We have some winners!

Rafflecopter has randomly chosen the five winners of the blogiversary giveaway: congratulations Alyssa, Julie, Sarah, Allie, and Emily! I’ve emailed you each!

Thank you all for your ideas about naming a boy after St. Anne! You have to know I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, and you still came up with some ideas I’d never thought of! I love that, and I love all of you!

I’m still in the midst of saying the St. Anne novena for all of you! ❤ Have a wonderful Saturday (day of Our Lady!)!

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It’s my blogiversary! I have some goodies for you!

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Even WordPress is excited for me! 😀

You guys! Four years ago yesterday I posted my very first post! (I actually started writing this post yesterday on the actual day, but then had to make an unexpected run to the dr for an unexpected diagnosis of strep in my 11yo, so here we are! A day late!)

Each year on the anniversary of the beginning of the blog, I’m newly blown away by how amazing this all has been, and especially how amazing you all have been! I’m forever grateful for you and our little community here, and all that God’s allowed through it. Thank you thank you!!

In celebration of my blogiversary and as a thank you to you all, I started a St. Anne novena last night for all of you, with a special mention of those of you who are mothers or who want to be, and those who are hoping for a baby or are suffering from the loss of a baby or from infertility, as well as for all of your children, both living and deceased. St. Anne is the patroness of the blog, and I’ve felt her close by so many times in the last four years. She’s a loving and holy mother and grandmother and a great intercessor!

I’m also doing a giveaway! Yippee!! 😀

I have a few things to give away, so I’m going to pick five (5) winners. The first two will receive:

— A copy of my book (signed or not as you like, and I absolutely won’t be offended if you don’t want them signed!)

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(Best name book you’ll ever own! Just sayin! 😉 )

— This beautiful book of prayers and novenas to St. Annestannebook

— One (1) sheet of these amazing temporary tattoos that have “Be not afraid!” in St. John Paul II’s own handwriting! Each sheet has two (2) tattoos, and they come courtesy of Lindsay at Just Love Prints (she has the coolest things!). Consider the possibilities! Labor and delivery would be a great time to wear one (that’s my plan!), or during finals or job interviews, or medical procedures … these babies could really give you some peace of mind just when you need it! You can put them somewhere discreet, or show them off, whatever you like!

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Image from Lindsay’s Etsy shop

Again, the first two winners will receive the three things listed above: my book, the St. Anne book, and a sheet of temporary tattoos.

I wish I could give you all a copy of my book! But since I only have two to give away, I’m going to choose three (3) additional winners, who will receive the St. Anne prayer book and a sheet of the temporary tattoos.

To enter the giveaway, click here! It’ll direct you to answer today’s burning question: what’s your favorite way to honor St. Anne in a boy’s name? It will be open through tomorrow (Friday) night at midnight eastern, and I’ll announce the winners on Saturday!

Thank you again for all the fun name talk over the last four years, and for how we pray for each other, such a blessing. Happy Thursday! ❤ ❤ ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

Talking naming at Nameberry, and book endorsements

screenshot-06.26.18I have a fun, chatty piece up at Nameberry on naming this baby! Baby Name Challenge: Naming a 7th boy!

Man! It is a challenge! We haven’t made a huge amount of progress since Abby’s consultation for us! I’m 27 weeks today, so we still have time, but I know how fast that time’s going to fly! I think the deadline of, you know, BIRTH will really help us choose … I’ve always worked better with a deadline … I think I’m hung up on trying to find the *perfect* name, which just looks different to my husband than it does to me. It’s not any different than it was with the other boys, but I admit I do feel extra pressure to get it exactly right this time. As if we didn’t the other times! (We did!)

In book news, I wanted to share some of the endorsements it received with you — I think they sell the book as well as or better than I ever could. I’m so grateful for them and humbled by them! Here are the first two pages:

Maker:L,Date:2017-8-19,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

Maker:L,Date:2017-8-19,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

I’ll share the rest of them with you in subsequent posts, a couple pages at a time. If I could also prevail upon any of you who have bought the book to leave a review on Amazon, I would be ever so grateful! Have a great Tuesday!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 

Baby name consultation: Looking for slightly more traditional than they’ve already used, but still uncommon

Hillary and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — a girl! This little lady joins big siblings (who are “ecstatic,” according to Hillary — so cute!):

Gideon Charles (“Gideon was born while [hubby] and I were living and working in Ethiopia as missionaries. Gideon is a popular name in Ethiopia. His middle name, Charles, was [hubby’s] father’s middle name who died just before we married.”)

