Birth announcement: Evan Thomas!

We didn’t have to wait long to find out what the parents of Monday’s consultation ended up choosing — the mama has let me know that their little guy has been born and named the very handsome … Evan Thomas!

She writes,

Our lovely boy was born [and we] happily named him Evan Thomas.

Jude and Thomas held out as contenders until the end but Evan just had such perfect meaning and roots for us… And we felt it struck the balance of not being too popular nor too unusual.

Love that St. John and St. Ann are represented in our little family.”

I’m so delighted they use Evan Thomas! Such a perfect name for Riley Ann’s brother!

Congratulations Mom and Dad and big sister Riley, and happy birthday Baby Evan!!


Evan Thomas

🎆🌹 Don’t forget to enter the St. Anne Peg Doll + gift certificate giveaway! Read about it here🎆🌹


Our St. Anne pilgrimage, and a giveaway!

I am so sorry I’m delayed in posting this! I’ve gotten swept up in summertime, I know you all know how it is!

So Monday was my two-year blogging anniversary! A day in which I’m reminded, again, how grateful I am for all the blessings that have come to me through this site — and you all are such a big part of that! I was so glad to pray at the Shrine of St. Anne in Sturbridge, MA for all of the specific intentions you sent me over email and FB, as well as some of my own:

  •  All of you and your intentions, with a special care for those are hoping for motherhood/fatherhood; those struggling after miscarriage(s); those struggling with infertility; those struggling with the effects of abortion (recent and long ago); those struggling with their motherhood/fatherhood; those who are pregnant.
  • For all your babies, here and in heaven.

I told you that it would be a most efficacious trip, grace-wise, because of alllll the suffering involved in traveling with my boys (one of the worst things I can think of! Not even joking! Though of course it has gotten better the older they’ve gotten), and I was right. A funny little story I’m sure you’ll all enjoy: My brother-in-law came with us, and gamely sat in the back with my No. 2 and No. 4, and No. 2 threw up four times in the last hour of our trip there.

Four times. Saints preserve us.

He does get motion sickness, which I somehow always seem to forget, and fortunately — and amazingly — this was the first time I was able to pass a plastic bag to him before he threw up all over the van! (St. Anne!) But then one of the bags (of the four) had a hole in it, and his shorts and shirt were covered, and my brother-in-law was helping with napkins and bags while we raced to the next rest area where I ran in to buy him new clothes because no, I would never think to bring extra clothes for my almost-ten-year-old on a day trip. I was able to get him a t-shirt, but they didn’t have shorts, so I bought two Patriots beach towels — one for him to put on the pukey seat and one to wrap around himself beach-style. He was mortified to walk around the Shrine grounds that way, but what are you going to do? And my husband saw the Patriots logo and was like NoMy son’s not wearing that. But again. What are you going to do.

There was also backed up traffic, just around when the motion sickness was taking hold, and the last hour of the trip I think should have only taken twenty minutes. But then — the Shrine! So lovely!

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The first statue I saw was of the Sacred Heart:


(So sorry some of these images are so small — I’ve been trying to fix them for two days and I’m just going to leave them as is.)

Some other heavenly friends:

St. John Paul the Great, St. Joseph, St. Augustine

And of course St. Anne. This statue was in one of her votive chapels:


As I said on Instagram, I love seeing her portrayed as a queen. I said the prayer they had posted for all of you and your intentions, both the specific ones I brought with me and the ones you all hold in your hearts, and lit a candle (the one right in the middle).

I also offered my Mass for you all, which was held in a beautiful outdoor pavilion, and during which they prayed for all the parishioners and pilgrims present. When they said “pilgrims,” my hubs and I glanced at each other — it was such a nice little heavenly hello! There were also pink flowers that kept blowing into the pavilion during Mass, which was so lovely and so St. Anne!


She was present everywhere, of course, from the stained glass windows:


To her hubby’s name on the Parish Center and his very own chapel:


(You know I was all 😍😍😍 over it!) (My hubs was like 😑.)

And there was this gorgeous statue, which I’ve never seen before! I’ve seen the one with just the holy family, but never with St. Anne and St. Joachim as well:

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Beautiful right?! And look at that inscription!

