Happy Mother’s Day! (I’ve got goodies for you!)

Happy Mother’s Day!! 💐💐💐 I say this to all of you, even if you’re not moms, because everyone gets in on the celebration on Mother’s Day, don’t they?! At Mass this morning I saw so many older moms that I see every week by themselves or with their husbands, and maybe sometimes one of their children, but today it seemed like they had all their grown-up kids with them (many that I’ve seen grow up) — and I was so happy for them, what a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day. ❤

As I did last year, I really wanted to do something special for you all in honor of Our Lady during her month of May, and also in conjunction with Mother’s Day. I told you all recently about the priest who gave a mission at our church during Lent, and his story regarding the power of St. Gerard’s intercession for couples who are hoping to conceive. Then just recently, someone I know told me she’d encouraged her daughter-in-law (who’s not Catholic!) to ask St. Gerard for his intercession, and they just found out they’re having twins! So I really had it on my heart to do a novena to St. Gerard, specifically for all of you who are hoping for babies. Today was the last day of the novena, and I already said today’s prayers for it, so you’re all covered! I hope you’ll let me know when your St. Gerard babies are on the way! 😊 (I’ll also just die if any of you find out you’re having twins!👯)

Also, yesterday I attended a special celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima and the canonization of our new St. Francisco and St. Jacinta 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕 at the Auriesville Shrine (I documented it on Instagram!), and remembered all of you and your intentions during the beautiful day. I’m so grateful for you all! 🌹❤🌹❤

Finally, I wanted to give you something tangible and God provided me the perfect thing! Kortnee is a reader who has an Etsy shop called Studio Senn (she also has a non-Etsy web site here, and she’s also on Instagram, where she sometimes posts promo codes), which is “a watercolor and hand lettering small business specializing in wedding paper, watercolor maps and Catholic goods for families and children.” Regarding its origin, she told me,

Studio Senn was born a couple years ago after working for a wedding florist/planner who asked me to do hand lettering and watercolor for some small projects she had. I started doing custom invitations and watercolor maps after that. This year I’ve decided to branch out and add more of my passions to the shop: Catholic goods for families and children, baby announcements, and hopefully soon original artwork.”

You guys! She has some ah-MAZ-ing things that I know you will all LOVE as much as I do! Like this ABC Saint Poster (she paints a little saint for each letter! So darling!):

ABC_saint_poster

She also has a boy version and a girl version. SO perfect for a nursery!

Then there’s this Narnia map (available in a bigger size too):

Narnia_map

And this St. Therese quote:

St_Therese_quote

There are so many sweet sweet things to choose from! But my very favorite is this Custom Saint, Letter, Color Square Print:

Custom_Saint_Square

Which is why I’m giving one of them away to one of you!! 🎉🎉🎉 To enter, click here to go to the Rafflecopter page for this giveaway! It starts today and ends at midnight on Wednesday, and I’ll announce the winner on Thursday — the birthday of St. John Paul the Great! 👊💕

For the rest of you, Kortnee’s offering a special discount code for Sancta Nomina readers! Use SANCTANOMINA15 until June 1 for 15% off anything in the shop! And as a special bonus — she also shared about her sons’ names! They are:

Fulton Douglas
Becket Raymond

😍😍😍

She explained,

Our son Fulton is obviously (or at least I would guess so for your readers) named after Venerable Fulton Sheen. My husband and I have been inspired by his words for years. His middle name, Douglas, is after my father-in-law. Becket is named after Saint Thomas Becket. We thought he would be a wonderful intercessor for religious reedom in this day and age and we have always loved the work the Becket Fund does for that same cause. His middle name, Raymond, is after my dad and grandpa. It happened to be a coincidence that they are both surnames. Not necessarily a trend we plan to keep but always fun to think of what would go well with them!

I hope you all found this post as fun to read as I had writing it!! Don’t forget to enter the raffle and check our Kortnee’s Etsy shop, web site, and Instagram, and I hope you all have a wonderful wonderful day!! 🌼🌺🌷🌸

Baby name consultation: New baby in the Huset!

(I’m cracking myself up over the title. 😂)

Yes! Today’s consultation is for Jenna and her hubby Daniel at the blog Wilber Huset! I was SO excited when Jenna asked me for a consultation because they have the BEST taste in names, so interesting and unexpected! In fact, their kiddos’ names are what caught my attention in the beginning! (And then, I always love “meeting” converts and hearing their stories, and my husband’s mom was 100% Norwegian but he doesn’t know much about his Scandi heritage, so I like that Jenna’s into that, and she’s just really fun to read [how we met stories are the best!] and posts gorgeous photos of her gorgeous kids on her blog and Instagram, so — lots of reasons to read/follow!)

Their older kiddos are:

Oliver Henry (Ollie)
Atlas James
Primrose Lucia (Prim; Lucia pronounced the Italian way)

Amazing, right?! (The links go to their naming stories, which I have read many times and never stop loving.)

They’re expecting their fourth baby, a boy! Jenna writes,

We are so so so excited. Only problem is, we had a girl name decided already and can’t seem to land on a boy name but that means that I finally get to have your help, ha!

I think overall I’m hoping to find a name that will balance out how much of an outlier Atlas is in my sibset. I love his name so so so much, but I feel like anything similar to the commonness of Oliver will make it stick out even more so.

We tend to like Scandinavian-ish names for boys, but my husband is on a Spanish name kick that I’m struggling to get behind. I find it hard to name an almost inevitably fair baby boy Mateo, haha, but am open to suggestions!

Here is a list of names we can’t use for one reason or another:

Bradley
Brian
Casimir
Cedric
Christopher
Connor
Dustin
Errol
Eric
Ferris
Francis
Issac
Jayden
Jacob
John
Joseph
Kurt
Kyle
Larry
Logan
Michael
Peter
Robert
Richard
Phillip
Russel
Ryan
Samuel
Stephen
Scott
Toulouse
Wesley
William

Some Saints that are important in our family are:

Saint Anne
Saint James (both)
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Fatima (LOVE JACINTA! Plus Palm Springs is one of our favorite places and it’s at the bottom of the San Jacinto Mountains)
Saint Junipero Serra (our parish is one of the missions he founded)

According to Jenna’s name posts, these are the kinds of names she and her hubs have considered:

Girl
Apoline
Lilja

Boy
Erlend
Jasper

Alrighty, so from Jenna’s email, I really latched onto this: “I think overall I’m hoping to find a name that will balance out how much of an outlier Atlas is in my sibset.” I, too, would gravitate toward doing so — I don’t at all mind having a bunch of different styles at play in a family, but I love finding names that “bridge” the styles in subsequent children, to kind of make sense of it all. Not that it’s necessary at all, of course! I also love when parents’ love the names they’ve chosen for their children, whether they “go” together or not.