Chiri Patricia (“Chiri (pronounced Cheery) was named after the town we lived in in Ethiopia. Her middle name, Patricia, is named after my paternal grandmother Patricia who was a wonderfully generous and beautiful person.”)

Jasper Harrison (“Jasper was named after a friend of [hubby’s] in Kenya who was a camel rancher, who died just before Jasper was born. Harrison was my maternal grandfather’s name, and in addition we lived in Harrisonburg, Virginia, at the time, so wanted to honor our town as we did for Chiri.”)

Aren’t these cool names?? I love them all! Not only do I love them just for themselves, but also all the meaning behind each one, such a great job!

Hillary writes,

For our little girl, we may be interested in a slightly more traditional, but still not too common, name. We have taken to calling her ‘Josie” short for Josephine, as we have a special love for St. Joseph, to whom we prayed a novena when we returned from Africa and Jeff was job hunting. St. Joseph has cared for our family in many ways. I am not crazy about another JJ name, however, as [their last name begins with J and Dad and Jasper’s names both begin with J], Josie J___ might be too much!

Jeff really likes Polly (Polly is a paternal aunt of mine) but I worry it will bring parrots to mind.

My middle name is Jane, and there are many generations of women before me on my father’s side with the middle name Jane, so that is a good possibility. Jane J___ is fraught with alliteration concerns, however! [Not only do they both begin with J, but Jane sounds quite similar to their last name.]

Some other names we have talked about: Grace, Susanna, Heidi, Marian, Polly; we also like the names Fern and Daisy

Other names with significant relatives in our family: Meredith, Ann, Dorothy, Joyce, Sandra, Elizabeth, Jennifer

I loved working on this! So many wonderful names! My first thought when reading Hillary’s email was to tackle the issue of Josie. I love that they’re already calling the baby Josie, and I love that it’s because of their love for St. Joseph and his care for their family! I had two idea of ways to work with this, if they were open to keeping St. Joseph in the baby’s name in some form (given name or nickname):

  • Since they’re already calling the baby Josie, I wondered if I could find names that Josie could possibly be a nickname for that don’t start with J. I know that doesn’t solve the Josie J___ dilemma, but it might help soften it. I searched for girl names that include “jo” somewhere in them on babynamewizard.com’s Name Finder, and was intrigued by Marjory/Marjorie and Marjolaine/Marjolein. I liked that Marjory/Marjorie is more of a “more traditional, but still not too common” kind of name, as Hillary mentioned they might prefer this time. It’s a variant of Margaret via Margaret’s medieval variant Margery, which was actually a style match for Marian from their list when I did research for this family in the Baby Name Wizard! (You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the BNW as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity.) Marjolaine/Marjolein are variants of “marjoram” (the herb), kind of a cool way to work in a flower-type/nature name without being too obvious. With Marjorie/Marjory/Marjolaine/Marjolein, they might like to pair it with an S-heavy middle name, to make sense of Josie as a nickname — Sandra from their list of family names might do perfectly!
  • If they didn’t like the idea of Josie being a non-conventional nickname for a different name as mentioned above, maybe they’d prefer to consider Josephine as a given name with a different nickname? Posie/Pos(e)y has traditional usage as a Josephine nickname, which is so sweet, and I’ve often thought Sophie could work as well, since all its letters are contained within Josephine.
  • Then I thought that Hillary and her hubs might like Posie/Pos(e)y as a given name on its own! It’s similar to Polly (in that Polly was a nickname in origin — a nickname for Mary) and rhymes with the Josie they’ve already been using; it’s a nickname for Josephine so the connection to St. Joseph is solid; and it doesn’t begin with J! Posie J___ is absolutely darling.

