Sisters and Swistle

I was all 😍😍😍 last night when I saw the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist’s post on Facebook:

This evening our postulants received the Holy Habit of St. Dominic — and now we have 9 beautiful new novices!!!

And each one of those novices took a new name, which is just like Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/St. Paddy’s Day/my birthday rolled into one!! 😁 Check out these gorgeous combos:

Sr. Stephanie — Sr. Karol Joseph
Sr. Patricia — Sr. Simeon Marie
Sr. Karla — Sr. Johanna Christi
Sr. AnnElise — Sr. Mary Avila
Sr. Rachel — Sr. Paul Marie
Sr. Savanna — Sr. Teresa Marie
Sr. Kelsey — Sr. Maria Cabrini
Sr. Abigail — Sr. Mary Vianney
Sr. Caroline — Sr. Basil Marie

But wait! There’s more! Sr. Helena Burns, fsp, the Daughters of St. Paul self-described “media nun” (with the amazingly named “Theology of the Body & media literacy” blog Hell Burns 😂) posted on Instagram yesterday a picture of her door’s name tag with her Secret Ninja Nun Name 😂 — be sure to check it out, it’s gooorrgeous!!

 

Also, I finally got through the 71 pages of Swistle birth announcements (going back to 2008!) and had a few more I wanted to share with you (I posted about the first batch here):

Hornstein Twins (twin posts are fun anyway, but I particularly loved that in this one, one of the girls was named Rosabel Olivia and called “Roo” for her initials [her last name begins with O] — SO CUTE!)

Then there’s this one: Baby Naming Issue: Felony Fever Vice. Yes, those three words there were the proposed name  (first + two middles) of the baby girl in question. Swistle offered some great suggestions and the final result was vastly better (at least the first two names … they just couldn’t let go of that third). I love me some bold naming, truly, but I’m sure you’ll agree this veered a little too mug shot/convict/prison. I was telling my husband about it and he was just so horrified — as I was I! Promise! — but I could also see the appeal: how similar is Felony to Melanie and Stephanie? Like a traditional name with an edgy twist! And Fever and Vice are both in keeping with the currently popular sounds of names like Everly, Evie, Violet, Vivian, Evangeline, Genevieve. I can see how the parents got there. But still — mug shot/convict/prison.

Finally, lookiee who I found here! Baby Boy or Girl MOE-zhur! It’s a consultation post for Arwen’s second baby — so fun that we were part of her current state of affairs with the consultation I did for her fifth baby and his birth announcement. 😀 I love seeing how parents name tastes change/don’t change as their family grows.

Birth announcement: Lucy Twiggs!

I posted a consultation for Lily and her husband last month, and Lily’s let me know their little girl has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Lucy Twiggs!

Lily writes,

Twiggs was born on July 11, she made her appearance before her due date which made her mama happy. Our southern hot summer was killing me and I was happy she came a few days early!

We are all smitten with her and adjusting to life as first time parents. She has a sweet little personality and I think she fits her name perfectly.  Thank you for all your help with the naming!

If you remember, Lily hoped to call her little girl Twiggs (even though it was most likely going to be in the middle name spot), and I’m excited that she chose one of the names I suggested as the first name! I’m also loving Twiggs as the “call name,” especially after reading the moving comment Lily’s mom left on the consultation post explaining how very moved Lily’s dad was that his granddaughter would be called after him. Just wonderful!!

Congratulations to the new parents and the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Twiggs!!

Lucy Twiggs

Birth announcement: Chiara Marie!

A mama who asked for some last-minute thoughts on their ideas for their fourth baby has let me know that they had a girl (!) and gave her the gorgeous, meaningful name … Chiara Marie!

She writes,

I usually go past 40 weeks carrying my babies but went in to labor a little earlier than anticipated this week at 38+6 and gave birth at 39 weeks on Wed, 7/20 at 11:22!  It was a LONG and HARD labor for a 4th baby, thanks to baby being OP.  Mm, back labor is so sanctifying and screamy.