All that said, I thought maybe a little explanation of what I see when I look at the older Wilber kids’ names might help. I see a lot of nature and landscape: Oliver makes me think of olives, especially as a brother to Primrose, which is so lovely and flowery. Atlas makes me think of the earth, both because of the depictions of the Titan, and because of maps (and that was before I remembered that Jenna had majored in geography!). Apoline makes me think of apples every time I say it, Lilja certainly fits in with flowery Primrose, and Jasper is a kind of rock. Erlend seems a little bit of an outlier here, and I’d actually never heard of it until I read in Jenna’s Oliver post that he was in Kristin Lavransdatter – doh! I’ve started it at least twice and just cannot get through it! (If you know a better translation than the one I linked to, please let me know!) That said, I get a little bit of an old-man vibe from it, which may be how others perceive it as well if they’re not familiar with the literary reference. Not that that’s a bad thing!

I want to point out also that Oliver and Atlas share a theme of “strength,” with Jenna loving Oliver’s “leader of the elves” and “home ruler” meanings, and Atlas the Titan being strong enough to hold up the sky. Also, Jasper being a kind of rock, fits in with that, and even Apoline connects with that, as it’s related to Apollo, whose name might be derived from the actual word for “strength.” So many connections!

So I basically looked for names that I thought could fit with a nature and/or strength meaning or feel for this little guy. You all know I rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard, with its lists of names that are similar to each other in terms of style/feel/popularity, but I knew it wasn’t going to be too helpful for for Jenna and Daniel, and I was right. I did take a look, but I relied more on my gut (a little risky!) as well as the list of Norwegian names at Behind the Name; I also used the Name Matchmaker and Nymbler as well; and I checked to see about Harry Potter connections with each name (from Jenna’s Oliver post: “In the back of my mind I thought it would be a cute homage to HP if all my kids names somehow came for the HP series…. how old was I!? ANYWAY. I already loved loved loved the name Oliver so it worked with that trend (Oliver Wood! yeow!) and I loved the name Apoline (Fleur Delacour’s mother, duh!)” haha!). I focused pretty heavily on trying to come up with ideas that had a nature feeling, or a “strong” feeling, which may be too narrow a focus, but it helped prevent me from winging all over the place. I hope it’s not overkill! These are my ideas:

(1) Orion
This might be too mythological for them, since Atlas is obviously so, and even though they want to loop Atlas in more I don’t suppose they want to go overboard with his style either, but Orion was my very first idea for Jenna’s baby boy, with the idea of bridging Oliver and Atlas. I like that it’s an O name like Oliver — to me, that links them pretty strongly — and that it’s a mythological name like Atlas. It’s also nature-y because of it being a constellation, and I love that it has a “strong” meaning as well: Orion’s a hunter! Also, while Oliver and Atlas seem very different at first blush (but not so much if you dig a little deeper into meanings), Atlas is not so unusual that it’s unfamiliar, so if their goal is balance (which I take to mean, bridging styles or making sense of how they all fit together, which to me means pulling Atlas closer to Oliver rather than going even farther out with an even more unusual name), I think a name like Orion is a good one, because it’s also not totally unusual or unfamiliar (though certainly on the more uncommon end of the spectrum).

(2) Sirius
Speaking of Orion … Sirius (the star) is referred to as Orion’s dog in Homer’s Iliad — I love that it’s a star name, which fits in with the nature theme, and it’s a Harry Potter name, so I’m thinking this might be a really cool name for this family! Especially since their other kids don’t have *obvious* HP names — I mean, I wouldn’t suggest Sirius to a family who already has a Harry and a Hermione, but as a brother to Oliver, Atlas, and Primrose? I’m kind of loving Sirius!

(3) Rio
I’m really interested to see what they think of Rio. It means “river,” which fits in really well with a nature theme, and it totally ties in to the map/geography feel of Atlas! It’s also Spanish, which is a nod to Daniel’s recent interest in Spanish names, and it also makes me think some faith-y things, specifically the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and Pope Francis’ visit to Rio as well (especially since watching Pope Francis get elected seems like it was a catalyst for their conversion). And Rio’s just a fun name! One caveat is that I’ve seen it used for girls — there’s the Duran Duran song about a woman named Rio, and 38 girls were named Rio in the U.S. in 2015, but 103 boys were named Rio and the -o ending almost always is masculine.

(4) Ransom
I love love love the name Ransom — I love that it’s got a little bit of a pirate feel, which is so fun for a little boy, but it’s got a Marian connection too, in the title Our Lady of Ransom! That title is tied to Our Lady of Mercy —
in fact, the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, also known as the Order of Mercy, or the Mercedarians, was originally called the Order of Our Lady of Ransom. Reader skimac told more about them here — they’re pretty amazing, and the title is an awesome inspiration for a boy’s name! It doesn’t have a nature meaning, but Ransom has that characteristic of “strength” to me that I see in Oliver’s and Atlas’ names.

(5) Romero (or Oscar?)
Speaking of interesting, masculine Marian names, I recently discovered that Romero is the Spanish word for the rosemary plant! So of course that makes it Marian to me, and Spanish, so Jenna’s hubs might like it. Also, I love Bl. Oscar Romero, which then made me think of Oscar, and I thought that might be more their speed anyway (and a nice compromise for the two of them because Oscar’s got good Scandinavian use *and* good Spanish use!). Like with Orion, I could see Oscar being a good bridge name between Oliver and Atlas — it’s kind of in the middle of the two unusual-wise I think.

