I’ve mentioned Danielle Bean before (here and here) — she’s the publisher and editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest (yes, that Catholic Digest), co-host of the Catholic women’s talk show The Gist, author of a bunch of books including, most recently, Momnipotent, a book and parish study “that help women find peace, balance, and joy in their roles as mothers.” She’s also a speaker and writing coach. She’s basically doing it all.
Like last week’s celebrity guest (Rachel Balducci), Danielle’s blog was a highlight of my day when my older boys were small, when motherhood was still new, when I so appreciated chatting with other moms who had more kids than I did and were funny and smart and real about the highs and lows and the eternal meaning of it all … even if that “chatting” took the form of me somewhat obsessively reading their blogs, anxiously awaiting for new posts, taking to heart potty training tips and night-sleeping tips, and referring to them in conversation with my in-real-life friends and family (this internet age is so weird, isn’t it?). (I also secretly wanted Danielle’s house, which was built by her husband [!] and always looked amazing — cozy and sweet — in any pictures she posted. Also, her annual Oktoberfest, with so much amazing food [recipes are still on her blog!].)
Danielle’s youngest (of eight) was born just a month or so after my second, and I was right there with her through her posts on morning sickness (I remember a particularly poignant one on goldfish crackers and chocolate milk — there was nothing in the world that she wanted more, and once she had them … nothing she could possibly want less, and likely could never even look at them again. Oh the things you remember!) and waiting-for-baby and I could NOT wait to see what name she and her husband would choose because — they have great taste!
Danielle’s not blogging too much these days, but she loves names like I do, and she graciously agreed to fill me in on her kids’ first and middle names, and how each were chosen (be sure to notice #2 — perfect for Irish week!):
(1) Kateri Anne [which they say KAY-tuh-ree]
Kateri Tekakwitha was my confirmation saint many years ago, before she was even a saint. I loved her from the day I read a biography of her as a young girl (published by Pauline Books, I won the book as a prize in a poetry contest they rain in My Friend magazine). Kateri is strong and connected with nature and her stories of personal sacrifice really inspired me as a young woman.
(2) Eamon Michael
Eamon is the Irish form of Edmund and St. Edmund is a favorite of my husband’s. I was hugely pregnant with Eamon when we were watching the Secret of Roan Inish. One of the characters was named Eamon and we were inspired to look it up. When we found out it was a form of Edmund, we were convinced that was the name for us. We like that it is unusual, but it’s actually quite common in Ireland.
(3) Ambrose Augustine
Well you can read the column I wrote years ago, he tells me he still loves his name. I laugh all the time, though, because I get phone calls about his doctor’s appointments and whatnot and they always call him my daughter. You know, Amber Rose.
(4) Juliette Marie
My mom is French Canadian. I studied French for a total of 9 years in school. I like this name because it’s beautiful and a recognition of our French heritage. Marie is my mom’s first name. I wish I had a great saint story to go with it, but we kind [of] stumbled on the saint connection after the fact. People tease her about waiting for her “Romeo,” but she loves her name and it suits her. She is a poised and graceful young lady.
(5) Stephen Matthias
We both just love this traditional name and the fact that it was the name of the first Christian martyr. Stephen was St. Stephen for All Saints day a few years ago and he loved carrying a bloody rock around with him at the party and describing his death in gory detail. Stephen’s middle name is Matthias. We loved how Stephen Matthias went together so smoothly and only discovered after we settled on it that the sound of it is so “right” because the saints names are listed that way in the Eucharistic prayer. To this day, Stephen gets a grin on his face when the priest says “Stephen, Matthias” from the altar.
(6) Gabrielle Therese
Again, with [a] French girl name. This one happens to be my maternal grandmother’s first name (Grandmaman to me). She is 93 today [Feb. 24]. She always disliked her name, though, and went by “Gaby” instead. When our Gabrielle was born, we said it such a beautiful name we would not shorten it, but of course we do. She is Gabby to all her siblings and friends, but I still make a point of calling her Gabrielle regularly. It’s just so pretty. And do not get me started about St. Therese …
(7) Raphael Joseph
We pronounce this name (ray-FEE-uhl) but usually call him Rafe or Rafey. He likes both. When we were discussing names, I suggested Raphael and [my husband] Dan accepted it after concluding that “Rafe” was definitely a name you could call out to someone playing basketball. Today, Rafe is a skilled player and we call him name lots. His middle name was going to be Thomas, but he was born on the feast of St. Joseph after I spent an entire pregnancy saying that was the day he would be born, so you know. We HAD to change it. 🙂
(8) Daniel John Jr.
It only took my poor husband five sons before he got to have a junior! 😛 When I was pregnant with Danny (we usually call him that) we could not agree on names, so finally we just said if it was a boy, Dan would name him and if it was a girl, I would name her. At that point, Dan said “Ok then, I want a junior.” He had said he wanted to use his name for a son in the past but I always rejected the idea as ridiculous. I mean, he is Daniel, I am Danielle, did we really need another Dan in the mix? But I agreed. Then the day Danny was born, my husband was REALLY sick (coxsackie virus). So sick he was in terrible pain and I suggested he leave the delivery room and get a hotel room to rest for a while while labor progressed. I promised to call him when it got close. We should have known better, but whatever. Danny was born before Dan could get there, by about 20 minutes. I had already named him Daniel John, Jr. and signed the paperwork! Dan could not believe it. He was so thrilled. He actually thought I would not have gone through with it because I had been so opposed. Today, Danny is so proud to share a name with his dad, and he is our littlest so it’s extra sweet.
Aren’t those amazing stories? I love how each first name and middle name flow together so well. I love reading about the name discussions/disagreements between Danielle and her husband, and how they eventually resolved things into amazing first-middle combos for their kids. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did! Thank you Danielle for a great start to the week! ❤