“‘From Generation to Generation’

Dedicated this 18th day of July, 2012
at the start of the 125th Novena to Saint Anne

To honor the generations of pilgrims who have come to Saint Anne Shrine and for the generations to come who will seek the intercession of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim and the Holy Family.”

That’s us!! We are absolutely covered in prayer, what a wonderful blessing.

I did make a quick stop in the gift shop, where I saw this, which I know you’ll all appreciate:

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“Any name available”! All the unusually-named kids can now have their own personalized things! (Or at least this one name card.)

I didn’t get anything there for you all, though, like I did last year, because I was presented with a different idea this year, which I think you’ll all love! Do you remember the SaintAnneStudio Etsy shop that was linked to in my Nameberry article last week? The St. Zelie peg doll was the featured image for my article? Well. I just couldn’t get over the discovery of SaintAnneStudio right at the time when I was thinking about her so much, and there are absolutely gorgeous things in that little shop, so what I have for you all this year, as a thank for being such wonderful, joyful readers, is a giveaway of this beautiful St. Anne peg doll:

As well as a gift certificate for another peg doll of your choice — either one that’s already in the shop (there are a LOT!), or a custom-made one.


Beautiful, right?! I’m so pleased! I hope you are all as excited about it as I am!

So to choose the winner, I thought I’d do the rafflecopter thing, which I’ve never done before, and I’m just trusting it’s as easy to install and run as they say it is. Just click on this link for the Sancta Nomina St. Anne Rafflecopter giveaway, and you should be good to go!

It’ll go through Sunday, and I’ll announce the winner on Monday (which is also July 4, which on the one hand seemed a bad day to do anything blog-wise because you’ll surely all be out and about with hot dogs and swimming and fireworks, but on the other it’s a celebration day, so a great day to announce a winner!) (I’ll post next week’s consultation on Tuesday).


Baby name consultant: biblical or Irishy for a little boy!

Our trip to St. Anne’s Shrine yesterday was just about as pilgrimage-y as pilgrimages go — lots of grace coming to you all!! 😀 I’ll write more about it tomorrow, and I have more pictures to share beyond the ones I posted to Instagram yesterday.

I’m delighted to have this consultation to post today, on my second blogiversary (!!), because of what this mama wrote about her daughter’s sweet name, Riley Ann:

Our daughter (22 months) is Riley Ann — we loved the meaning of “courageous” of Riley … and Ann for both our Mother’s middle names and of course a personal favorite, St. Anne. We liked that Riley is Irish (both have a bit of Irish in our heritage and love our shared alma mater Notre Dame but don’t want to go overboard with the strong Irish names).”

Woo! St. Anne for the win!! ❤

So this mama and her husband are expecting their second baby, a boy! She writes,

Don’t want them to be too popular but are less inclined to go totally unique with boys names (tried for a few weeks to get my husband on board with Joachim but failed when I couldn’t even decide how I preferred to pronounce it).”

(What’s that?? JOACHIM?? Ahhh!! 😀 And I consider that another hello from St. Anne!)

Steering away from S and C names that cause a super slur with our last name … And as I’ve been thinking about all the names we’ve used/like, it seems as though we most frequently go for two syllables a lot! I like a good nickname and 2 syllables is not a set criteria … but more often we tend to just shorten to the first syllable of any name and that works for me. “Ry” for Riley … Or, better yet we find a totally different word and call them that 🙂 So, I guess I do actually like a name to be the name and am less inclined to have dueling formal vs nickname thing if that makes sense.”

(That’s a really good articulation: “am less inclined to have dueling formal vs. nickname thing.”)

For reference, they love the name Leah for a girl, and names on their current list for this little boy include:

Evan Thomas (“love the meaning and has been at top of our list for the longest … would love to hear any saintly connections you can make to Evan“)

Thomas John (or Michael or Charles) (“My wonderful father’s name is Thomas and I love its traditional/Catholic roots without being overused. John, Michael and Charles are all possible family names that seem to pair well. Thomas Aquinas and the sentimental value of the name are pushing it forward but as a standalone name, we aren’t in love with it.“)

Joshua Thomas (“A recent addition to our list of biblical, traditional names that we love. But I honestly haven’t done my research and don’t know a ton about the Catholic roots of this name.”)

