Birth announcement: Zelie Grace!

Our girl Jenny Uebbing had her baby!! I posted a consultation for her less than a month ago, and she’s let me know that her little green bean turned out to be a Little Miss whose been given the gorgeous name … Zelie Grace!

Jenny writes,

I know you probably saw on social media but wanted to tell you that Zelie Grace arrived yesterday at 5:10 am on the feast of St Thomas Becket and King David, a cool coincidence for her daddy, David, the chancellor.

We named her something else, called her that for the first few scary minutes of her life (very blue high altitude baby) and so I started praying for the intercession of St Zelie Martin who lost so many of her own babies. I didn’t think we were going to lose her, but I did think she was going to need to go to the NICU. Happily she perked up and has been doing great ever since. Her birth was so different and so much more peaceful than her older siblings’ were that at once point Dave leaned over and said ‘if she’s a girl, grace should be part of her name, because there’s so much if it here.’ So there you have it, Zelie (zay-lee) Grace Uebbing. 7 lbs 11 oz and sweet as can be.”

I’m so happy for Jenny!! I know the end of her pregnancy was tough (I just about died when I read her description on Instagram of her Christmas Eve, when she thought she might be in labor: “Santa may or may not be upstairs barfing and Mrs Claus is hunched over her contraction timer app”), so for her to say this birth was so much more peaceful than her others is such a gift. And the fact that, in the first consultation I did for her (for the baby before this one), she’d said about the name Zelie:

Dave will never let me get away with this one but I’ve loved it for years … And yes, I’m aware there is going to be a Catholic ghetto baby boom of little Z’s running around as a result [of St. Zelie’s canonization]. But I still love.”

Dreams do come true! ❤

Congratulations to Jenny and Dave and big sibs Joseph, John Paul, Genevieve, and Luke, and happy birthday Baby Zelie!!

Zelie Grace with Mom, Dad, and big brother

(Be sure to check out Jenny’s Instagram for more yummy baby pics!)

Birth announcement: Oscar Xavier!

I posted a consultation for Lisa and her husband just a week before Christmas, and Lisa let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the awesome name … Oscar Xavier!

Lisa writes,

We’re happy to announce the early and unexpected arrival of our little babe, Oscar Xavier, born 12/20 at 36w5d. Our little Ox wasn’t doing so well, so it was time to meet him. As we prayed for his safety and health, we realized we needed some strong intercessions. Upon seeing his face, he was most certainly an Oscar. It took us a bit to decide on a middle name, but found Xavier was the perfect fit. He has some very active saints (and soon-to-be saints) in his corner, and we’re sure God has big plans for our little Ox.”

Ox! I love it! 😍😍😍 Not only does this little guy have Bl. Oscar Romero and St. Francis Xavier watching out for him, but Ox reminded me right away of St. Thomas Aquinas, who was called The Dumb Ox by his classmates — I feel like it’s come to feel affectionate to the Dominicans (if you google “the dumb ox,” you get some pretty amazing results!). So this baby boy is SET!

Congratulations to Lisa and her husband and big sibs Eliette, Margot, and Quentin, and happy birthday Baby Oscar!!

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Oscar Xavier

Some more literary stuff

I’ve loved our recent literary conversations — you all had great additions to the Catholic Literary Names post (both book recs and name ideas), and it was fun to spotlight Meghan’s girls’ literary names. Little Lewis’ birth announcement fit right in as well!

Abby from Appellation Mountain re-posted her Imaginary Place Names post yesterday, and I love so many of the ideas. I’d be interested to see if you have any additions to her list — the only one I could think of was Tara, which isn’t quite right, since it’s the name of an existing place (Hill of Tara in Ireland), but sort of fits, since I’m sure it entered baby-naming consciousness as a result of Gone With the Wind and Scarlett’s plantation home, Tara. In fact, Tara didn’t even appear on the SSA’s annual list of names given to five children or more until 1939 — the book was published in 1936 and the movie was released in December 1939 after a two-year-long production process that included the pursuit of Clark Gable and a public search for Scarlett.

This would probably have been more helpful before Christmas, but I also wanted to share with you all the books we’ve gotten for my husband’s elderly great-aunt, in case you might be interested (it’s on my mind because we just got her some new books, and I’m feeling like we’re running out of ideas). She’s a good Christian (though not Catholic) lady who loves love stories (but nothing too spicy!) and dislikes murder mysteries (which rules out Mary Higgins Clark, which I’d initially thought would be perfect — so many books! Set for life!). These are some that we’ve gotten for her:

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (this is bordering on too spicy for her, though I loved it)

Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke (this is a series, and I think we only gave her the first one — I’m adding the rest to my list for her now!) (the first is free with Kindle Unlimited!)

Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Emma by Jane Austen

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series (one of my personal favorites) by Alexander McCall Smith

And a bunch from the large-print fiction section of ChristianBooks.com (The Amish of Apple Grove series by Lori Copeland was our gift this year, and it sounds like she’s enjoying it. I’ve never read them, I’m just trusting that any romance novels from ChristianBooks.com aren’t inappropriate!)

If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! She loves to read, but can only read large print books and won’t consider Kindle or similar, nor audio books.

Finally, since we’re talking about books, guessss what was under the tree this year for me?? A new Baby Name Wizard!! I totally needed one!! It’s my third copy — my previous two fell apart over time through use! Having a brand new one is such a pleasure!