(6) Rune
When I was going through the list of Norwegian names at behindthename, I came across Rune and immediately loved it for them — especially because it made me think of the class Ancient Runes in Harry Potter! I know in Norwegian it’s technically said like ROO-na, but I love the sound of ROON and I think that’s how people would probably say it anyway, so I’m going to say go with ROON. I love its meaning “secret lore,” which is so mysterious and otherworldly — I think for that reason it really fits in well with the mythological association of Atlas.

(7) Sten
I also found Sten when going through that Norwegian list, and not only do I think it has a cool sound, but its meaning is “stone,” which is great for a nature-y and “strong” theme!

(8) Viggo
The more I think about it, the more surprised I am that they don’t have Viggo on their list! It’s Scandinavian and is related to the meaning “war,” which isn’t great from a violence and killing perspective but does fit in with a theme of “strength” I think (and they could totally intend for it to refer to “spiritual warfare” or similar). Natalie Hanson (married to MMMBop Taylor Hanson) is an incredible namer, and a name nut like us, as well as a devout Christian, and she named one of their boys Viggo, which is a plus in my book.

(9) Campion
Speaking again of strength, Campion means “champion,” and is also of course the last name of St. Edmund Campion. Ancestry.com even says it originated as a “status name for a professional champion,” which seems right up Atlas’ alley!

(10) Everest
I love that Everest immediately calls to mind Mt. Everest, which is such a great thing for the Wilbers, since it’s nature-y, geologic (geological?), and strong. It’s also familiar without being familiar, if that makes sense — a great bridge between Oliver and Atlas I think.

(11) Fox
At first I had Fennec here instead — a type of fox — I thought an animal name might be a fun way to have a nature-y name in a new category, and Fennec feels really name-y to me … and then I remembered why it feels namey, which is the reason I crossed it off the list: Finnick from Hunger Games (on its own, I love it, but as a brother to Prim, probably too much!). But then I thought, maybe just Fox? I know a guy named Fox (it’s not his given name — I don’t actually know what his given name is) and I love it — it’s like an outdoorsy Felix, and strikes me as both kind of hippie and also tough. Also, and this is a bit of a stretch, I say Fox almost the same way I say Fawkes, and while I don’t think Fawkes is workable for the same reason I wouldn’t recommend Faulkner or similar-sounding F- names, Fox is fine, and if it makes them think of Fawkes they could sort of count it as an HP name? Maybe?

(12) Caspian
Ooh I love this idea for them. The Caspian Sea provides all the nature-ness they could want, and Prince Caspian adds strength, chivalry, royalty, and Narnia!

So those are all my first-name ideas for Jenna and Daniel (or they could be middle name contenders of course, if they prefer)! Unfortunately I couldn’t come up with any HP connections for any names but Sirius and Rune and possibly Fox, but that’s what middle names are for, right?

I also wanted to address their special saints:

— St. Anne: I’ve known a couple of parents wanting to honor St. Anne in their sons’ names, and the ideas they and I have had have revolved mostly around the “Ann” sound — Anselm, Anthony, Anton, Anson, Ansel. If their intention is to honor her, I think all of these ideas are great! And in fact, Anne, that spelling (but pronounced like Anna), has use in the Frisian language as a male name — a short form of names beginning with Arn- (e.g., Arnold, Arnulf, and the Norwegian Arnt). Anne or Arnt could be interesting possibilities? Another is to use St Anne’s husband’s name, which could be really great for them anyway, even as a first name, since it’s got good use in Scandinavian countries: Joachim or Joakim. In English it’s said JO-ah-kim, so Joe is a natural nickname (though I’d use Jake, and I’ve tried to convince my husband of Joachim for ages). It’s probably even better as a middle name, where they don’t have to worry about pronunciation as much.

— St. James: I know they’ve already used James, but this might be the perfect example of when it’s okay to use a variant form of a name they’ve already used. James is the Latin form of Jacob, so Jacob could be great, OR, since Jenna’s hubby is loving Spanish names and they love OL of Guadalupe, perhaps Diego? I’ve seen some academic disagreement over whether it’s actually a variant of James (via Santiago=St. James) or not, but I do believe it’s usually translated that way, and the impeccably researched Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources has Diego listed as “a contraction of Santiago.” I can see Jenna’s point about naming a blondie with a Spanish name, but I love putting names like that in the middle. Diego would be a super cool middle name!

— OL of Fatima and Jacinta: I’m so with them on this! I went on a pilgrimage to Fatima the summer I turned 13, and it was *the* turning point for me faith-wise; I also chose Jacinta as my Confirmation name because of my connection with Fatima. I love her and I’m so excited for her canonization IN TWO DAYS! I could see Jacinta being an awesome name for a future daughter or, more immediately, they could do the Spanish Jacinto for a boy, which would be kind of great because the baby’s being born in the year Jacinta is canonized. Either way, the name totally works with a nature theme because they’re the Spanish masculine and feminine versions of Hyacinth. You might be familiar with the Pioneer Woman’s best friend Hyacinth (a woman), whom she refers to on the show often as Hy; there are also a bunch of holy Hyacinths who are all male — not sure which one San Jacinto refers to, but it’s a pretty cool connection!

— St. Junipero Serra: As with Diego and Jacinto, I think a meaningful Spanish name would be smashing in the middle name spot, and I could see Junipero working perfectly. Or just Juniper, which has traditional use for boys. Also: nature name!

And those are all my thoughts for the new little Wilber man! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Oliver, Atlas, and Primrose?

Spotlight on: Damian/Damien

Today’s the feast day of one of my fave saints with one of my fave names — St. Damien of Molokai! (Also known as St. Joseph de Veuster.) Perfect day to post a spotlight of his name!

In the universe of names that need to be reclaimed, Damian/Damien is at the top of my list, as was glaringly showcased in the consultation I posted for Grace a couple of weeks ago. Let’s just get it out of the way: For those who don’t know, there’s a 1976 movie called The Omen in which the boy character, named Damien, is revealed to be the Antichrist; there was a 1978 sequel called Damien: Omen II, and I only recently found out that the original movie was remade in 2006 — I’m not super into knowing every movie that comes out, but I know a fair bit, and it was a total surprise to me to find out this remake (1) exists and (2) is so recent. (Another post for another day: Do writers consider the way they can ruin lives and baby name lists through the names they choose for their bad characters?? I am a writer, and I love saintly names, and I will come up with a solution. Stay tuned.)