Jude Thomas (“The most recent name that caught our eye — as long as we distinguish it as representative of Judas the apostle as opposed to Judas Iscariot, right?!?“)

Robert (“We considered Robert (family name) with the idea to call him “Bo” but we really don’t love Robert, mostly just think the nickname Bo is super cute.”)

We’ve been really into “J” names lately if you can throw some of those into the mix (Jude, Jonah, Joshua and such).”

Okay! First my thoughts about the names on their list:

Regarding saintly connections to Evan — Evan is a Welsh form of John, so any of the Sts. John can serve as patron. Evan Thomas is a great combo, and seems to me to hit that sweet spot of being Celtic but not going overboard with it. I also like that it’s biblical (John) like Leah, and Celtic like Riley—a nice bridge name!

Thomas John/Michael/Charles is a great name. No quibbles at all. Though if they’d like to jazz it up a little, they might consider pairing it with a more unusual middle name. Maybe a family surname? Or Thomas Joachim, to go back to Joachim?

Joshua Thomas is a great name too. As for its Catholic roots—it’s Jesus’ name! Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua (Yeshua), which is Aramaic. Amazing right?! I wrote more about Jesus names, including Joshua, here.

Jude Thomas is also amazing, love love love. It’s so funny this mama should point out the Judas the apostle vs. Judas Iscariot bit! I wrote a little bit last summer about how, to me, even though Judah, Jude, and Judas are all variants of the same name, they all have very different feels: Judah is almost exclusively Jewish; Judas is not okay to use; and Jude is ultra Catholic (or maybe Jude Law). I also spotlighted Jude a few months ago (be sure to check out the comments too!). I just skimmed it again and was reminded that it can be used as a nickname for Julian—I wouldn’t have thought of Julian as the kind of name this couple likes, but it does start with a J!

Robert nicked Bo is such a cute idea and made me laugh because my brother and sister-in-law were considering something similar! I posted a consultation for them in November, with lots of possible ways of getting to the nickname Bo. It is super cute!

Re: their question about J names, one I really like is St. Isaac’s last name Jogues. That’s probably too unique though? Jasper, Jacob, and Joseph are favorites, and Jack totally seems like this family’s style—a little Irish without being too much so, and it’s a variant of John so, like Evan, it could take any of the Sts. John. But it would also knock Evan out of consideration for the future. I have some more J- ideas below that I think are more their speed.

Okay! So you all know I almost always start with the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so here for this couple. Between its suggestions and my own mental files these are my ideas for them:

(1) Colin or Cole
I think Colin’s my biggest suggestion here—it’s Irishy but not too much so, and its English usage stems from its use as a medieval diminutive of Nicholas. So any of the Sts. Nicholas would be good for a Colin! Cole was listed as a style match for Jude, and it also can be related to Nicholas. I prefer the KAHL-in pronunciation for Colin, rather than COLE-in (like Colin Powell), but even with the KAHL-in pronunciation I think Cole could still work as a nickname for Colin if they wanted.

(2) Owen
Owen has the same feeling to me as Evan and Colin—Irishy but not overly so, and I’ve been over-the-moon about St. Nicholas Owen recently—great patron for a little guy! Also, my brother and sister-in-law who were heavily considering Bo ending up naming their son Owen!

(3) Joel, Jared, Jonathan, Justin
It’s funny, I originally had Seth as my third idea for this couple, as it was listed as a style match for both Leah and Evan, which I thought was pretty great, but then I remembered that they preferred not to have an S- name and that they’ve been loving J- names, and Joel is a match for Leah and Seth so it was the perfect swap-in. I love what the BNW says about it: “Joel’s not flashy. It has been steadily popular for many years, but not in the top 100. It’s biblical, but unlike the Isaiahs and Ezekiels of the world, Joel doesn’t shout the fact from the rooftops. It’s quiet and warm, and you’ll never tire of it.”

Jared was listed as a style match for Joel, and I love that too! It’s two syllables and it begins with a J … it’s not Irish but it is biblical!