I hope you’re all enjoying this Christmas season!


Amazon affiliate links used in this post.

 

Baby name consultation: Little brother needs a familiar+unexpected saintly name with an international feel

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!! We did — my husband took a couple little videos of our boys’ reactions to opening their presents yesterday morning, and he and I watched them a couple of times last night. The sweetness, the anticipation, the innocence, the pure joy … I know you all know why I cried watching them each time. (Also, I’m re-opening my consultations today — details are here.)

Nikki and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — their first boy! Little Mister joins big sisters:

Sonja Rose Marie
Zoie Ann
Viola Grace

Not only do I love these names (familiar but unexpected! I love that!), but Nikki specifically said,

We are recent Catholic converts so this is our first baby that we are naming with Saints in mind

So I love being able to say that, despite the fact that they didn’t name with saints in mind, she and her hubs did an amazing job saint-wise! Sonja is a variant of Sophia, which can be biblical (book of Wisdom) or Marian (Seat of Wisdom) or saintly (St. Sophia), and of course both Rose and Marie can nod to Our Lady, as well as St. Rose of Lima. Zoe was the birth name of St. Catherine Laboure (the Miraculous Medal saint), and St. Ann(e) is one of my faves. Viola is a Violet variant and violets are a symbol of Our Lady, and Grace can be for Our Lady of Grace or the concept of grace, which is so faith-filled. All in all, they did a wonderful job, and their girls’ names fit right in with the families I come across through the blog. So great!

Nikki continues,

We are very open to name suggestions. We want something that goes with our daughters’ names but is clearly Catholic. Some of our favorite Saints are St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Faustina (although husband vetoed the name Faustina), St. Therese, St. Gianna Molla, and St. Catherine of Siena. We would like some kind of Marian name included.

The names that we can’t use because of family are Henry, Daniel, and Robert.”

What a fun thing, to find names that bridge the pre-conversion names with the post-! Though, as I said, it wasn’t too hard — it’s so fun revealing the faithiness of names to those who didn’t realize!

I heard Sonja (Sonia? Sonya?) on a little girl at my boys’ swimming lessons this summer and loved hearing it, such a pretty, unexpected name! We have a relative (Norwegian immigrant) named Sonja, same spelling as Nikki’s daughter, so it has a really Old World feel to me, and that style of name is really coming back. Nikki and her hubs are ahead of the curve! Viola fits in with that old, chic feel to me– it’s a bit more unexpected than Violet — and Zoie is so spunky and has a long history of use though it feels perfectly modern. Really nice job! I feel like each of the names has a distinct feel, but they all go together so nicely!

When I was trying to come up with ideas for their little boy (!!), I focused mostly on trying to find names that were similar to the style of names their girls have, though there are a lot of families that have different tastes in girls’ names and boys’ names, so if my ideas aren’t exactly on the mark, that could be why. Even though I think most people have girls in mind when they say they’d like some kind of Marian name, I included some thoughts in that vein for Nikki’s boy. And knowing their favorite saints was helpful! In fact, of them, I thought Maximilian was a great idea for them! It’s got good international usage and is definitely Catholicky Catholic. In addition, you all know that I use the Baby Name Wizard in my consultations, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — Max was listed as a match for Zoie! And St. Maximilian Kolbe loved Our Lady so much, his name definitely loops in a Marian feel.

In terms of other ideas, in addition to the BNW, I also used the Name Matchmaker at the Baby Name Wizard web site for this family. Using their girls’ names as inspiration, as well as my own mental files, this is what I came up with (in addition to Maximilian!):

(1) Conrad
Because Sonja has such an ethnic feel to me (which I love!), I really tried to find names that had a similar European feel (Scandi/German/Eastern European) or even just “international” without being “too much.” Conrad was actually listed as a style match for Viola by the Name Matchmaker, and it immediately felt like a good idea to me! It was on our list for my youngest boy, I think it’s such a great name — unusual but not unfamiliar, easy to say and spell. We would have used the nickname Cord for it; Kurt/Curt is another traditional nickname/variant of it, and the mama of this family has told me she uses Kon for her Konrad, which I think is adorable. My only hesitation with Conrad is that I don’t think it comes across as obviously Catholic to most people, though there are loads of Saints and Blesseds named Conrad to choose from for a patron. But maybe Nikki and her hubs don’t need “obviously Catholic”? Just the fact that it *is* Catholic might be good enough?

(2) Jasper or Casper
Viola doesn’t actually have its own entry in the BNW, so before I went over to the Name Matchmaker to plug it in over there, I used Violet in its place when I was looking up names in the BNW book, and Jasper was one of the style matches. I love Jasper! Such a cool name! And it immediately made me think of Casper, which is actually the same name — they’re variants of each other (as is Gaspar) — and Casper has more of a Scandi feel to me, which I thought might appeal to this family. Or not! Either way, I like this name family for them! One of the Three Wise Men has been traditionally known as Jasper/Casper/Gaspar (depending on where you look), and he’d be a great patron for a little boy; others are listed here.

(3) Clement
I might as well get all my C name ideas out of the way up front! Clement is 100% inspired by their devotion to St. Faustina — she’s the saint of Divine Mercy, and Clement means “merciful.” It’s one of the words used to describe Our Lady in the Hail Holy Queen: “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary,” which also gives it a Marian character. I saw it pop up quite a bit in Catholic babies’ names during the Jubilee Year of Mercy last year, and it’s also the name of several saints (including a pope). Even if they don’t care for it for a first name, I think it would make a great middle name!