(Also, have any of you actually seen any of these movies? I haven’t, and I don’t know anyone who has, and the original was made before most of my friends and I were born, and we’re now approaching the later end of the childbearing-age spectrum, so how is it that *everyone* knows this reference and is *still* allowing their babynaming to be influenced by it??)

So yes, I’m sure the name was chosen for the movie because of its visual and audial similarity to “demon,” but they’re actually not related at all. Damian/en comes from the Greek for “to tame,” while demon is thought to be derived from the Greek for “to divide.” (“Demon”=”to divide” … that’s something to muse on, no?)

Now to focus on the positive: Damian/en is an amazing name!! It’s got similar sounds and rhythm to the Aidan/Brayden/Jaden family of names, with *centuries* of use and lots of holy men so named, with the most familiar probably being St. Damian (twin brother of St. Cosmas — they’re in the Canon of the Mass!), and today’s St. Damien of Molokai. There’s also Doctor of the Church St. Peter Damian, and how cool is that combo?? (I actually know a little Peter Damian — I swooned over his name when he was born and I still do!) Also, the church where St. Francis was instructed by Jesus to “rebuild my church” was the church of San Damiano, and the cross before which St. Francis was praying when Jesus spoke to him is called the Cross of San Damiano. You’re likely familiar with it:

512px-Kruis_san_damiano
Via Wikimedia Commons

So the name Damian/en has a LOT more going *for* it than it has going against it.

Fortunately, we have quite a few current Damian/ens we can look to as well, like Homeland and frequent BBC actor Damian Lewis

Damian_Lewis_Berlin_2015
By Siebbi (Damian Lewis) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
(who has a brother named Gareth and children named Manon and Gulliver 😍 — some good naming genes in that family!), and so many other famous Damian/ens that I really wonder why we don’t hear more of it! Especially since Damian has actually been in the top 200 names for the past 15 years, even breaking into the top 100 in 2012 and 2013 (Damien has always been less popular, but not by too much, and had an unfortunate spike in popularity following the original movie’s release). So is it mostly Catholic namers (like, all of us here) who are very concerned about the connection with the movie? We who have so much less cause than those who are unfamiliar with the faith? I get it, and at the same time I don’t.

Fortunately we have sweet little Damien Edmund, whose birth announcement I posted a while ago, to look to! If you remember, his mama wrote,

After your consult I realised how much I really love St Damien of Molokai and it seemed like the right name. My husband was hesitant because of THAT movie, but right after he was born my husband said a little prayer and felt it was the right name. And we added Edmund for Edmund Campion and Edmund Arrowsmith. So far, all our Catholic friends love the name Damien, and non Catholics haven’t said anything negative. Reclaim the name!

Amen sister!! 👊👊👊

I think that maybe Damian/en’s lack of familiar nicknames is somewhat problematic — it’s always nice to have a good nickname to hide behind, if hiding is desired (yes, I do think it’s A-okay to use a name you love that you’re not totally 100% sure will be received well. Choosing a nickname in case you [as the parent] or your child [with the name] wants to be incognito is a great way to manage this. And it [issues with one’s given name] can happen with names with no objective issues at all! I think I’ll do a post on this soon. My own personal example is my beloved Joachim — I totally get that if we were to ever have a son named Joachim, we or he might get tired of the confused looks, botched pronunciations, etc., and so I’m ready with the fab nickname Jake. Easy peasy).

So anyway, I (of course) have spent many hours over the last several years thinking long and hard about nicknames for Damian/Damien, and my favorite is Danny (for Damian) and Denny (for Damien). I think they’re perfect! You could also do just “D,” and I could even see Ian working for Damian. “Dame” is fine as a spoken nickname (not sure a guy would like to put that in writing though). (Also, fun future topic: “heard” nicknames vs. “written” nicknames — Swistle discussed it in a recent post, and I’d love to talk about it with all of you. Soon!)

And one last thought: If we all agree that it’s pretty terrible that some great saints’ name is being avoided because of a pretty terrible pop culture reference (that should really be forgotten anyway, name or no name), can we all agree to stop linking the two? Maybe when the name comes up, you can focus on the awesome saints instead of the negative association? Seriously, the more we talk up the good and ignore the bad, the more helpful we are in making that association fade away. (And conversely, the more we say, “The only thing I think of when I hear ‘Damien’ is that satanic movie!” the longer the names are going to be linked.) I do get that it’s good for parents to be aware of potential issues, but if you feel you must mention it, at least overcompensate by focusing extra hard on the saints. Deal? (You all are the best ever. 😘)

Baby name consultation: Traditional, timeless, saintly name needed for boy no. 5

I have this group of girlfriends from college that make up most of my inner circle — girls I lived with, laughed with, cried with, had as bridesmaids in my wedding, and still to this day count as sisters. I’m so excited that today’s consultation is for one of them! Rosey and her husband Brian are expecting their sixth born baby — and fifth boy! (This makes seventeen boys [and only three girls!] among us! Boy no. 16’s birth announcement is here.)

This little guy joins big sibs:

Kenneth Brian
Paul Vincent
Clare Patricia Rose
James Emanuel
Henry Joseph

An amazingly named bunch of kids, don’t you think? 😍

Brian got the ball rolling by writing,

Kate! Help! This baby is never going to be named!

You know our existing names as a starting point. First name should be a fairly traditional, timeless catholic saint name, the middle name can be a little more ‘catholicy catholic’ but not all the way out there (Augustine, Blaise, Benedict OK; but Polycarp or Athanasius would be too much)

We don’t seek to nickname, unless there’s an obvious, traditionally accepted nickname for a particular name, we don’t want to come up with anything new or cutting edge. And we don’t want any nickname to be dependent on the middle name. We do use diminutives at home currently: Kenny, Paulie, Jamie, but we like that each son can take their full first name out into the world ‘as is’ with no problem.”