Anyway, we had our FOURTH GIRL!!!!!!!  My husband, as I’d mentioned, got final naming rights and went with Chiara Marie.  We are smitten and so are her big sisters.  Thanks so much for your input on our list of names!

(“back labor is so sanctifying and screamy” — I love and loathe this line all at once! “sanctifying and screamy” is such a great description!)

Little Chiara was named for Bl. Chiara Luce Badano, who is such a great patron for a girl, and she joins her equally well named big sisters:

Margaret Anne
Felicity Perpetua
Genevieve Faustina

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Chiara!!

IMG_20160721_164731738

Chiara Marie

A giveaway for the Feast of St. Anne!

Happy Feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne!! 🎉🌹🎉🌹🎉🌹

Today’s the last day of the Novena to St. Anne, which I offered for all of you. ❤ I was particularly struck by these words from the prayers for yesterday:

“… O Saint Anne, you whose name signifies grace and mercy …”

She’s such a great saint, and the perfect patroness for the blog!

I wanted to do another little giveaway for you all as a way of celebrating this feast day, and I’m delighted today to be giving away handmade goat milk soap from Robin’s Soap Shoppe!

Robin is an Army veteran and single mom (as she told me, “I very proudly served my country for eight years, and now three of my children have or are serving as well”) who struggles with debilitating anxiety and arthritis. She’s been making goat milk soap for years — I’ve gotten it for my own home and for gifts for family members and friends and my boys’ teachers at Chrismas — it’s beautiful, luscious soap and I’m delighted to be giving away today:

One “Icky Yucky Hands & Super Gardening Soap – lightly scented” bar (approx. 5 oz). Robin says,

When you’ve just finished making a huge mess in your kitchen and your hands are beyond yucky, this is the perfect soap! If you’ve been outside, working in your garden, this soap is wonderful for getting the ickies off your hands. If you enjoy getting your hands dirty, this is your new favorite soap. Layers of lavender buds, rose clay, kelp, coffee grounds, calendula – an amazing soap that smells pretty darn good, too. Scented with rosehips and jasmine. 100% naturally colored.”

icky_yucky_hands

(That one’s my own personal favorite!)

One “Baby Yourself with Lavender” bar (5-6oz.). Robin says,

This is a 100% goat milk cold process soap that is lightly scented with lavender … Goat milk soaps are just scrumptious for your skin! Baby your skin and enjoy the light scent of lavender, too. ❤ “

baby_yourself_with_lavender

And two of these “Mint Chocolate” 3 oz. flower clusters. Robin says,

Oh.My.Word. The most perfect dark chocolate paired with the most amazing mint. I had a feeling this one was going to be good, but, oh MY, it is just scrumptious!!

mint_chocolate

So four soaps in all! One Icky Yucky Hands bar, one Baby Yourself with Lavender bar, and two Mint Chocolate flower clusters. Is it weird to want to say Mmmmmmm about soap?? Because that’s what I always want to say in regards to Robin’s soap! I’m so excited for whoever of you wins this!

This Beautiful Soap from Robin’s Soap Shoppe Giveaway will be for today only (until midnight tonight) — just click on that link to enter and for fun, I’d love to know what your favorite Ann- name is, and/or if you’ve heard any interesting or unusual Ann- variants! (But it’s not mandatory — you can enter without doing so. 🙂 ) (And if you want to place an order of soap on your own, whether you win the giveaway or not, I know Robin would appreciate it!)

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed feast day! 🎉🌹🎉🌹🎉🌹

Baby name consultant: No. 5 after four girls

Laura of the blog B is for Bissonnette and her husband Chris are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown) 🌱after four girls! Big sisters’ names are:

Kayla Cecilia
Elise Marianna (“we pronounce it Mari (rhymes with starry)- Anna (rhymes with sauna)”)
Ava Chantal
Sophie Rose

Beautiful, right?? So feminine and pretty, each one! (Laura actually blogged about the thought process behind the selection of each name—be sure to check it out!