Jonathan is another John-type name in that it would probably knock out Evan for the future (though it’s not actually related to John, weird right?), and it’s got a heavier biblical feel.

I’ll be interested to see what they think of Justin! I know a lot of people feel like it’s still a bit too 70s/80s, a bit too much of a “dad name,” but St. Justin Martyr is just such a cool guy (and I actually love that combo, “Justin Martyr”—is it too much? 😀 ), and I feel like the name Justin is cool guy name. He may be a dad in a lot of people’s minds, but he’s a cool dad. Haha!

(4) Caleb
Finally, Caleb. I had it on my list for this family, and then I took if off, but at the last minute made the decision to put it back on again. I just love the name Caleb, it’s so sweet and biblical and it can take the amazing nickname Cal, which I just love. It’s also two syllables.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for Riley’s little brother?

Article on saints’ names up at Nameberry today! And that St. Anne!

I have a new piece up at Nameberry today! Usually I try to stick to low to zero Cathtasticalness in my Nameberry pieces, but Pam asked me if I’d write an article on cool and unusual saints’ names, which was awesome of her and exciting for me, and I’m really pleased with how it came out: Best Cool, Unusual Saints’ Names.


(It goes without saying, of course, that I don’t actually think these are the*only* best cool, unusual saints’ names — there’s an invisible “Some of the” before “best” in that title.)

And that image! Pam chose it — a peg doll of St. Zelie! — and included the bit at the bottom about the SaintAnneStudio on Etsy — can it be mere coincidence that she chose a shop named after St. Anne without any knowledge that St. Anne is our patroness?? That St. Anne! Up to lots of good!! 😄❤😄❤😄❤

Speaking of St. Anne … my second blogiversary is Monday (I know! What!) and we all (my hubs and I and the kids and my brother-in-law) are taking a mini pilgrimage to a St. Anne’s Shrine on Sunday (different one than we visited last year), during which I’ll be thanking her for her intercession and patronage, and praying for all of you and your intentions! If you’d like to send me your intentions, whether in the comments below or via email (, I’d love to take them with me. This will be a mighty efficacious trip, since “traveling with the kids” is no where on my Things I Love About Motherhood list, so you can be assured the graces will be a-raining down upon you! 😁

I’d love to hear what you think about my Nameberry piece, and don’t forget to send me your intentions!

Birth announcement: Gabriel John!

Remember that mama of this past weekend, who I asked you all to pray for because she was in labor? That was our dear reader Laura, who has agonized over so many great boy names since she found out her first ultrasound, which seemed to indicate she was having a girl, was actually wrong. Her wee man has been born and named and I’m beyond delighted to announce: Gabriel John!

Laura writes,

Everything went awesome!  We named him Gabriel John. Up till the last few days I was still throwing around Peter, Gabriel, Henry, Leo and Jude. In he end I knew I wanted to keep our Biblical boy theme. But Peter was still in contention even during my labor. With him coming on a Saturday, the Marian Gabriel seemed like the perfect fit.

As for his middle name all pregnancy I had felt so comforted by the letters of St John and my father-in-law’s name is John. With it being Father’s Day weekend, using John seems even more perfect. While I don’t find the flow perfect, I’m excited to add St John as an intercessor for our family!

Sooo wonderful!! I have such a soft spot for Gabriel and the nickname Gabe, which I’ve seen Laura reference during her deliberations. I’d love to list her older kiddos’ names (Gabriel’s #7!), but I forgot to ask if I could and I don’t want to delay this announcement any longer. So I’ll leave it to Laura to leave them in the comments if she’d like. I will say that Gabriel is her fifth boy, and all her boys have New Testament names.

Updated to add: Laura said I could list the others’ names!


So great, right?!

Congratulations to Laura and her husband and all the big brothers and sisters, and happy birthday Baby Gabriel!!