(This part made me laugh, regarding nicknames: “we don’t want to come up with anything new or cutting edge. And we don’t want any nickname to be dependent on the middle name.” They know me too well! 😂)

Brian continues:

I have some combos I really like, but Rosey is ‘meh’ with (at the moment) 🙂:

Charles Augustine
Mark Augustine
Andrew (w Benedict, Charles or Thomas as middle)

Other first names I think could work, but also not grabbing Rosey:

Thomas
Jude
Anthony
John
George
Steven
Francis

Names excluded for various reasons:

Luke [doesn’t work with last name]
Peter
Michael (though could possibly be used as a middle name)
David

And because it’s hilarious and I’m still laughing about it, there’s this too:

Also, FTR, I gave Rosey a spreadsheet of 73 ‘acceptable to me’ FN/MN combos and asked her to check her top 10-20, but she just put it in the junk drawer and said to skip straight to you. She never likes to take the engineering approach. *sigh*

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

As for Rosey, she said,

I really don’t care for Charles. But I guess names that I don’t totally hate are (in no specific order) blaise, George, mark, jude, Matthew and of course I love the names of the kids we have. I am OK with Augustine as a middle name and I guess Charles would be fine for a middle name too. I probably would go for almost any middle name.”

This is such a fun challenge! I’ve loved watching Rosey and Brian name each of their children, and being able to offer some thoughts/ideas/suggestions for one of them is such a privilege!

So of course there are lots of great ideas here. I’m a big fan of mixing safe with adventurous, like with James Emanuel, Charles Augustine, and Mark Augustine … if they used something like Blaise or Jude for first names, I could see something more staid like Michael or Francis balancing them out really nicely and making them feel more comfortable with the overall effect (not saying Blaise and Jude are crazy, just a little more adventurous than their other ideas and and their other kids’ names … and actually, I love the idea of Blaise for them because they’re into track/cross country — you know, Blaise … like blaze … like super speedy! 😁) But of course none of that is necessary either — safe + safe, and adventurous + adventurous are fine and fabulous!

I admit I tried to think a *tiny* bit outside the box since Henry’s name was a surprise to them last time — it wasn’t even on the list until the end. One of my ideas in particular doesn’t fit their “traditional and timeless” criteria, but I had to throw in at least one like that, just in case!

You all know that I rely pretty heavily on 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. It’s uncannily accurate! But of course it doesn’t always nail a couple’s style, and the lists of similar names it offers aren’t comprehensive, and it doesn’t always do so great with heavy Catholicky Catholic names. (Which is where I come in. 😊)

Okay, without further ado! Based on all my research as well as names I’d come up with for Rosey and Brian before I even cracked the BNW book open, here are my ideas for their newest little guy:

(1) Timothy
I don’t know if it was intentional (and certainly not with Kenny, since his is a straight honor name), but their older kids’ first names all have a distinctly (to me) Irish/Scottish/Brit feel to them (I know they have other associations as well, I just mean as a group), which is one of the reasons I love Timothy for them. Like their other kids, it doesn’t hit you over the head with Celtic-y feeling, but it’s a popular name in Ireland and with Irish and Irish-American families, so it’s taken on a green sheen. It’s also biblical, saintly, traditional, and timeless. I really love this one for them. And since it’s longer, a shorter middle would make a nice rhythm: Timothy Jude, Timothy Blaise, and Timothy George are all really nice imo.

(2) Fulton
This is the idea I mentioned earlier as being the one outside-the-box name I allowed myself to include. I don’t even know what made me think of it for Rosey and Brian initially, but it came to me the other day and I rolled it around a few times with their last name … I love it! And Ven. Fulton Sheen, who was actually baptized Peter John but called Fulton, which was his mom’s maide name, is such a great patron! I’m loving the idea of Fulton Peter or Fulton John, especially if they want to highlight the connection to him, or Fulton Anthony or even Fulton Francis (I don’t mind the alliteration, though I know some people don’t care for it.

(3) Robert
Robert’s been on my radar for a while now (I think it was Downton Abbey that did it!) — I’ve been loving how handsome and traditional it is, and the nicknames Bobby and Robby have been striking me as really adorable. And St. Robert Bellarmine!

(4) Martin
Martin’s totally traditional and timeless, but you rare hear Martin anymore! It really fits in nicely with Kenny’s name, I think, which I would describe similarly.

(5) Philip
I’m actually not sure how Rosey and Brian feel about repeating initials, but Philip has long been one of my favorite favorites. I love the traditional nickname Pip for it, but I think it’s one of those nicknames that doesn’t grow really well with a boy, so their mindset — nickname at home/with the family, but not outside — is perfect for Philip/Pip.

(6) Gregory
This is another favorite of mine — I always like to quote what the BNW says about it: “Popes, saints, and Gregory Peck! Can a name get any more distinguished?” I love that! Pope St. Gregory the Great is an amazing patron, and the full Gregory is so handsome.

(7) Theodore
I’ll end with seven ideas, and this last one is fun because it reminds me a lot of Henry — Theodore’s an older name that’s popping up more and more, including among parents who also like Henry, and is on a similar curve as Henry in the SSA stats (though Henry’s a bit ahead of it). Theo’s an easy nickname for home, or Ted/Teddy, and the full Theodore is smart and serious.

Though those seven are my main suggestions, I sometimes find it helpful to list the names that didn’t make the cut, for whatever reason, just in case. David was my no. 1 for them for a long time, until they said it’s on the no list! I almost included Daniel (Danny Boy!), Tobias (maybe too out there?), and Nicholas (I’m still thinking it might be a good idea), and Andrew was another on my mind for them before I even saw that it was a contender.

And those are all my ideas for Rosey and Brian’s littlest guy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Kenny, Paul, Clare, James, and Henry?

ETA: I was given permission to include their girl name ideas after I’d already posted, woo! If this baby had been a girl, they planned to use Gemma Katharine, and other girl name combos they like include MaryAlice Veronica, Mary Alice, Veronica Mary, and Veronica Rose.

Baby name consultation: Formal name for Lola or Lulu?

Consultation post number 3 for this week! Hooray!! 😁😍🎉

I posted a consultation for Emily and her husband nearly two years ago, and then a birth announcement when their little guy was born, and now they’re naming another sweet little one! Their new little girl joins big sibs:

Gwenevere Marie (Gwen)
Avalene Ruth (Avie)
Gideon Elias
Woodrow Ignatius

SUCH a fun and fabulous bunch of names!