Laura writes,

We love names that are not quite classic and not at all crazy.  We tend toward shorter names since our last name Bissonnette (Bih-Suh-Net) is quite long already, but we aren’t married to the idea that they MUST all be short, per se.  Obviously saints that end with -ette are out because we aren’t into rhyming.  We love a Saint name to be somewhere in the name though it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the first name. As you can see, we have rather inadvertently chosen  first names that are quite popular at this time.  This wasn’t done on purpose, but we have a hard time agreeing on girl names that we both like so we just go with what we can both agree on now instead of worrying about popularity and whether they’ll end up with 15 friends who share their name….”

(I just have to insert here that one of my original suggestions for Laura, which I was feeling really good about, was Colette. Totally forgetting, of course, that she’d explicitly said, “Obviously saints that end with -ette are out because we aren’t into rhyming.” Gah!)

As for boys,

My husband’s family has a tradition that the first born son in the family uses his first name as a middle name for his first son, and my husband is the first boy in his family, so his first name, Christopher would be our son’s middle name if we have a boy … Damian/Damien is a name we’ve had on our maybe list for boys for a while. And I’m not sure if it gives you a help just style-wise, but I like the sounds of names like Aiden and Liam (we just don’t do the Irish thing) … Names that fall into that general style of sound (not the language origin) might be names we’d go for.”

Additionally,

“[W]e sort of went with a bit more French (which didn’t really start until our 2nd child, but has been a theme with either the first or middle names of the other 3 girls…) but we also aren’t married to the “theme”, we are very much a couple who just read through baby name books/lists over and over until something hits us just right, which makes us difficult, I know. I’m currently reading tons of St. Therese, so that name as a middle is a huge consideration, but again, we aren’t married to anything at all as of yet. That’s the closest that I’m “in love” with at the moment is that as a middle.  We are still struggling with much for a first that we just LOVE.

… we generally start with Saint names, come up with a list that we like and then categorize them in First, Middle, or Either.

Saints they love/have particular devotions to include:

Therese
Katharine Drexel/St. Catherine of Siena
Kateri
Faustina
Gemma Galgani
Chiara
Agnes
Felicity
The Blessed Mother

Joseph
Francis de Sales/St. Francis of Assisi
John Paul II
Maximilian Kolbe
Josemaria Escriva
Damien of Molokai
John Mary Vianney
Dominic
Pier Giorgio Frassati
Sebastian
John Bosco

Names that they can’t use for first names because of being part of a big family with lots of nieces and nephews:

Fiona
Siobhan
Liam
Seamus
Kellen
Finian
Sorcha
Eilish
Declan
Grace
Gianna
James
Sarah
Lily
Benjamin
Dominic
Lucy
Logan
Christiana
Xavier
Emiliana
Roisin
Therese
Paul

(What a family! Some ah-mazing names in there!)

Also these have been nixed by the Mister:

Rosalie
Edith
Rita
Names with a similar “old lady” feel are probably going to be vetoed by him as well, including my initial suggestions of Margo and Greta 😦

Okay everyone! Let’s rub our hands together and jump right in!

You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity. Patterns often emerge and it becomes clear what kinds of names the parents tend towards, but I was initially having a hard time pinning down exactly what Laura and Chris’ style was because there wasn’t any real overlap in the few names listed for each entry. Then I started noticing that their girls’ names (firsts and middles) came from the same four lists of names in the book (in the back the author lists all the names according to style): Bell Tones (“freshness with a clean, light touch”—e.g., Kayla), Antique Charm, French, and German/Dutch. Once I figured that out, so many names jumped out at me as ones I thought they’d like! I have a lot of suggestions for each gender, as I found it hard to narrow it down further:

Girls
(1) Chloe or Zoe
Chloe was the name that jumped out at me at first, being biblical and with good French usage. I did consider it may seem too rhymey following right after Sophie? I said the names all together as a set and that was my first thought. But otherwise I like it a lot for this family. And I kept wanting to cross Zoe off the list—Chloe kept seeming like a better fit—but each time I went to delete it I stopped. Something about that zippy Z that’s just really fun, and it’s meaning of “life” is such a great one. It was also the birth name of St. Catherine Laboure, and I’ve heard of a family using Zoe as a nickname for their little Catherine because of St. Catherine Laboure!