(4) Felix
I really like that each of their girls has a virtue-esque name — Sonja means “wisdom,” Zoie means “life,” Viola’s middle name literally means “grace” — so doing that for their son would be a cool tie-in among all the siblings. Clement (“mercy”) above qualifies, as does Felix — it means “happy” or “blessed,” and it also has that international feel that I think would fit in so well with the girls. There are loads of holy men with the name!

(5) August or Augustin(e)
Continuing the virtue-name theme, the August- names, which mean “great, venerable,” might appeal to Nikki and her hubs. Augustus is a style match for Viola and August for Violet; of those two, I thought August might be more their speed. But then, if they want something obviously Catholic, Augustine might be just the name. St. Augustine of Hippo is one of the most famous and influential saints in the history of Christianity! Spelling and pronunciation can be an issue, but I’m sure this family runs into pronunciation and spelling issues with both Sonja and Zoie, so they can probably pull it off with no problem! There are a bunch of other holy men with that name, too; Bl. Miguel Agustín Pro is another great one who isn’t included in that list.

(6) Damian/Damien
Damon was listed as a style match for Sonja, which made me think of Damian and Damien. I love both! Damian is St. Damian, twin brother of St. Cosmas, and St. Peter Damian, who’s a Doctor of the Church; Damien is all St. Damien of Molokai, who was amazing. I love these names! I’ve done birth announcements for a couple little boys with this name recently: here and here,  and blogger Grace Patton considered Damian for her youngest (she ended up naming him Abraham).

(7) Luke or Lucas/Lukas
My last idea for Nikki and her hubs is one of the Luke names. Lucas and Lukas have more of an international feel (the Lukas spelling is the German and Scandinavian variant), while Luke is simple and solid and handsome. I also think Luke can be considered a Marian name, since his gospel is the most Marian — it contains the Annunciation and Visitation and Our Lady’s Magnificat — so it’s an easy way to work a Marian name in for their son.

And those are my ideas for Nikki’s little boy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Sonja, Zoie, and Viola?

Merry Christmas!

All you all ready for Christmas?! We’re getting there!

I just wanted to let you know that if you were expecting your Black Friday consultation before Christmas, check your email! Please let me know if you don’t have an email and expected one!

I also wanted to leave this list of my past Christmas-y name posts in case you’re expecting a little one in the next two weeks!

Names for a Christmas Baby here on the blog

Names for an Advent Baby at CatholicMom

Holy Family Names for Christmastime Babies at CatholicMom

Names for a Yuletide Babe: The O Antiphons at Nameberry

And this tag for “Christmas names” here on the blog, which brings up birth announcements and name spotlights for names that I think can be Christmas-y.

I’m signing off until Tuesday, when I’ll post my weekly consultation (a day late, because of Christmas being on Monday). I hope you all have a wonderfully merry and blessed Christmas!! ❤

 

 

Birth announcement: Marigold Thérèse!

Our dear reader Grace, for whom I posted a prayer-intention post a month ago as she was enduring a difficult end to her pregnancy, has had her fifth baby — a beautiful little girl with the gorgeous name … Marigold Thérèse!

Grace writes,

Our baby girl Marigold Thérèse was born on November 27. Baby turned head down just in time for my induction and we were able to have a successful VBAC and entirely avoid anesthesia, which was my big concern with having another c-section (I had a serious reaction to the anesthesia with my last c-section). Thank you to all your readers who prayed for us during the week before her birth! We had so many people praying for us over the 9 weeks that I was on bedrest and also right before her birth, and those prayers were deeply felt and appreciated!

Now onto her naming story! When you posted my make-believe consultation, long before I was pregnant, I mentioned that our last baby (now 4 1/2 years old) was to be named Iris Maria Thérèse had he been a girl, and that I thought we’d keep that name if we ever did have another girl. (I also mentioned that I was very set on the name Xavier for a middle name if we had another boy, and the doctor who ended up delivering Marigold was named Javier, which I think is a cool connection.)

Shortly before I found out I was pregnant last March, I had started to have second thoughts about the name Iris. I still really love it, but I don’t care for the initial “I” with our surname, and ultimately felt like, as much as I love the name, it just wasn’t the right choice for us. I also started to think a lot about the name Marigold during that time. It has been one of my two favorite Marian names for years (the other is Maria), and with the floral element and a more English feel than Maria, I started to think it would be a great replacement for Iris. Soon after this, I learned I was pregnant, a miracle after several years of trying, so much prayer (so many St. Thérèse and St. Gerard and St. Andrew Christmas novenas and Our Lady’s Impossible novenas…), and some help from a wonderful Catholic NaPro physician.

I was pretty certain that I had been “led” to the name Marigold during that time, and although my husband was at first a little hesitant to change direction from Iris, he quickly came on board. The middle name would, of course, be Thérèse. St. Thérèse has been a companion and friend to me for years and I really wanted to honor her by using her name.