Emily writes,

We are in the process of adopting from China! This will be our fifth child, and third girl. She will be three in May, and we hope to get her home in the fall.

Obviously she has a name already. Her name is Le Le, pronounced “luh-luh” in Chinese and meaning “Joy and gladness”. While we want to be respectful of her heritage, we also want to integrate her into our family completely. She actually goes by “Lola” in her foster home. We had been calling her “lay lay” before we found out we were mispronouncing it. We have been thinking of calling her “Lulu”, as it’s very similar to what she is called, and what her name is.

We have now thoroughly confused our children on what her name is! We’re sort of stuck. We want to give her a name from us, as is tradition when welcoming a new child, but not totally overwhelm her with change. As far as we know, she understands when spoken to, but is, as of now, nonverbal (she has Down syndrome).

Lulu seems to be more nickname-y, and we hoped we could give her a more formal name.

My husband is totally against calling her Joy, which I first suggested.

I don’t blog anymore but we have a youcaring page, which I try and update and a Facebook page dedicated to the adoption.”

Can you believe how loving and generous this family is? What a blessed little girl Le Le is! I’m so very happy to think of name ideas for her. And I’m really intrigued by this naming dilemma! I immediately latched on to both Lola and Lulu, as they’re both kind of on-trend for girls right now. And I know a little girl with the given name Lulu! Just Lulu! So I think these names will fit in really well with the name landscape Emily’s kids are part of.

I also love the meaning of Le Le’s name, and I actually love Joy as a possibility (don’t tell Dad! 😉) … it makes me think of St. Catherine of Siena, who was so joyful as a child that she was called Euphrosyne, which is Greek for joy! At first I thought it could help Emily and her hubs with their dilemma, as I assumed the first syllable was said like “you,” and I did find one place that said it you-FRAH-zee-nee, which kind of mirrors the sounds of Lulu, but then I listened to another pronunciation of it that’s more authentically Greek and it sounds like it’s more like ef-raw-SEE-nee. So I don’t know if any of this is helpful at all!

Back to Lola/Lulu, some formal names that I think could get to Lola, which I also think can work for Lulu, are:

— Violet Louisa (or vice versa)
— Caroline Lucia (or vice versa)
— Lourdes (do note that Madonna’s daughter is Lourdes nicked Lola, a surprisingly beautiful choice compared to other choices she’s made)
— a Mary- double, like Mary Aloysius, Mary Olivia, Mary Ophelia, Maria Lauren, Marie Lorelei; I also like the idea of hyphenating: Marie-Olivia or Marie-Olive, Maria-Ophelia, Maria- or Marie-Lauren, Marie-Lorelei — really, Mary + anything with O and L sounds
— Lulu is especially perfect for Louisa or Lucia/Lucy
— Juliet (with its long U and heavy L)
— Elodie (this could work for Lola too)
— really probably most L names. In fact, I don’t even think Violet or Caroline need an L middle name to make Lola/Lulu work as a nickname for them.

Additionally, Lola is actually a traditional nickname for Dolores (meaning “sorrows,” from the Marian title Our Lady of Sorrows), and the fashion designer Lulu Guinness was born Lucinda Jane.

Oooooh wait a minute!! I just remembered some L names that mean joy!! There’s Laetitia, which comes from the Marian title Causa Nostrae Laetitiae (Cause of Our Joy), and there’s the related title Our Lady of Liesse, where Liesse is French for joy! I particularly like Liesse, such a pretty name.

And those are my ideas for this beautiful family and their beautiful little girl! What name(s) would you suggest that connect to Lola, Lulu, and/or “joy”/”gladness” and that fit in well with her big sisters and brothers?

(Please also consider donating to the adoption fund through their page at youcaring, if you’re able, and follow their updates on Facebook.)

Baby name consultation: Boy no. 2 (difficult last name and eclectic name taste)

It’s springtime, which apparently means alllll the babiessss!!! 💐💃💐💃💐💃 Buckle up, cause we’re in for a couple of weeks of a lot of consultation posts! Woo!! I have two or three scheduled to post every week until the end of May, and they’re each just as fun and fabulous as the next.

Today’s is for Nury and her husband — they’re expecting their second baby, and second boy! He joins big brother:

Alec Michael

Which I love. So handsome.

Nury writes,

Choosing the name of our first child was difficult, to say the least. Our last name … is long and difficult. All of the boys names in my husband’s family tend to be short and not too exotic (Michael, George, Steven, David, Daniel, Richard). My husband’s name is Sean and we do not want to use that. We also definitely do not want to use Michael. There are a large number of Michaels in both of our families, including Sean’s father and brother. We are open to relatively uncommon names, but they should be easy to say — we want him to have a name that people can recognize and say easily since [our last name] causes so much confusion!

We chose Alec as the first name for our son after months and months of discussion and debate. At the very end, we were nearly set on Thomas Michael (Thomas is the name of a dear friend and mentor to Sean and also two of my favorite saints). We settled on Alec after we met him and decided it would stand as a tribute to my grandfather (whose middle name was Alejandro). Michael was chosen as the middle name in honor of Sean’s father who passed in 2011.

The only name we have seriously considered for this new baby is Thomas again. But I also like the following names: Victor, Becket, George, Patrick, James, and Eric. We are also considering using my father’s name, Marcelo, as a middle name. He passed away last July, a month before we conceived this baby. However, that’s not a requirement.”

I was really impressed both with Alec’s name and with the names on Nury’s list of those they’re considering—they all fit perfectly into her desire to have a name “that people can recognize and say easily” despite being all different styles! Nice job! I also love the idea of Thomas Marcelo, it sounds like it’s full of meaning for them.