(2) Siena
Siena’s for St. Catherine of Siena of course, and it’s really sweet as a first name. I even know of a little one who would have been Siena Catherine if he’d been a girl, which I thought was a neat twist.

(3) Kateri
I loved seeing both St. Catherine of Siena and St. Kateri on Laura’s list of saints because one of my favorite things about Kateri’s name is that Kateri is the Mohawk version of Catherine—she took the name Kateri at her baptism for St. Catherine of Siena specifically! So I kind of think of Kateri as a dual honor name, and I love that it can take the traditional Kat/Kate/Katie nicknames of Catherine.

(4) Corinne
I initially wanted to suggest Cora but, as Laura pointed out to me, it rhymes with her own name, which could be a little weird. Corinne is a great alternative though, a beautiful but not over-the-top French name.

(5) Haley or Halle
There are a trillion ways to spell Haley (like Hayley Mills the actress, or my relatives Haleigh and Hailey, or actress Hailee Steinfeld or ……..!), but no matter which one, it immediately hit me as a name Laura and Chris might like. But then I wondered if it was too similar in sound to Kayla? Depending on how they say it, maybe … especially if they really emphasize the first part as “Hay” … if they said it more like “Hail” maybe it’s okay … but that thought process made me think of Halle, like Halle Berry, which bypasses the potential rhymes-with-Kayla while still having a lot of Haley’s appeal. I posted ideas for NFL quarterback Philip Rivers a while ago, and his wife responded to it and explained how they chose each of their kids’ names, and their oldest is Halle, which is a name they loved, but when she was at Mass once when she was pregnant and realized “Hallelujah” contains “Halle” within it, she took it as a sign. I love that!

(6) Lena or Mina or Mila
Lena is one of those names that can be a nickname for some great names like Magdalena and Helena, but it can also stand on its own as a variant of them, so a little Lena could have St. Mary Magdalene or St. Helena as a patron. Mina is similar in sound, but is connected more to Wilhelmina, which would be a great way to honor a William, if Laura and Chris have one in their family. I could also see it possibly being a nickname for Magdalena, so they could still choose that saint as patron if they wanted. And I discussed Mila recently as the best way to honor St. Ludmila, who was a great lady.

Pronunciation-wise,  I say Lena as LEE-nah, but I’ve also seen LAY-nuh. Mina is MEE-nah, and Mila can be either MEE-lah or MY-lah or even MILL-lah I think. My son had a MEE-lah in his class this year. How about the rest of you? How do you say these names?

(7) Gemma
St. Gemma’s on their list of favorite saints, and I love love love the name Gemma. So it definitely had to be listed here as one of my suggestions! It leans more Italian (in origin and usage) or British (in usage) rather than French, but it’s a short, sweet, saintly ends-in-a name that fits in well with the big girls I think.

(8) Zelie
St. Zelie’s not on their saint list, but it’s French and sweet-and-spunky like the big girls’ names and is connected to St. Therese—a great option!

(9) Vianney
I’ve suggested the girls’ names from the blog My Child I Love You so many times, as I think they’re just so inspired, and Vianney is one of them. I think most people think of naming a boy after St. John Vianney, but Vianney is so pretty on a girl. (I was going to suggest another of their girl names — Clairvaux — but decided not to. Maybe I should have?)

(10) Ruby
I spotlighted Ruby a while back, and I came up with a lot of great faith connections for it. It’s such a sweet name, and I love it on its own or as a nickname (check out that spotlight post for ideas!).