In May, I had some genetic testing done for the pregnancy (because I’m old😬), which allowed us to find out the sex of the baby. During the time we were awaiting those results, the beloved grandmother of one of my dear friends died. Her name was Marilynn, and as my friend shared stories about her grandmother in the days and weeks that followed her death, I felt a strong sense of connection to her, though I had never met her, and I started to feel even more strongly that the name Marigold was the right choice for our baby (if it was a girl). I felt that I wanted to honor my friend’s grandmother through her name, as well, because I had been so moved by the stories my friend had been sharing. When we got the results of the genetic testing in June and learned that we were expecting a healthy baby girl, I let my friend know that we had chosen the name Marigold and that what she had shared about her grandmother in the previous weeks had confirmed the choice. She told me then that her grandmother had the habit of saving marigold seeds every fall to plant in the spring and that this was a special memory shared by her grandchildren. I’d had no idea there was a connection to marigold flowers, only the similarity of the name Marilynn to Marigold. This was so moving to me and really confirmed that this name was in some way “meant” for this baby.

The final two connections for the name Marigold came from you, Kate, in discussing how marigold flowers can represent the crown of Our Lady (we have selected the Queenship of Mary to be Marigold’s feast day — with a Marian name, there are many choices and the marigold flower/crown connection seemed a good one), as well as the fact that this year was the centennial of Our Lady of Fatima, who is portrayed wearing a golden crown. It’s very exciting to have a Marian-named baby during the centennial year for one of her major titles!

I will also add that I really wanted to do a double middle name for this baby because it seems to be fairly popular in the U.K. (according to the Baby Names of Britain site), and I’m a pretty obsessive Anglophile. One of your readers suggested the name Rosamund as an alternative to one of my old favorites, Rosalind, in a comment on my consultation. Rosamund means “rose of the world” and quickly surpassed Rosalind on my list of favorites. My husband and I went back and forth on adding the second middle name literally up to the evening I was filling out the birth certificate information in the hospital. Ultimately we decided against it, mainly because for it to flow well, it seemed Rosamund would have to come before Thérèse, and I really wanted to honor St. Thérèse in the #1 middle name spot. I’m glad now that we didn’t give her too big a mouthful of a name because she’s such a tiny little thing, though I’ll admit to having the tiniest bit of regret about not getting to do a double middle name on what I expect is my last baby to name.

I am so excited that this lovely little lady has joined our family, and also that we were able to use a name that is both meaningful and also matches our daughter Fiona’s name well in terms of “sparkle”. I feel that the addition of Marigold to our set balances it and also helps solidify the theme of their names (at least in my view).”

I love this explanation so much! I just love it when there are layers of meaning, and you know how I am about Marian names!! All the heart eyes!! Marigold Thérèse is such a perfect combination for this family!

And thank you all for your prayers for Grace! I’m so glad we can ask each other to pray!

Marigold joins her big sisters and brothers:

Elisabeth Grace
James Julian
Fiona Catherine
John Peter

I love them all together — amazing names, all!

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

Grace had professional photos taken of her children after Marigold’s birth by Alzbeta Volk — I know you’ll want to check out her web site after seeing these beautiful photos! The print of the M and the T with Our Lady of Fatima surrounded by marigolds and St. Thérèse surrounded by roses was done by Studio Senn and given as a gift for Grace and Marigold by a friend (I did a giveaway of one of the amazing Studio Senn prints last spring).

Marigold Thérèse and her big siblings and Studio Senn print of her initials and patrons ❤

Baby name consultation: Help needed to continue the French+family theme

Lisa and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — and second boy! Little Mister joins big sibs:

Eliette Clare nn Elie or E Clare (“after my French maternal grandmother Eliette, and Clare because my husband proposed on St. Clare’s feast day“)

Margot Kateri nn Maggie (“after my husband’s paternal grandmother and St. Kateri“)

Quentin Louis nn Q (“for the “fifth” member of our family, and Louis for my husband’s maternal grandfather and St. Louis de Monfort“)

I LOVE THESE NAMES! How pretty is Eliette?? The boy name Elliott has been getting some recent play for girls, but Eliette is so lovely and feminine! And the fact that it’s Lisa’s grandmother’s name is amazing! I had to look it up to see what its derivation is, and behindthename has it basically as a feminization of Elijah (which Elliott is derived from as well) — SO cool! Eliette has officially become one of my new favorite names!

Margot Kateri and Quentin Louis are also both amazing! Lisa and her hubby did an amazing job!

Lisa writes,

We’ve tried to include names honoring our family and/or saints. We tend towards a French theme (my French grandmother was the matriarch of my maternal family until her passing). We also like unique names, and with this one, I’m all about fun nicknames. But, with this babe, we’ve struggled finding a name that grabs us. We were trying to find a family name on my dad’s side, but there aren’t any that we like. We’re at such a loss for a name this time, we’re willing to break from our French/family theme.”

Names they’re considering for this baby include:

Oscar (“hat tip to Bl. Oscar Romero”)
Samuel
Simeon
Henry
Milo (“likely as a middle name; I adore this name, after seeing one of your consultations, plus it was the name of one of my husband’s favorite bands. The huz isn’t sure we can pull it off as a first name“)
Xavier
Sebastian (“as a middle name, it sounds too heavy as a first name with our last name“)
Becket (“as a middle name, too similar to Bennett [see below] for a first name“)

Names that they can’t use include:

Bennett
Lucas
Anthony
Alexander
Declan
Paul
John
Phillip
Christopher
Dennis
Max
Wendell
Brannon
Isaac
Charles
Jude
Matthew
Raymond
Richard

And names they don’t like or don’t agree on include:

Bruno (“husband likes, but I don’t“)
Bernard (“husband likes, but I don’t“)
Dominic (“I like but my husband doesn’t“)
Jasper (“I like but my husband doesn’t“)
James, Gregory, Gilbert (“my paternal family names, but we’re not fans“)
Ian
Brian/Ryan
Stephen
Blaise
Francis
Martin
Peter
Thomas
Edward
Oliver
Daniel
David
Jack

Alrighty, so not only do I love all the names they’ve given to their older kiddos, but I love all the names on their list too. Oscar, Samuel, Simeon, Henry, Milo, Xavier, Sebastian, and Becket have each been on my own list at one time or another. I’m surprised that Lisa’s husband isn’t sure they can pull off Milo as a first name? I’m trying to figure out why, and I can’t! It’s been in the top 1000 almost every year since 1900, and is currently at no. 248 — a really great place to be in that it’s familiar but not overly common. Even then, it’s currently more popular than all of their other kiddos’ names: Eliette has never been in the top 1000, Margot is no. 433, and Quentin is no. 486. Popularity-wise, Milo is one of the best fits of all those on their list. Henry, Samuel, and Sebastian are top 25 names (though I think Sebastian specifically — maybe with the French spelling Sebastien? — would be great for them). Oscar’s a bit more popular than Milo, Xavier’s top 100, and Simeon and Becket aren’t in the top 1000. Not that any of this matters — if they like/don’t like a name, then they like/don’t like a name — but I often find it’s helpful to see where in the U.S. naming landscape the names parents are considering land, and also how they match up to the names they’ve already chosen.

Also, you all know that I always use the Baby Name Wizard when doing consultations as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity; for Lisa and her hubs I also used the Name Matchmaker, and interestingly, Milo kept showing up as a style match for them! Not that I’m pushing Milo on them at all, I just want to reassure them that, as far as I can see, there isn’t any reason they can’t pull it off.

I was interested by their list of names they don’t like or don’t agree on —
Dominic and Blaise specifically were names I had on my final list of suggestions for them until I double checked it against Lisa’s email. Dominic because it’s a style match for them per my research and because they could use the nickname Nico, which I thought might fit their openness to fun nicknames for this baby; Blaise because it’s also a match for their style and it’s specifically French. But again, if Lisa and/or her husband don’t like them, they don’t like them! I was surprised by Bruno and Bernard on Mister’s list — those are some pretty old school names! I did try to take that sensibility into account when coming up with ideas, as well as Lisa’s taste of course.

I’m also sorry that their family names are problematic for them! Of James, Gregory, and Gilbert, I think James is the easiest one to figure out an acceptable way to use. Jacob is the Hebrew variant of James, and names like Jacoby and Jacobson could also be cool ways to work that in in a way they might like. Diego is a Spanish form of James, which actually showed up a lot in my research! I could see it being too much for a first name, but maybe as a middle? Jameson/Jamison, Jamie, Iago, and Seamus are all James variants as well, but I thought for Lisa and Paul the French variant would be best: Jacques. You can say it like ZHOCK, which is the authentic French pronunciation, but I’ve seen it said like JACKS and JAKES by Americans who have it as a surname. I probably wouldn’t recommend Jacques as a first name to them, but putting it in the middle would satisfy their desire for family + French names, and might hopefully also circumvent whatever it is about James that they don’t care for.

The only suggestion I have for Gregory is Gregor, which isn’t that different but is maybe different enough? (If they thought they might have more children in the future, Greer is a feminine variant of Gregory that I love, that I could see fitting in with their kiddos’ names!) And re: Gilbert, I love the nickname Gil, and I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time over the years figuring out ways (besides Gilbert) of getting to Gil. If Lisa and her hubs like that idea (they seem to be open to crazy suggestions, which is fun for me!), my two main ideas are Gabriel with the nickname Gil, and Gideon + a middle name with a heavy L sound to lead to the nickname Gil. (Gilead also works, but I’m not sure that’s their style.) Both Gabriel and Gideon showed up in my research as matches for this family, but not as much as the names I’ve included on my final list below, so I’m happy to mention them here as possibilities. I especially like Gideon for them — maybe Gideon Samuel would make sense of Gil as a nickname? I like Milo too much as a first name idea for them to suggest Gideon Milo, though that could work too. Gideon Luke? Gideon Leo? This is assuming of course that the nickname Gil would be sufficient as a nod to their family member Gilbert …

Alright, based on all my research and my own namey mind, these are my ideas for Lisa and her hubs’ little guy:

(1) Tristan
I love Tristan for them! It’s actually an Old French name, and when I saw it in my research for them, I knew I had to include it. I’ve actually been loving it recently as a nod to Our Lady of Sorrows, since Tristan has a connection to the Latin for “sad.” That might not sound like a great meaning for a little guy, but Dolores is from the Spanish for Our Lady of Sorrows, so the idea is quite traditional. And Tristan is just such a cool name! I was trying to think of cool nicknames for it (Tris isn’t great, since there’s that girl character in Divergent named Beatrice/Tris), and I just recently got an email from a mama who wanted to share with me that one of her favorite names, which had been vetoed by her husband, was Tristan Peter, and that she’d intended the nickname Tripp! She loved it so much that she wanted me to know about it specifically so I could pass it on to any other family that might love the idea. So funny that I was in the middle of working on this for Lisa and already had Tristan on my list! Tripp is often used as a nickname for a Third (James III, that kind of thing), and I know another Third who has only ever been known as Tripper, which is also super cute. Since Lisa and her hubs used Quentin for the “fifth” member of their family, I thought they could think of Trip(per) as perfect for the “third” boy in their family! (Husband, Quentin, and new baby.) Any middle name with a strong P could work: Tristan Patrick, Tristan Jasper, Tristan Rupert.