As for the other names they’re considering:

  • Polly is sweet! I can’t imagine the parrot connection being really problematic — I grew up with a Polly, and I don’t remember it ever being an issue with her, and names like Polly (sweet and vintage-y) are definitely back in style (though Polly itself hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 70’s). I wonder if they’ve considered Molly? Molly and Polly are both originally nicknames for Mary, arising about the same time, and Molly avoids the parrot association altogether.
  • If Jane is the middle name, which is an idea I love, I don’t think the alliteration is that big a deal — so few people know a person’s middle name as they go through life, you know? It’s not like they’d be saying her full name every time. And the middle spot is often where people put names that they want to use, or feel obligated to use, that don’t work as first names or that they don’t care for style-wise but want to fit in there anyway. Another possibility is to use a Jane variant — it won’t be quite as great as having Hillary’s exact middle name and that of her ancestors, but it could be pretty great nonetheless. If the long A of Jane and the surname is particularly problematic, maybe even switching to Joan or Jean would suffice? Otherwise, there are so many great options: Jane is a John variant, so any of the feminine John variants would work, like Gianna and Joanna, Hanne/Hanna, Yana and Siobhan. Another possibility is Ione, as some sites that argue that Ione is a feminine form of John. Nameberry says, “Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana” and apparently there are several places in literature (like Shakespeare!) where Ione was used interchangeably with Joan — so cool, right?
  • Grace: Lovely, simple and sweet.
  • Susanna: The girl name we’ve hung on to through all our six boys! I love it, such a great name.
  • Heidi: Another that I would classify as simple and sweet, like Polly and Grace.
  • Marian: Marian always strikes me as one of the stronger Mary names, probably because of Maid Marian — I love that association!
  • Fern and Daisy: Fantastic names!
  • Regarding their family names, I assumed Hillary and her hubs would probably pull from them for the middle name, and didn’t consider them as first-name contenders, I hope that’s correct!

Alrighty, so I already mentioned that I always do research in the Baby Name Wizard, and really enjoyed seeing what the results of it were for this family — I love seeing names emerge as matches for parents’ overall style. I also plugged Gideon, Jasper, Polly, Heidi, and Fern into the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com (it only lets you do three names at a time, so I tried to choose the girl names that I thought would give me the best results; I searched Gideon, Jasper, and Polly first; Gideon, Jasper, and Heidi second; and Heidi, Polly, and Fern third), which revealed some additional ideas. Based on all that, these are my suggestions:

(1) Naomi
The style matches for Gideon were really exciting to me, I felt like they nailed what I perceive to be Hillary and her hubs’ style pretty well. Naomi was one of them, and I love that Naomi is, in my mind, exactly the kind of name they’d be looking for with “slightly more traditional, but still not too common.” Although … when I looked it up I discovered it was actually no. 69 in 2017, which I’m so surprised by! But I still love it for this family, and I think it also matches up really well with the feel of Susanna (especially spelled Susannah).

(2) Lydia
If sisters are going to have names that seem different in style, I like for there to be some other thread that links them together. When I saw Lydia as a match for Gideon, Grace, and Susanna, I thought it might be perfect because, like Chiri, it’s a place name — the Lydia in the bible was so named because she was from Lydia.

(3) Eden
This, too, was influenced by Chiri’s name, as well as by the fact that it’s a match for Gideon — Eden is a place name, of course, and I think it goes really well with the other kiddos’ names. It was no. 139 in 2017, so I don’t think it’s too unusual (but not too common either). I also looove the nickname Edie!

(4) Mercy
As I said, I really felt like the style matches for Gideon were such great suggestions for this family, and Mercy was another one! Like Grace it’s a virtue-type name, and I saw quite a bit of it (and other names with the same meaning) during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I did think that it could also work as a nickname for Meredith, if Hillary liked the idea of using her family name Meredith as a first name … Meredith Joyce would even bring in the “cy” to add to the “Mer” of Meredith, making it all very pleasing!

(5) Violet, Rose, Lily, Poppy
None of these except for Poppy are unusual, being nos. 48, 141, and 33 for the first three in 2017 (though Rose’s no. 141 is pretty great!), and Poppy was no. 689 — a top 1000 name! I’m so surprised by that as well! They were all matches for this family’s style: Violet for Gideon, Jasper, and Daisy; Rose for Jane and Daisy, and Rosie for Polly; Lily for Grace; and Poppy for Polly and Daisy! And of course I mentioned Posie/Posey and Marjolaine/Marjolein above, which are floral (ish) as well. So I thought it made sense to offer a, ahem, bouquet of choices for Hillary and her hubs! Haha! And actually, Susanna means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew! I’m not sure how that ties in, but it’s too cool not to mention.

(6) Adelaide
This was one of the results of the search on the Name Matchmaker, and it caught my eye because it’s a place name like Chiri and it’s also a variant of Heidi! At no. 276, it’s a nice option for familiar but not too common.