I’m going to guess that one of the reasons they had a hard time coming up with a name for their first son is exactly because their taste in names is all over the place—and I say that in a good way! I love eclectic namers—those who don’t fit into any one obvious style. It does make it hard to nail down name ideas though, since there’s no real “place” to go look for more, you know? Like, if a couple loved last-names-as-first-names, then I would know where to look for more. If they loved Irish names, I would know where to find those. You know? On the list of names Nury and her husband have used (Alec) and are considering (Thomas, Victor, Becket, George, Patrick, and Eric) I can see separating them out into the following categories: Scottish/English/Celtic (Alec, Becket, George, Patrick), traditional saintly (Thomas, Victor, George, Patrick), Spanish (Victor, Eric), last name (Becket), and Scandinavian (Eric). But even though I could see grouping a couple/few of them into categories, there was zero overlap in the suggested names in the Baby Name Wizard when I looked up all their names! (You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used/like/are considering in the BNW as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity.) This is so unusual, and extra challenging!

I don’t want any of you to think that any of this is bad though! And it seriously increases the fun for me, I love love a good challenge!! 😊 One thing I did notice in terms of a theme or style that, once I noticed, became really obvious to me, is that they really like names that have the K sound in them: Alec, Victor, Becket, Patrick, and Eric. Even Alec’s middle name, Michael. Out of the eight names that they’ve chosen or like, six have the K sound in them! I think that’s more than coincidence, and I used that idea to come up with a few names that I thought might fit into the various categories their names fall into:

(1) Dominic
Dominic has that K sound at the end, and can take nicknames that include it too, like Nick and Nico. It’s saintly, and I think it works well in Spanish as well as across all the European countries, including Ireland, the UK, and the Scandinavian countries.

(2) Nico
Speaking of Nico as a nickname for Dominic, why not Nico as a given name? It’s one of my favorites—short and snappy and masculine, and I like that it has four letters like Alec. I think it’s easy to say in various languages, and St. Nicholas can be patron.

(3) Nic(h)olas
And speaking of Nicholas, I wonder if they would consider it as a first name? I like both the Nicholas and Nicolas spellings, and I think most people think it’s easy to say.

(4) Cole or Colin
Still (unintentionally) continuing with the Nicholas theme, Cole is a traditional nickname for it, and it can also stand on its own as its own name. My husband and I actually considered it for one of our boys! Colin is also a traditional diminutive for Nicholas, though it’s most well known as a name in its own right. It was actually listed as a style match for Alec in the BNW, though I’m not sure it fits Nury’s “easy to say” criteria well enough? Most people I know say COLL-in, but others are more familiar with Colin Powell’s pronunciation: COLE-in.

(5) Kolbe
And jumping off of Cole, Kolbe is also inspired by Becket on their list in that it’s a saintly last name (St. Maximilian Kolbe). I’m just not sure if it’s as easy to say as they’d like? I mean, I don’t know if most people who see it know it’s said KOLE-bee right away?

(6) Mark, Marc, Marco, Marcus
I wondered if they’d be interested in using a variant of Nury’s dad’s name as their son’s first name, similar to how they did with Alejandro –> Alec? According to behindthename.com, Marcelo is a variant of Marcellus, which was originally a diminutive of Marcus. In light of that, any of the Marcus variants seem like they could work to honor Nury’s dad, if she felt like they were close enough to her dad’s name. And changing from Marcelo to Mark/Marc/Marco/Marcus pulls in that K sound that they seem to like. Marc was also listed as a style match for Eric.

(7) Kevin
Kevin was listed as a style match for Eric, but I would also say it’s similar to Patrick because of being an Irish name, which also makes it fit in well with the UK/Celtic feel of Alec, Becket, and George. It’s a saint’s name as well.

(8) Cooper
This is another one, like Kolbe, that was inspired by Becket—it was actually listed as a style match for it in the BNW. One of you readers knows a little Cupertino, for St. Joseph of Cupertino, and he goes by Cooper—I think that’s so clever!

Those are all my suggestions based on the idea that Nury and her husband might prefer names with a K sound in them, but don’t worry, I have some other ideas too! Like:

(8) Andrew or just Drew
Though behindthename says Alec is an English short form of Alexander, babynamewizard and others say it’s the Scottish form of Alex(ander), which is definitely the vibe I get from it (not the only vibe—Alec works well with lots of different kinds of names I think). James on their list is another name that can have a Scottish feel to it, and I’m not really sure why—maybe because of King James?—but I have a friend who married a Scot and they named one of their boys James, which made so much sense to me. Anyway, all that to say, Andrew is another name that has a similar feel. St. Andrew is actually the patron of Scotland, and there’s St. Andrews University there, near the town of St. Andrews. If they didn’t like the full Andrew, I think its nickname Drew can stand on its own, and pairs really nicely with Alec.

(9) Charles, Carl(o)(s), Karl
Charles is a style match for Thomas, George, and James, and it’s one of those names that works in all different languages and cultures. Carlo is a nice option as well, as is Carlos (which was a style match for Victor), and Karl has that Scandinavian feel that I get from Eric. A nice bonus is that all these names can take St. John Paul for patron, since his birth name was Karol, which is the Polish form of Charles. (There are also lots of other Sts. Charles, if they want to go a non-JP2 route.)

(10) Miles or Milo
If you’ve been reading my blog long, you’ll likely know that I love the name Miles and push it on lots of parents! 😁 It’s used in Ireland as an anglicization of the Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary”—so Miles is a Marian name! It’s also a style match for Alec, and is similarly nickname-proof. If they don’t love how the S in Miles runs into the S of their last name, but they like the idea of Miles, maybe they’d prefer Milo? It also has use as an anglicization of Maolmhuire (if that’s important to them). If they didn’t care for the double M of Miles Marcelo or Milo Marcelo, I quite like Miles Thomas and Milo Thomas.

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Alec’s little brother?

Baby name consultation: Rose’s twin sister!

Happy May everyone!! It’s Mary’s month, and it starts off with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker!! Love love love!!

Emily and her husband are expecting twin girls! These little ladies join big sisters:

Ellen Marie
Lila Gayle

Beautiful names!!

Emily writes,

We are fairly set on one twin being named Rose Elizabeth, but we are having a hard time finding a good match. My husband likes Ruby, but I think that sounds too twinnish 😬 I like Fiona and Lucia but husband isn’t in love with either. We both like Sylvia, and for a short stint we both like Matilda, but I don’t like the nickname Maddie.