(2) Tobias
Continuing with the T names, I really like Tobias for them as well. It doesn’t seem to have much French usage unfortunately, according to behindthename, but it was a style match for them nonetheless. I love that it comes from the book of Tobit in the bible, which isn’t included in Protestant bibles, so it has a little extra Catholic cred I think.

(3) Porter
Porter’s a name that I’ve never given much thought to until recently — our newly blessed Solanus Casey was a porter (the doorman at his monastery), and I suggested it here as a possibility for honoring him, so when I saw it in my research as a style match for this family, I was happy to include it! I looked it up on behindthename.com to find out more about it, and get this: it’s “ultimately from Old French porte ‘door’”!

(4) Roman, Remy
I love the name Roman, and I love it for this family. The French variant Romain is cool too, if they prefer. Cate Blanchett has a Roman, and so does blogger Kate Rhodes, both of whom are great examples of great naming. Roman also made me think of the name/nickname Remy, which I thought could be great for them too. Remy is a great French name! Such a cool name for a little guy! It’s a variant of Remigius, which is the name of several saints. One caveat is that I’ve seen some girls named Remy, but the Social Security stats show it’s almost twice as popular for boys as it is for girls.

remy

I recommended it to this family, who seems like they might have some overlap with Lisa and her hubs style-wise, and this family has a Remy, and Lisa might also like their style.

(5) Damien
Damian and Damien are both good matches for this family, but I love the French Damien for them, and also because it’s the spelling of St. Damien of Molokai, who’s awesome.

(6) Felix
Felix is a cool, saintly name that’s been getting increased usage among Catholic families recently (here and here, for two examples), and it’s a French name! I love the story of Felix and Elisabeth Leseur, and there are a bunch of Sts. Felix, including popes!

(7) Rocco
Finally, Rocco is a great connection between Lisa’s husband’s Bruno and Lisa’s Dominic, as it’s a style match for them both. There’s a St. Rocco who was a Frenchman — he’s also known as Roch and Rock — so that provides a cool connection for them and some fun nicknames.

And those are all my ideas for Lisa and her husband! What do all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Eliette, Margot, and Quentin?

Birth announcement: Matthias Victor

I did a spotlight on Matthias back in the spring for a reader who’d requested it, and lo and behold the reader has let me know that she’s given birth to a little boy and given him the fantastic combo … Matthias Victor!

Laura writes,

I just wanted to let you know I had my baby about a month ago. Thanks again for doing the Matthias name spotlight. We did in fact name him Matthias … Matthias Victor. He is a very sweet baby and we are all doing well.”

When I asked her if I could post a birth announcement, she provided this additional information:

My children’s names are as follows:

Jude Thaddeus
Augustine Thomas (nn Augie)
Matthias Victor

Andrew and I have dubbed our naming-style as “old school Catholic”. We love the meanings behind our children’s names as we feel they proclaim that this child belongs in our family. So far, with each of our boys, we have been able to honor a family patriarch and an apostle. This pattern might be hard to maintain in the future if we keep having boys, but it has worked for us so far.

Jude Thaddeus – My husband, Andrew Thad, was named after his grandfather Thaddeus. We like that Jude is named after the apostle, but also after his father and great-grandfather. We don’t know any other Jude’s in our circle, but we definitely feel the name is due for a comeback.

Augustine Thomas – Our second boy was named after my grandfather August who went by Augie. We modified it to Augustine to honor St. Augustine of Hippo and we chose Thomas after the apostle. We also love that Augie’s initials match my husband’s initials. Like Jude, Augie is named both after his father, an apostle, and a great-grandfather.

Matthias Victor – We chose Matthias (pronounced ma-THIGH-us) because we simply loved this apostolic name, but as it happens, it was first brought to my notice because “Mathias” is an ancestral name on my side. We ultimately chose to spell his name with two t’s as we felt this was the more common spelling that is seen in terms of our Catholic faith. Victor was chosen to honor my grandfather, Victor, but it is also my father’s middle name and the first name of my brother, who is both a priest and this child’s godfather. His two names together mean, “a gift from our victorious Lord”.

Since this is a name blog, we have silly pet names for our boys too. We often refer to Jude as Juderbug, Augie as Aug-Dog or Augie Doggie, and Matthias has recently been dubbed MaTiger.”

I love all this! What a great set of brothers! I love the reasoning behind all of the names as well, and also Laura’s articulation of their style as “old school Catholic” — right up my alley!

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

 

Matthias Victor and his big brothers

Birth announcement: Lewis Maron Job!

Our dear reader eclare, aka Emma, for whom I had the privilege of posting a birth announcement for her fifth baby and fifth boy almost two years ago, has had her sixth baby — her sixth boy! She and her husband have given him the amazing and meaningful name … Lewis Maron Job!

Happily, Emma provided lots of details about his naming!