(11) Tessa
Finally Tessa, a name I went back and forth on suggesting, and here now at the last minute, as I’m putting together this post for today, I’m just doing it. I’m not sure why I hesitated, because I love it with the older girls’ names. Though Therese is on their can’t-use list for first names, I’ve seen Tessa chosen specifically for Sts. Therese or Teresa, and I thought Tessa was different enough that it might be okay. Therese as a middle name would be out, but I quite like the idea of Tessa Catherine, Tessa Claire (for Chiara), Tessa Frances (for Francis), and Tessa Vianney.

Other girl names that didn’t make my final cut, but that I think still might be ones they’d like, include: Nora, Mia, Cassie, Isabel(le).

Boys
(1) Blaise
Blaise tops my list of suggestions for Laura and Chris—it’s super saintly and French, and I’ve always loved that it evokes image of speed and superheroes with its “blaze” pronunciation—great name for a little guy!

(2) Jude
Jude is short and light like the big girls’ names, but definitely heavy hitting—who doesn’t like St. Jude??

(3) Oliver
Though Oliver has a really Irish/British Isles feel to me, Olivier, which of course is just one letter difference, is all French, and in my weird way of thinking, it made Oliver seem like a really good fit for this family.

(4) Cam (Campion?)
I’m kind of swoony over my recent discovery that Cambridge was named after the River Cam—Cam! I really love Cam for a boy! This revelation totally makes it doable as a first name on its own, without being a nickname! I really really like that idea, but I know it’s even better if it’s connected to a saint, and St. Edmund Campion is a great way to get there.

(5) Cole (Nicholas, Colman, Kolbe)
Cole is one of my favorite nicknames for a boy. Certainly it can stand on its own as a first name, but I love it as a nickname for Nicholas (so many great Sts. Nicholas! You know my fave is St. Nicholas Owen!), or Colman (an Irish saint; I feel like Colman is kind of unexpected but feels familiar, a nice combo), or even Kole for Kolbe (and St. Max is on Laura and Chris’ list of favorite saints).

(6) Bosco
St. John Bosco’s on the saint list, and I loved when Grace Patton named her youngest Bosco (and my love for it grows every time I see his sweet little face on her blog/Instagram).

(7) Milo or Miles
Milo is described on behindthename.com as an Old Germanic form of Miles, whose origin doesn’t seem to be clear, but I’ve seen it connected to Michael (and I think Milo or Miles could totally work as a nickname for Michael) and the Latin miles, which means “soldier.” A fun tidbit is that Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (from their saint list)’s middle name was Michelangelo, so Milo/Miles could be a nod to him in that way.

At first I thought Milo was more Laura and Chris’ speed than Miles, being that Milo has that Germanic edge, but the recent brouhaha surrounding Milo Yiannopoulos’ permanent suspension from Twitter made me wonder if Milo is going to be a name to avoid for a while (what are your thoughts on this?). Miles is great, and can be considered a legit Marian name for a boy as both Miles and Milo are used as anglicizations of the Old Irish Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of Mary.”

(8) Bram or Abram
These might be totally out there for Laura and Chris, but Bram’s been one of my favorite names for a long time. It’s an English and Dutch short form of Abraham, and my husband and I have also talked about using it as a nickname for Ambrose. I say it to rhyme with “gram,” and I’ve heard it said that way; it can also be said like “brahm,” which I believe is how Bram Stoker said it.

Abram never used to be on my radar at all, but when I was at the doctor’s office recently I heard a mom calling her son Abram, and he was this adorable little guy with blond curls and I immediately loved the name.

(9) Grady, Brady
Both of these were listed as similar to the Bissonnette style in the BNW and while they skew more Irish than anything else (and are the last names of two of the Irish martyrs), I thought I’d include them because I think they’re both really handsome and go well with the girls’ names.