I am a recent convert so I would also love your opinion on connecting their names to a Saint or Marian reference or something of the like. Also, could you look into any saintly connection I could do for my Lila Gayle? Thank you for everything!

Isn’t this all just wonderful?! So first off, I love her older girls’ names! Ellen is a form of Helen(a), and St. Helena’s a great patron saint! Of course Ellen’s middle name is a Marian name, which you know is always a win for me! And Lila Gayle is beautiful! I really really wanted to find a connection to Lily for Lila, and though I didn’t (it’s derived from the Arabic for “night,” which I’m not sure how to connect, faith-wise), I do think Emily could consider it to be related to Lily if she wanted it to, based on appearance. There’s precedence for doing so — like those who have considered Oliver because of olive-related meanings (Our Lady of Olives, or olive branches meaning “peace,” etc.), even though it’s not linguistically connected to olives — so if Emily wanted Lila to be related to Lily, then she could have a Marian connection, as lilies are a symbol of Our Lady. If that’s too distant for her though, then I’d look to Gayle — in origin, it’s a short form of Abigail, and Abigail the Matriarch in the Bible, wife of King David, is revered as a saint (feast day September 1); there’s also the Irish St. Gobnat, whose name is sometimes anglicized as Abigail.

As for the names Emily and her hubs are considering for their twin girls (so fun!!), I love Rose Elizabeth! Classy and classic and really faith-y. Rose is a Marian name, and there are so many great Sts. Elizabeth!

I’m not surprised Emily’s hubs likes Ruby, as it’s pretty consistent with their style! You all know I usually start consultations by looking up the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and Ruby is a style match for Rose and Ella (which I’m counting as close enough to Ellen!). Rose and Ruby would be amazing twin names for parents who like matchy names, but if Emily and her hubs don’t, then I agree—it’s too much. It made me think of Scarlett right away though—the color connection between Rose and Scarlett is pretty great and not overly obvious or matchy I don’t think, and I thought Scarlett might be approaching their style, as its length and obvious T’s remind me of Matilda. And it’s got a little southern flare, which Lila on its own and Lila Gayle as a combo also strike me as having. I actually spotlighted Ruby a while ago in order to make some faith connections, and I’d say some of the same ones can work for Scarlett. I also included Scarlett in my lists of names for the Luminous and Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

If they went with Scarlett as a first name, they might like to balance it with a super-faithy middle, maybe a Marian one? Then Rose would have a Marian first name and her sister would have a Marian middle, which is a nice balance.

As for the other names on their list:
— Fiona: I love. It’s classic but a little offbeat, and totally feminine. Like with Scarlett, I’d look to balance it with a super-faithy middle, which is easy to do.
— Lucia: Also love. And it’s very saintly!
— Sylvia: I’m a big fan of going with any name that both parents can agree on! I love Sylvia, as well as its French form Sylvie. This mom named her daughter Sylvie Regina, because of its similarity in sound to the Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen” in Latin), which is such a cool idea.
— Matilda: Another great name, and also saintly. If they don’t care for Maddie/Mattie, other traditional nicknames for it are Tilda and Tilly/Tillie, or they could do something like Molly (based on the M and L in Matilda), which is a Mary variant—a neat way to work in a Marian name, and Molly was actually a style match for Ruby! And speaking of Ruby … I kind of love the combo Matilda Ruby!

Okay, I looked up all the names Emily mentioned in the BNW when looking for more ideas, and came up with quite a few that I thought had potential:

(1) Eva
Eva was a style match for Lila, Rose, and Lucia, so I thought it was a great suggestion for this family! It can be considered a Marian name, as it’s a variant of Eve and Mary is the New Eve. But maybe they don’t care for repeating initials?

(2) Ivy
If Emily and her husband don’t like repeating initials but Eva appeals to them, maybe they’d like Ivy? It’s a match for Lila and Ruby, and is a plant name like Rose, but I don’t *think* Rose and Ivy are too theme-y. Maybe I’m wrong?

(3) Nora
I do like the idea of twins having some connection name-wise (not required of course! Just that I find it pleasant to see), and having the same number of letters in the first name is a cool and not-too-obvious one. Rose and Nora seemed like a good pairing (Nora’s a match for Fiona)—different sounds, different number of syllables, but visually sort of similar.

(4) Stella
Another nice idea between girl twins, as I’ve already mentioned, is for both to have a Marian name. I really like the idea of Rose and Stella—Rose is connected to Our Lady through the rosary and the various times she appeared with roses (Guadalupe, Lourdes, etc.); Stella is connected to Our Lady through her title Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”). Stella’s a style match for both Sylvia and Ruby.

(5) Hazel
Hazel was a style match for Ruby, and I thought it struck the same vibe I’m getting from their name taste as a whole—a little different, a touch of vintage. I like that it’s a nature name too, which has that nice connection to Rose without being too matchy.

(6) Sadie
Sadie was another match for Ruby, and like with Hazel, it just really seemed to strike the right note. It’s a traditional nickname for Sarah, which is where a patron saint could be found (like with Abigail, Sarah the Matriarch, wife of Abraham, is revered as a saint, feast day August 19); there’s also a St. Sara of Antioch.

(7) Adelaide
Adelaide is a match for Matilda, and as soon as I saw it I thought it was a great idea for Rose’s sister. It’s not matchy with Rose at all, but it’s feminine and pretty like Rose is. It’s a long name, so I like the idea of a short middle name—then Rose would have a short first name and long middle, and her sister would have a long first name and a short middle. Very pleasing! (But not necessary, of course!) (This mama, who’s a reader of the blog, named one of her twins Adelaide).

(8) Mae
So what short middle name might I suggest for a longer first name? Mae is a style match for Rose and I LOVE the idea of it as a middle for some of their longer options: Scarlett Mae, Matilda Mae, Adelaide Mae. Not only does it seem to be their style, but it’s Marian! It’s a variant of May, which has long been used as a short variant of Mary, and the month of May—in which the girls are due—is the month dedicated to Our Lady. I love all the connections! I also love Mae as a first name idea—it’s one syllable like Rose, but not matchy. They both evoke springtime and flowers to me, but not in an over-the-top way.

And those are my ideas for Rose’s twin sister! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Twin B, little sister of Ellen and Lila?