Gabriel John

Cemetery headstones

I’ve been visiting my mother-in-law’s grave at the cemetery a fair bit since she died — I find it really soothing to pray for her and my grandparents who are also there, and then I usually walk for a bit, looking for surnames I recognize or fresh graves and saying prayers for them and all those buried there. I hope it’s not weird to say it’s been really lovely and grounding to do so. One day recently I had just my youngest with me, and he wanted to be held, and he put his head on my shoulder, and we just walked and listened to the birds and smelled the breeze and said Hail Marys (and I might have cried a little) (or a lot) (my kids are used to it, I’m a crier).

I’ve also been noticing names — first and last — and taking pictures in order to share them with you. I posted one on Instagram the other day of Br. Joachim’s headstone — he was a Redemptorist brother I knew when I was small, but embarrassingly I’d totally forgotten about him until I saw his grave! I’d also not known that Joachim was his religious name, replacing his birth name Wesley.

The Redemptorists of my parish had a residence for retired and ailing priests for years and those who died were buried in the same cemetery. It’s so moving to see the rows and rows of uniform headstones, for all those men who gave their lives to God. I also love that each one says, “Hic Jacet” — “here lies.” The C.SS.R. stands for the Redemptorist Order: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris.


(I’m sorry that some of these are hard to read.)

This is Fr. Joseph Ignatius Sims. Joseph Ignatius is so handsome! I wonder if his parents named him Joseph Ignatius, or if Ignatius was his Confirmation name? I assume Joseph is his birth name …





IMG_2993I love this one: Fr. Clement Cyril Englert. Clement Cyril! St. Clement Mary Hofbauer was a
Redemptorist priest, so I’m not surprised to see it here, and because of that I assume it was Fr. Clement’s religious name.






IMG_2996Here’s Br. Liguori Englert, birth name Frederick. Maybe he was Fr. Clement’s brother? Though I’ve never seen Liguori in real life, Withycombe lists it as a feminine name of exclusively Roman Catholic use — so I’m surprised to see it on a man, but not at all surprised to see it on a Catholic. 🙂





IMG_3002I’ve been loving Anselm recently — I’ve even seen it considered as a way of honoring St. Anne on a boy. But Br. Anselm Dnooge (that’s a last name!) was probably thinking of the Doctor of the Church when he chose his name.

(Do you think I’m reading his last name correctly? I looked it up and found one site in Polish where it was listed, but no info offered on it at all, so I assume I do have it correct, since I did find it one place, and I assume it’s Polish?)



IMG_3003What do you think of O. Benedict? I’d love to know what the O stands for, and whether Benedict was Fr. O. Benedict’s given middle name or a religious name? (I can’t make out his last name.)






IMG_2990Moving on from the dear Fathers, I saw this surname and loved it: Ignatczuk. I can’t find any info on it, but I assume it’s related to Ignatius? Does anyone know for sure?






IMG_3007This one — Magdzinska — I’m guessing is related to Magdalene?  I wasn’t able to confirm that though — like Ignatczuk, I couldn’t find any info on it — but all the Magd- names I found on behindthename were related to Magdalene.





We talk almost exclusively about baby names here, but I love bringing it full circle with looking at the names in the cemetery as well. It’s weird to think that each one of the people at rest there were once tiny babies whose parents spent time deciding what to name them. I also love to try to imagine the process of choosing one’s religious name.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May these souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Some of the Redemptorists at our cemetery.

Karol for a boy?

A reader was asking me today if anyone’s using Karol for a boy, whether first or middle name. I know this mama has a boy with Karol as one of his middle names, and I know a little boy in real life who does so as well — what about all of you? Have you seen Karol as a first or middle name for a boy? Has he had any difficulty with the fact that it’s most familiar to [non-JP-loving Catholics] as a girl’s name?

Baby name consultant: “Cute, pretty, creative, professional” name needed for a little Southern Belle

I hope all the dads in your lives had a great Father’s Day yesterday!! We had a great day here — got a lot of house cleaning done, which is seriously one of my hubs’ favorite things. 🙂 Also some good food and Also that basketball game. St. Joseph, you who understand husbands and dads so well, please pray for all the Sancta Nomina dads!

Today’s consultation is for Lily and her husband, who are expecting their first baby — a little Miss!

Lily writes,

I am expecting our first child and I am due in July … being from the south I love monograms and this little girl needs a name so I can start monogramming!