Lewis: both our childhoods were defined by C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, our adolescences enlightened by his Screwtape Letters, and our adult faith refined by Lewis’ many works of nonfiction. The name Lewis also is tied to our Arthur’s patrons (Blsd. Arthur Bell and St Edmund Campion) by a 3rd hunted priest of the Reformation: St. David Lewis, a Catholic priest who was martyred for the “crime” of offering Holy Mass in England in the 1600s. Lewis is also a distant family name on both sides. And St. Louis Martin, the first married saint to be canonized alongside his wife, is another patron through the French spelling of the same name.
http://lastwelshmartyr.blogspot.com/2009/10/family-of-st-david-lewis.html
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lewis_(Jesuit)

Maron: a holy hermit in Syria in the 400s, namesake of the Maronite Catholic Church. St. Maron lived in the open air, exposed to all the elements until his death at a very old age. His faith in the Lord and his dwelling in the Spirit sustained him, beyond physical explanation. Our spiritual director and his monks — near whom we plan to move and raise our sons — are Maronites, as are Lewis’ godparents.
http://www.holy-transfiguration.org/library_en/saints_much.html
http://www.itmonline.org/bodytheology/stmaron.html

Job: our devotion to St. Job, the Much-Suffering, has been strong these past two years of many difficulties. Throughout our months without water which resulted in the deaths of many of our animals and plants (adjacent property owners challenged our water rights), to a flood/mudslide that ruined our fences and pastures, another flood that saturated the interior of our house, dozens of mudslides that closed our road for up to 3 weeks at a time, 20 months of essential unemployment, a 1st trimester that coincided with Don’s police academy, 3 blown car engines, and so on, we looked to the unfailing faith-while-suffering of St. Job as our model. http://otftd.blogspot.com/2013/05/righteous-job-model-of-long-suffering.html

I’ve loved the name Lewis for awhile now, for all the reasons listed, but it took me some time to find a patron. Once I found St David Lewis and his story, we were both sold. We’ve had Lewis Maron picked out for #6 since #5 was born (then the “Job” addition came to us this Fall). The same thing happened with our Arthur and Reuben: loved the name, then found the patron. It feels a little backwards, but I like to think of it as the Saint finding *us* through our love of the name. ❤️

A second weird name-y confession: I’ve always disliked the name Louis, and I still do!! Isn’t that so weird? But Lewis is completely different to me. So balanced, with the consonants in the front, middle, and end, and no danger of being a “Louie.” Even Lew is different from Lou — so literary and all. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Lastly, I had some misgivings about using Lewis because it is very much a place-name where we live. It’s near the end of the Lewis & Clark Expedition/Oregon Trail and every hill, dale, and puddle is Lewis-something. In the end I decided to own it, since it makes this spelling more familiar to everyone. Plus, it’s kind of cool to see his name wherever we go!

Isn’t this all so great?? Emma has such great taste in names, I’m not at all surprised that her little guy was given such a handsome and unexpected combination. And I love all her additional thoughts — her “weird name-y confession” of disliking Louis but loving Lewis, having Saints find us through the love of certain names (I so agree!), and just owning a potentially difficult characteristic of a name — such great stuff!

Congratulations to Emma and her husband and the five big brothers, and happy birthday Baby Lewis!!

IMG_7810

Lewis Maron Job

Baby name consultation: A sister for Lois

Kristin and her husband are expecting their second baby — a second girl! She joins big sister:

Lois Ann

Lois! Very cool, and very unusual! There were only 118 baby girls named Lois in 2016, and it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1983. It’s so hard to find a name that’s familiar yet unusual, but they did it! Nice job! I love this bit in its entry in the Baby Name Wizard too:

“… think of Lois as a trim little biblical classic that hasn’t been heard in years. Or fire up your competitive spirit: British parents have already rediscovered this name. Do you want to fall behind?

Haha!

Kristin writes,

These are the names we are considering:

Petra
Maris/Stella/Stellamaris
Marian
Isla
Eva
​Evelyn
Alice
Cecilia
Clara
Eliza
Juliet

I love the names Helen/Helena but my husband has vetoed those. I tend to like classic, yet not too common names, but not too out there. Petra is on our list, but that’s probably as ‘out there’ as we’d go. I’d love for this baby to have a Marian first or middle name. We’re new Catholics and haven’t developed strong devotions to any particular saints yet, but I would love a saint name whether it’s Marian or not. I’ve considered Josephine since my due date is the feast day of St. Joseph, but I’m not crazy about that name. It would be neat to honor St. Joseph in some other way though if possible.”

Due on the feast of St. Joseph!! So great!!

I really enjoyed working on this, as I was able to delve into names that I hardly ever come across otherwise!

I was so surprised that Kristin said Petra is as “out there” as they’d go — according to my research in the Baby Name Wizard (which, as you all know, I always start a consultation with, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), it’s exactly this family’s style! It shares a bunch of style matches with both Lois and Marian. I love it for them!

Of the other names Kristin and her hubs are considering, I see a few styles emerging. There are the Lois-like names — those that are sort of “retro chic” and still relatively unusual: Petra, Maris, Marian.

Then there are the up-and-comers — the ones that have that vintage feel and have already started to come back, or are already totally back: Stella, Eva, Evelyn, Alice, Clara, Cecilia, Eliza.

And then the “miscellaneous”: Stellamaris, which is gorgeous but doesn’t feel like any style beyond Catholicky Catholic to me (which of course I love); Isla, which is currently popular and rising fast (no. 126 in 2016 after entering the top 1000 in 2008); and Juliet, which has a slightly offbeat character — romantic, feminine, not-quite-vintage in the sense that it hovered between 500 and 1000 for all of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first and is currently at its height of popularity after a slow rise that seems to have plateaued (no. 228 in 2016).

