline M____ could be really kind of M-memorable! 🙂 And with an I- middle name, MIM is a cute nickname option. This is me being crazy, but I’ve seen Mim as a nickname for Miriam, so they could possibly see MIM initials as a super subtle nod to Mother Mary? I know, my thought process is not to everyone’s taste … 😛
I did come up with some other ideas, of course! I can always come up with name ideas! As you all know, I almost always start a consultation by looking up all the names that the parents have used and like in the Baby Name Wizard book, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity. I then look for names that show up as similar to more than one of the names they like, and I comb my own head for ideas as well. With all that, I had six ideas for this little baby girl on the way:
(1) Isabel or Isabelle
I know they already used Elizabeth for Sophia’s middle name, and Isabel(le) is a variant of Elizabeth, but its sound and appearance is so different — and it would be in the first name spot instead of the middle — that I thought Dianne and her husband might be willing to consider it. It’s very similar in style to the other names they like, and going with Isabel or Isabelle rather than Isabella gets away from the ends-in-a names. As for the initials spelling something, I’m reminded of the little girl named Isabelle Verity who goes by Ivy because of her initials I.V., so sweet! That doesn’t work with sister Ava, though … or what about something like Isabelle Helen or Isabel Hope for initials IHM=Immaculate Heart of Mary? (Other good initials-as-nicknames ideas here.)
Violet is kind of, ahem, flowery (haha!), which is how I’d describe Seraphina as well, and yet it also reminds me of Adele in some way — pretty and feminine but also solid and traditional. It can also be considered Marian, which is always a huge plus in my book! Violet Isabelle M___ would have the initials VIM, like “vim and vigor” (vim means “robust energy and enthusiasm,” love that!).
Caroline is long like Seraphina, and was inspired by (and is a variant of) Charlotte; its –ine ending also calls to mind Seraphine, Josephine, and Madeline. A lot of Catholic parents have been loving Caroline recently because of St. John Paul’s birth name of Karol (and I’ve seen Karoline and Karolina as well, to get even closer to his name). I can’t think of spelling a word with initials, but Caroline Adele M___ would be CAM, which could lead to nickname Cammie.
(4) Grace or Faith
Grace and Faith are virtue-esque names, like Sophia. Grace is also a style match for Charlotte and August (Augustin(e) isn’t listed in the book), and Faith is similar to Caleb. Grace can refer to God’s grace, as well as Our Lady of Grace, and of course Faith refers to all of what we believe. They are so similar to me in terms of faith-y significance that I would think popularity would be the deciding factor, if they decided they like these ideas. Faith is vastly less popular than Grace, but just as sweet in my opinion. I don’t have any ideas for initials-words for Faith, but Grace Emmanuelle M___ could be GEM — great initials for their little gem!
(5) Vivian or Vivienne
People who like Seraphina tend to like other long, frilly, saintly/faith-y names like Genevieve, Evangeline, Veronica, and Vivienne (lots of V’s!). Of those, I thought Vivienne would be of interest (perhaps more likely as the spelling Vivian, being shorter and closer in length to the big sibs’ names). I don’t *think* it’s too similar to Ava, with the V’s, but maybe you all think it is? Especially if they go with the nickname Vivi, which is so sweet, but very like Ava. See Violet above for an initials-word idea.
(6) Abigail or Chloe
I’m listing these two together because neither one are names I’d come up with on my own, but they both were similar to several names Dianne and her husband like: Chloe to Ava, and Abigail to Caleb, Madeline, and Olivia. Both are biblical names — Chloe was a woman in the New Testament who housed St. Paul, and Abigail is in the Old Testament (King David’s wife) and is referred to as Abigail the Matriarch, with a feast day of September 1. Chloe Adele M___ (CAM, like Caroline above) or Abigail Irene M___ (AIM, like “aim for heaven”)?
And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would suggest for a little sister to Ava, Sophia, and Caleb? Any other initials-make-words ideas?