(7) Felicity
My last idea for this family is Felicity, which, like Adelaide, was another of the results on the Name Matchmaker. It’s no. 347 and very much like Adelaide in terms of being familiar but not too common. I also like that its meaning is “happiness,” which is a great meaning for a baby whose siblings are “ecstatic” about her arrival! I also like that Chiri is pronounced like Cheery, which gives it a really happy, sunny feel to me, so that could be a subtle tie-in between the two girls’ names. I also recently did a post on “meaning” nicknames, and one of the ones I’d seen suggested elsewhere was Bliss for Felicity, because of Felicity’s meaning — sisters Chiri and Felicity nicknamed Bliss might be taking the happy connection too far, but on the other hand … it could be perfect! If they like the idea of Felicity, but would prefer more nickname options, I did a spotlight of the name here. One of the ideas is Lily, which is a nice connection to the floral names I suggested above; another is Liddy, which is like Lydia.

And those are my ideas for Hillary and her hubs’ new baby girl! ! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Gideon, Chiri, and Jasper?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

New post up at CatholicMom!

My June column at CatholicMom.com is something a little different! Innovative Volunteering at Catholic Schools

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I know it’s not name-related, but if you wanted to share your own ideas or experiences with supporting your Catholic schools in unexpected ways, I’d love to hear them!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

Birth announcement: James Jeffrey!

I posted a consultation for Theresa back in February, and she’s let me know her baby boy has arrived and been giving the handsome name … James Jeffrey!

Theresa writes,

Hi there Kate! So we did have our baby boy on his due date May 4, weighing 7 lb and all went well with labor and delivery, I was sort of induced that morning with just a very small amount of pitocin, I say that because I was actually contracting the night before and was dilated to about 5cm by the morning. I loved reading all the comments that were posted on [the consultation] and one of the moms who posted actually picked a name that we did finally name him … James Jeffrey! St. James the lesser feast is May 3 and then funny thing is St. James the greater feast is July 25 my birthday!

we are calling him James for now, I do have some friends and siblings who are calling him JJ too! I didn’t know or realize at the time that I guess the name James is making a comeback and on the list for popular boys names now too!

Thanks again so much, this was really fun!!

I loved reading this!! If you remember, Theresa wasn’t sure of the best way to incorporate her brother’s name, and I love what she ended up with! And congratulations to L, who suggested the winning combo!

Congratulations to Theresa and her hubs and big sibs Mary, John, Lucy, and Joseph, and happy birthday sweet Baby James!!

James Jeffrey (he was born on May 4th! May the 4th be with you! 😀 )

Please pray for the family of Zita Marie-Catherine <3

A mama that I’d emailed with regarding the name for her baby girl, due later this summer, has let me know that her baby was stillborn a week ago today.

She writes,

Hi, Kate,

I just wanted to let you know that sadly our sweet Zita was stillborn last Friday, June 8th, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. On Thursday morning I woke up and realized she wasn’t moving. By 9:30 an ultrasound confirmed our worst fears, that her heart had stopped beating. I was 29 weeks. It appears my placenta partially abrupted — enough to cut off her oxygen and nutrient supply. For her middle name we chose Marie-Catherine. Labor took almost 24 hours and she wasn’t born until 7:29 pm on the 8th, so it was also the vigil of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is one of the reasons for Marie. Marie is also my middle name and I wanted to give her a piece of me. We hyphenated the name to make it even more French-like in order to connect her to her sisters who also have French middle names.

I think you’ll appreciate how our naming of Zita really shows how often our children’s names weren’t necessarily chosen by us, but by God. In Italian it means “little girl.” A couple of nights ago I was also reading up on [Bl. Karl and his wife, Servant of God Zita] again and was floored to realize Karl had a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart — so much so he slept with an image of the Sacred Heart under his pillow and on his deathbed he said to Zita: “We will always be together in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Of course this knowledge only made my tears flow again. My husband and I have actually talked about putting this quote on our Zita’s gravestone.

Thank you for all of your suggestions regarding Zita’s name. We know we (or I should say God) has chosen a good one for our precious daughter.”

Please keep Zita’s beautiful family in your prayers as they go through this terribly hard time. Bl. Karl, SOG Zita, Mother Mary, and St. Anne, please pray for them!

Baby Zita with her family ❤ ❤ ❤