(10) George (or just Geo?) or Jerome
These are 100% inspired by Laura and Chris’ devotion to Pier Giorgio Frassati. I’ve read that he never went by Pier, only by Pier Giorgio or Giorgio (or Georg when he was writing in German), and since Giorgio/Georg is George, I thought that could work. I especially love love love the nickname Geo! So cool! It might even be able to stand on its own as a given name? Or is that too weird? Geordie (Jordy)’s another option that I really like, it’s a traditional nickname for George. And Pier Giorgio took Girolamo as his religious name when he became a Third Order Dominican, which is the Italian for Jerome, so that’s an option too.

As with the girls, there were some boy names that were swirling around the right area for me that didn’t end up making my final cut, but I wanted to mention them just in case: Adrian, Henry, Keegan, Kian, Rylan, Tobias.

A fun last-minute question Laura added was that she’s “especially interested in nicknames/variations of Joseph, Sebastian, Damien, Francis, and John Bosco.” You all know nicknames are my jam!! My ideas for these are:

  • Joseph: according to behindthename.com, Jozo (Croatian), Pepe (Spanish), Sepp/Seppel (German), and Zef (Dutch) are all short forms or diminutives of Joseph. I’m especially intrigued by Sepp, Seppel, and Zef (I think Zef is my favorite!)
  • Sebastian: not to mention Grace Patton’s amazing name style twice in one post, but another of her sons is Sebastian and he goes by Bash. I know he’s not the only one, but he’s the first Sebastian I’d ever heard of going by Bash and I was immediately besotted. Such a great nickname for a little boy! There’s also Seb/Sebby, Bax (especially for Sebastian Xavier, for example), and Baz. I’ve even seen Ian used as a nickname for it!
  • Damien: I’ve had Damien on my own list for a long time, and my nickname idea for it has been Denny, and I’ve felt pretty clever about it. 🙂 Using that same thought process, I think Danny would be great for the Damian spelling.
  • Francis: I’ve suggested Finn a bunch of times as a nickname for Francis—I love that it allows for a super-saintly given name and an on-trend (and Star Wars!) nickname. Frank/Frankie is traditional, of course (and Frankie for a little guy is so cute!), and I’ve also known guys who went by Fran and the Italian Cici/Cic (“Chee-chee”/”Cheech”). Some non-English options that are cute include Chico (Portuguese), Franz (German), and Pancho or Paco (both Spanish)
  • John Bosco: Certainly Bosco, as I’d mentioned (I might have seen Grace’s Bosco referred to as “Boss”? Sooooo cute!), and all the John nicknames (Jack, Jake, Johnny), and even Don for Don Bosco. There are loads of John variants of course, if they’d prefer to go that direction (Evan, Hans, Ian, Ivan, Sean, Shane, etc.). I also just discovered that his middle name was Melchiorre—the Italian for Melchior, which is the name traditionally given to one of the three Wise Men, how cool!

Whew! Those are all my ideas for the little brother or sister of Kayla, Elise, Ava, and Sophie! What would you suggest? What other nickname ideas do you have for the saints Laura was asking about? How do you say Lena, Mina, and Mila?

Birth announcement: Brinley Josephine!

I did a private consultation for a boy name for a mama who was expecting a little green bean 🌱 but was set on a girl’s name. She let me know she’ll have to save the boy ideas for the future, because she had a baby girl (!) who was given the sweet name of … Brinley Josephine!

She writes,

IT’S A GIRL!!

Brinley Josephine

I will be saving all of your boy name suggestions for the next one because I LOVED SO MANY OF THEM!!

I happen to know that one of the points in favor of Brinley Josephine was that Dad wanted to call her Brinley Jo, so I asked the mama if that had come to pass, and she said,

We are calling her Brinley Jo (and Brina, baby Bee🐝, Brinnie-Minnie, etc… We love nicknames)!

SO cute!! Brinley joins big brother:

Everett Gabriel

Such a great sibling set!! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Brinley!!

Brinley Josephine