Of those styles, I think the retro chic and up-and-comers are the best fit with sister Lois (especially the retro chic names). Even though I love the names Stellamaris, Isla, and Juliet, they have such a different feel to me than Lois that I would worry that the sisters would come across as “unbalanced” almost, if that makes sense. Certainly, it doesn’t matter what other people think, but I’m sure Kristin and her hubs wouldn’t want their girls to feel like one of them got the “better” name or the “cooler” name or the “more interesting” name, you know? Or, I could be totally wrong! I hope Kristin totally disregards what I’m saying if she disagrees!

I love that they’re new Catholics too! I know you all join me in welcoming them to the Church!! ❤ Being that their due date is the feast of St. Joseph (!!), I love that they’ve considered Josephine! It’s actually a style match for Cecilia and Helena, so it seems like a name they would like, but if they don’t like it, they don’t like it! Another option would be Josefa, which is actually a style match for Petra. I knew a girl in college named Josefa so the name has all good connotations for me. There are some other names derived from Joseph as well, like Josephina, Josée, and Josette. Or perhaps they could consider any Jo- name as a nod to St. Joseph, like Joanna or Joleen. Or maybe they could focus on the fact that some translations of the Bible call him a “just man” (“righteous” in other translations; see Matthew 1:19), so maybe they could consider Justine or Justina in his honor.

So I think they have some real winners on their current list, but of course I can always come up with more! Based on my research in the BNW and also some that I did using the Name Matchmaker, here are some additional ideas that I think Kristin and her Mister might like:

(1) Margery or Marjorie
Marjorie is a style match for Lois, and Margery for Marian, so I thought this was a great idea for them! Margery is an old form of Margaret, and Marjorie is a medieval variant of Margery, so they both point to any of the Sts. Margaret — there are a bunch of great ones! St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and St. Margaret of Scotland are personal favorites of mine (also St. Rita, whose real name was Margherita — an Italian Margaret variant); you can read about loads more here.

(2) Sylvia
I see Sylvie occasionally from parents, but I think the older-feeling Sylvia is closer to their style — and the BNW agrees, as Sylvia’s listed as a match for Marian and Stella. There are a couple of saints with this name (listed with the Silvia spelling), including the mother of Pope St. Gregory the Great!

(3) Vivian
Vivian is currently at the most popular it’s been since the 1930s (it was no. 95 in 2016), but it actually peaked in the early 1920s — less than ten years before Lois’ peak — so I feel like they’re well matched from that perspective. Sisters Lois and Vivian have a starlet feel to them I think, and Vivian’s also a match for Marian and Evelyn from Kristin’s list. There are a few saints with this name (though they’re all male!).

(4) Daphne
I was surprised to see Daphne listed as a style match for both Juliet and Helena! It’s got the lovely meaning of “laurel,” and though it’s not a saint’s name as far as I can tell, a saintly middle name would be perfect with it (maybe something like Daphne Josephine/Justine? Daphne Marian or Daphne Maria?).

(5) Loretta
Loretta showed up in the list of names the Name Matchmaker offered as matches for Lois. I don’t mind that they both start with L at all — in fact, I think Lois and Loretta sound great! Like with Vivian above, I feel like Loretta has that starlet feel, and the best part is that it’s Marian! The Litany of Loreto is a listing of titles for Our Lady, and Loreto is the name of a town in Italy where the home of Our Lady — where the Annunciation took place — was miraculously moved to from Nazareth. And yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Loreto! My grandmother’s name was Loretta, and she often went by Rett — I really love the idea of Lois and Rett!

(6) Ruth, Rita, Rhea, Ruby, Regina
Speaking of sweet, four-letter R names, each of these showed up in my research as style matches for various names on Kristin’s list. I love them all! Ruth is biblical like Lois and is a style match for Helen; Rita has a bit of that starlet feel (and St. Rita!) and was a match for Lois; Rhea is a match for Petra and Marian; and Ruby is a match for Stella, and I did a spotlight of its faith connections here.

I didn’t see Regina in any of my research, but these R names had me thinking about this family, whose daughters all go by their middle names, all of which start with R or the R sound, and the older four’s middle names all have four letters (including Ruth and Rhea!), and then their sweet (Therese) Regina was born (she is one of the highlights of my IG feed!) — I like Regina a lot for this family! It’s got a more recent peak than Lois — 1967 — but I don’t know, I’m just feeling like Lois and Regina go together well. Do you agree? And it’s Marian!

(7) Edith
I’m so excited that Edith seems like a name Kristin and her hubs might like! It’s a match for Alice, Clara, Helen, and Marian, and best of all, it’s the name of an awesome saint, St. Edith Stein! She was a convert from Judaism who became a Carmelite Sister (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), and was killed by the Nazis. An awesome patron for a little girl!

There were some other names that showed up in my research for this family but didn’t make the final cut for various reasons, but I thought I’d share them here just in case they’re helpful/inspiring: Lucy, Lydia, Esther, June, Willa, Avis, Gloria, and Anita (I thought Anita was so perfect! Except it’s a variant of Ann, which is Lois’ middle name).

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Lois’ little sister, taking into account the “classic, yet not too common” + saintly and/or Marian criteria?