My Name is Lily Irene, and I love love love my name. I had a hard time dropping Irene when I got married and moving in my maiden name of Kelley. I want my child’s name to have a similar feel to mine, but my Husband has very different naming taste than me. However one thing we have agreed on is her middle name will be Twiggs after my father. I would like to call her Twiggs, and I am slowly working on that with my husband. His fear is she will be made fun of at school, and come home crying. But with today’s different names I doubt that will happen. I am open to moving Twiggs to her first name if we can come up with a more feminine name to accompany it.”

I was intrigued right away when I read about Twiggs and — to go back to the Southern names post of the other day — it immediately felt like a Southern name to me. Am I right? A family surnamey name for a girl?

Names that Lily loves but her husband hates (her words!) include:

Adelaide (Lily’s favorite)

Her husband’s favorites include:


And names they can’t use for various reasons:

Birdie (“love this name”)

Alrighty, regarding Twiggs, and it sounds to me like Lily’s husband would really feel more comfortable with it in the middle rather than as a first name. It’s really pretty great of him to even agree to it in the middle! He makes a fair point of worrying that she’ll be teased for it, but Lily also make a good point that with today’s different names it’s less likely to happen than it used to. I also thought I should point out that there’s that singer FKA Twigs — I don’t think she’s hugely popular? But she’s currently dating (or engaged to?) Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, so there’s that. (Her birth name is Tahliah.)

If Lily and her hubs decide to keep Twiggs in the middle spot, I could definitely see Lily calling her Twiggs whenever she wants to, as parents do — all sorts of fun nicknames that are mostly used at home/with family. So if they were to ask my opinion, I’d say the middle spot is the best place for Twiggs, no matter whether they end up calling her that or not. And I think it would be great and fine for Lily to call her that! But with a different first name her husband would have a name to call his little girl that he feels most comfortable with, and she’d have her “normal” name for school, etc. Does that make sense?

I also feel like, since Lily’s husband’s already agreeing to Twiggs, which sounds like he’s not 100% thrilled about, it might be nice to weight the first name choice a little closer to his taste. Which I don’t think should be very hard, because they’re really close on a few names! Lily’s Emmeline and Mr.’s Emily and Emma are so close! Emily Twiggs and Emma Twiggs are both lovely combinations, and balance out the unusualness (and masculinity, since it’s Lily’s dad’s name) of Twiggs nicely. If Mr. could get on board with Emmeline, Emma and even Emily could be nicknames for it that he could call her if he wanted. I’m actually laughing at the idea of Emmeline Twiggs who goes by Emma with her dad and Twiggs with her mom and Emmeline at school — hilarious! And awesome!

Similarly, his Anna and Lily’s Annalee are really close as well. Mr.’s middle name is Lee, and if Lily thought of adding the Lee as a nod to her husband, because of his middle name, it’s such a lovely gesture! I could see it also being a nod to Lily as well, since Lily ends in the “Lee” sound as well. Anna Twiggs and Annalee Twiggs (called Anna by her dad) are both great.

It seems that though Mr. likes Charlotte, it’s not a possibility because of other considerations, but I’m glad Lily listed it as a name he likes, because it gives me a better sense of his taste in names, which was helpful in coming up with new ideas for them.

On Lily’s list, I was interested to see Mae, and while it’s sweet as it is, I wondered if her husband would be more interested in it if it was a bit longer? Mabel and Maybelle came up in my research, and I thought they might fit the bill. Mabel can be a Marian name in that it originally comes from the Latin amabilis, which means “lovable,” and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable/Lovable). Maybelle is similar in sound to Mabel, and can also be Marian, but in a different way — Mae and May are sometimes considered nicknames/diminutives of Mary, and the month of May is Mary’s month, so Maybelle is a sweet nod to Mary. “Belle” means “beautiful,” which is just lovely for a little girl. When Lily said she wants her daughter’s “second name to be a happy joyful name,” I felt like Maybelle kind of fits that.

I was also interested to see that Lily said she loves the name Birdie, and also that she listed Gracie as a name they can’t use, which makes me think she might like to use it if it wasn’t off limits. So based on Birdie and Gracie, I came up with a list of similar names — sweet, girly, and nicknamey:

  • Sadie
  • Daisy
  • Bess/Bessie
  • Nellie
  • Mamie (which is a traditional nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
  • Katie
  • Sophie (a full name in its own right, but it felt similar to these other nicknamey names)
  • Rosie
  • Molly (started as a nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
  • Ivy (ditto to Sophie)

All of these could be a really sweet, feminine first name before the middle name Twiggs. But, there’s also something to be said for preceding a name like Twiggs with a more formal first name, just so she’d have options (and Sophie, Lucy, Molly, and Ivy from the list above would fit that also), so I’ve come up with a few here that Lily and her husband might like:

(1) Josephine
You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard the names parents like as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It can be uncannily accurate! And I especially like finding names that are listed as similar to more than one of the names Mom and Dad like, *especially* if it’s a name similar to a name both Mom AND Dad like. Josephine is such a name! It was listed as a style match for Adelaide, Charlotte, Caroline, and Catherine. Wow! St. Joseph is an awesome patron saint for a little one, and the nickname Josie is so darling—I would absolutely have included in the list above if I didn’t already have Josephine on the list to recommend.

(2) Lucy
Similar to Josie, I would have included Lucy in the nicknamey-type names above if I wasn’t planning to include it down here. It’s actually a style match for Emma, and since they have Lucille on their list already, I wonder if they’d be willing to go with Lucy instead. Lucy’s such a sweet name, and Lucy Twiggs is pretty adorable.

(3) A double name
My comment about Lucy Twiggs being pretty adorable made me think that maybe a really feminine first name plus Twiggs with the intention of using them together might also be a nice compromise for Lily and her hubs. I think Emma Twiggs and Lucy Twiggs are well suited for that, as are several of the nicknamey names above (my favorites for them include Sophie Twiggs and Molly Twiggs). Sara(h) is also great for that—Sarah Twiggs or Sara Twiggs—and Sarah was a style match for Anna and Emily, so I think there’s a good chance Lily’s husband will like it. Mary is also always great for a double name, and Mary Twiggs sounds like a lovely Southern belle to me.

(4) Leah
Leah is solely out of my own thoughts, based entirely on Lily’s husband’s middle name and the “lee” sound at the end of Lily. Leah would be a nice subtle nod to both of them, while also being very feminine and biblical, and it flows really nicely with Twiggs.

In an added twist, Lily’s initial response to my thoughts was that she loves Lucy, but her husband wasn’t sold, and she wrote again saying,

I finally got out of him some characteristics he wants in a name and his criteria are: Cute, Pretty, Creative and Professional. He says Lily fits those characteristics, but I don’t want her to be Lily Twiggs or Lillan Twiggs. He doesn’t like it that people have to ask him do you prefer [a traditional nickname for his given name] or [his given name] so he wants the name to also just be what she would be called (does that make sense) … when you have a free moment can you see if you can come up with Cute, Pretty, Creative and a Professional name.

Oh and No “S” names because the monogram looks awfully close to a not so nice four letter word!

As it happened, I did have a free moment, and spent a little time trying to come up with “Cute, Pretty, Creative, and Professional” names. A tough task! When I think of “Professional” names for women, I tend to think of names like Margaret, Katherine, Elizabeth, Victoria, Deborah — longer names with weight and history and, honestly, nothing too creative about them. If someone told me they wanted a name with Lily’s husband’s criteria, I’d probably suggest something like Elizabeth with a funkier nickname for everyday use, like Libby, or maybe Deborah nicknamed Dorah. But Mr. wants her given name to be the name she goes by all the time, so nothing longer with a short and spunky nickname. Gah! So hard!

From their original lists, I really think Anna, Emmeline, and Adelaide fit this criteria. I think those three names could be seen as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. Of course, this is all very subjective as well, so what I think fits those criteria might not be at all what someone else thinks of as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. You know?

Regarding Lucy, I think I can see what Lily’s husband means. Lucy has a long history of use across cultures and ethnicities, so it should work as pretty and professional, but the –y ending can come across as nicknamey (even though it’s not), and that is really what I think kills it for her hubs’ criteria, because cute and professional just do not go together, generally. But if they were to change it to Lucia, that might work better? It loses the cutesy/nicknamey feel that Lucy’s –y ending can project, and it feels a bit more sophisticated, but it’s still pretty and I think it could come across as creative (unlike Lucille from Lily’s original list, which I think feels a little more staid). If Lily wanted to continue trying to win over her husband, however, the women listed here might help; I think Lucy Liu particularly comes across as a very strong woman.

Here are some other names I thought could work for “cute, pretty, creative, and professional” — I basically just went through one of my name books and wrote down any name that struck me as having the right feel, so it’s very very subjective! I like each of these paired with Twiggs:

(1) Cora
This is probably my #1 suggestion for them. It reminds me a lot of Lucy in length and sweetness, but it’s also got sort of an Old World, “Great Lady” feel to it.

(2) Margo
Actually, Margo might be tied for #1 for me — this Margaret variant is a bit cuter and funkier — definitely has more of a creative feel to me than Margaret — but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.

(3) Livia
Wait! I love Livia too. Okay, that makes three names tied for #1 in my opinion! Livia is really similar to Olivia in sound and appearance, but it’s actually a totally different name — an old Roman name, the name of the wife of one of the Roman emperors (Augustus). It’s also got a separate use as a personification of the River Liffey in Dublin — it’s been used in Irish literature as the name of a woman who represents the River and Mother Ireland.

(4) Lydia
Lydia’s a biblical name, the name of a women who sold purple cloth and was converted by St. Paul. I’ve always loved that a little Lydia can have purple as her very own color!

(5) Maren
Maren is on the more creative end I think, and maybe not as cute, but I actually do think it’s creative and professional at the same time.

(6) Cecily
Even though it ends in a –y, I think Cecily’s longer length makes it not cutesy/nicknamey. It’s a sweet name, but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.

(7) Corinna
Corinna is lovely and feminine, but also kind of weighty and sophisticated, a beautiful name.

(8) Junia or Julia
Junia might be a bit too out there? But it’s a biblical name, which automatically gives it gravitas, and it’s unexpected and pretty rare, which I think often comes across as creative. (Read about a real-life Junia here.)

Julia is so similar to Junia, but more familiar. It’s absolutely a name that gives a woman respect and it’s a really pretty name at the same time.

(9) Laurel
In the family of Laura names, I think Laura feels the most old-fashioned, and Lauren feels modern and youthful (which can come across as not professional). But I think maybe Laurel has the right feel — creative but sophisticated.

(10) Claudia
Finally, Claudia. It was actually the first name I thought of for Lily and her hubs as creative and professional! I don’t think it’s as cute or pretty as some of the others, but it’s a substantial name and pretty uncommon. Like Livia, it’s an old Roman name.

Whew! There’s a lot here to think about! What suggestions do you all have for Lily and her husband for their little Southern Belle, based on all this?

Birth announcement: Rosemary Valentine!

{This is not the baby whose mama emailed this morning to say she was in labor.}

I posted a consultation for Tara and her husband back in December, and revealed the name just a few days later (before the baby was born), and now I have the happy privilege of letting you know that beautiful little Rosemary Valentine has been born!

Tara writes,

You did a consultation for us a while ago – we picked a name back then but thought you would like to see a picture of little Rosemary (Rory) Valentine, born on April 27. Thanks for your blog — I love reading the names and dreaming of naming our next kiddo!

If you remember, Tara had explained:

We LOVED your name choices…and then decided to go with something different. We couldn’t agree on Stella Maris as a first or Stella as a first and Maris as a middle so we started talking other Marian names and landed on Rosemary “Rory” Valentine. We like Rosemary because the rosary has become a prayer devotion for us more recently and there was no arguing over whether it should be one or two names. Valentine is a family name on both sides of our family.”

You know Marian names are my very favorites, and Rosemary is such a great one! I love Rory as a nickname for it too!

Congratulations to Tara and her husband and big sister Kateri Cynthia, and happy birthday Baby Rosemary!!

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Rosemary (Rory) Valentine