A last couple of things, and happy Easter!

I intended to be off the blog all week, but I feel like I didn’t properly wish you all a very blessed Holy Week and happy happy Easter!!

First, I wanted to share with you this really cool thing: One my dearest friends, who was one of my two original readers (the other being my mom) and has been so supportive and encouraging and helpful to me since I started the blog, referred a friend of hers to me when the friend was trying to come up with a name for a ministry she was starting. It was such fun to work on a project like this! And I was pretty pleased with the ideas I came up with, and she seemed to be too — I just recently read about her new ministry, sporting one of the names I’d suggested, and I’m really delighted to direct you all to her in case you have what she’s looking for. Check it out: The Madonna and Child Project by Alexandra Sullivan Photography (and be sure to check out her work, she’s so talented!).

Second, the consultation scheduled for Easter Monday is going to be a gooood one! The mama’s back again for help naming another baby, and she’s kind of well known in the Catholic blogosphere, and I canNOT wait to post my ideas for her! You’re all going to love it! Such a great way to celebrate Easter!

Finally, I’m going to try really hard to quiet my mind and focus my heart the next few days, which I haven’t found so easy lately, and I hope for the same for all of you during these days we remember Jesus’ Passion and Death, and of course when we celebrate His Resurrection! There’s such a cloud lifted when Lent is over, I always feel like I’ve been holding my breath for six weeks and now it’s time to breathe again. Have a beautiful next few days and weekend!! ❤🙏❤🙏❤🙏

New CatholicMom article up! And some housekeeping

My December column at CatholicMom posted today! Names for an Advent Baby.

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I used this post, as well as your comments on that post, to put it together — thank you for your thoughts!

I also decided to use PayPal buttons for consultations after all (I’d previously said I’d use invoices instead) — I just updated my baby name consultations page with that info — might be the perfect last-minute Christmas gift for any expectant parents you know! 😉

Happy four days until Christmas!! 😁🎄🎁

Special for you, on the feast of St. Nicholas ❤

Happy feast of St. Nicholas to you all!! Isn’t it fun to have this little taste of Christmas a few weeks in advance? 🎅🎄🎁

Last night, on the eve of the feast, I finished a novena to St. Anne, in which I included all of you, with special mentions of those of you who are moms and dads or who want to be; those of you who are struggling with infertility, or struggling with taking care of the children you already have; for your babies here on earth and in heaven; and for any of you who aren’t married and would like to be. St. Anne is, after all, the patron of:

  • against sterility
  • childless people
  • expectant mothers
  • grandmothers
  • grandparents
  • mothers
  • pregnancy
  • pregnant women
  • women in labour
  • unmarried women

among other things (here and here).

This is the novena I used (though I read it out of my Mother’s Manual, which I can’t recommend highly enough, it’s a treasure), and I always love how it says,

Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted

It gives me such hope to know St. Anne’s prayers for us don’t end with the end of the novena, but continue until our requests are granted!

I have another gift for you all: today I’m opening my consultations back up! 🎉🎉🎉🎁🎁🎁 Thank you all for your patience!

I’ve spent the last couple of months finishing up the consultations I already had, as well as trying to figure out the best way to go from a donation-based system to a fee-based system. I think I have it figured out pretty well, and while I’ll no longer be doing them for free, I really wanted to be sure that no one feels like a consultation’s outside their budget if they really need help. So, here’s the deal:

Ordinary Consultation: $50
(“Ordinary,” like “Ordinary Time”! 😂 #liturgicalliving)
An Ordinary Consultation is basically what my consultation posts look like — thorough and full of ideas. Specifically:

  • minimum 5 names for each gender (or 10 for one gender only)
  • guaranteed delivery of consultation within 3 weeks of your email request (or by your due date, if you’re due sooner than 3 weeks from when you email me)
  • if I miss that 3-week deadline (due to the unexpectedies of being a mom or other unforeseen circumstances), I’ll refund half your money and do the consultation as soon as I can
  • guaranteed public post before your due date if you’d like one (I’ll post them on non-Mondays if all my Mondays are full); private consultations are also fine

Mini Consultation: $25
A Mini Consultation consists of:

  • 3 names for one gender only
  • guaranteed delivery of consultation before your due date (I’ll let you know how long I think it’ll take when you email)
  • a Monday post if available (if desired; private is also fine)

I’ve taken down my “Donate” button, and will send invoices instead, so if you’d like a consultation, please email me to let me know which one you’d like and your details (names you like and/or are considering; names of your other children; any other relevant info), and I’ll send you an invoice via PayPal.

Financial Aid
One of the things I like the most about the invoice system is that PayPal allows for invoices to be paid in installments, which is one way of helping make the consultations more affordable — you can pay as much or as little as you can until the full amount has been paid. (Be sure to let me know in your email if you’d like this option.)

I’m also happy to discuss alternative arrangements on a case-by-case basis, based on need — I don’t want anyone to feel excluded, Catholic name consultations are for everyone after all, just like the Church! 😁 — so please don’t hesitate to email me and see what we can work out!

Gift certificates are also available — I can make them up as needed (deliverable via email) if you’d like to give them (or receive them!) as gifts.

I thank you all for your enthusiasm and confidence in regards to these consultations! I’ll be grateful until the day I die that something I’ve loved for so long (i.e., names, and thinking of ideas for other people) is actually of value to others, and I feel blessed beyond measure that I’m able to share my love of our faith through my blog. ♥♥♥

Happy happy St. Nicholas Day!!

Nicknames: Judith, Elodie, Alister/Alistair (unusual)

A mama emailed recently with a slightly different dilemma, on which I’d really like to get your collective input:

Our firstborn’s name is Lafayette and he also goes by the nickname Fayte (rhymes with Nate). I like his combination of a longer classic name (though not common) and a spunky nickname … We lucked out with our son’s name since both the longer form and the nickname were old family names, so we didn’t come up with them ourselves. I’m trying to figure out if we can get a similar combo for this baby without it being too forced.

There are three names (one boy, two girl) that I’m a little stumped about:

Judith is the first girl name. It’s a family name, we like the religious meaning, and the sound of the full name. We aren’t thrilled with Judy since that seems to date the name more and has the confusion issue with the family member we’d be honoring. I’ve seen Jude as the only other recommendation, and while I like it a little better, I’m not thrilled with the unisex-leaning-male aspect of the name.

Elodie is the other girl name. I think Ella/Ellie is a cute nickname, but a little more common than I’d like since it seems there are many other in vogue names that lend to those nicknames. I probably like Ellie better of the two. Seems like there should be other options though!

Alister (or Alistair) is the boy name. We haven’t landed for sure on the spelling we’d choose, so could potentially be flexible if it lended itself to a good nickname. Al or Aly are the only suggestions I’ve seen, and aren’t wild about either.”

I looooooove thinking up unusual nicknames!! And I love Lafayette nicked Fayte, and how awesome that they’re both family names?!

First up: Judith. I did a spotlight post a while back on Judith and in it I said:

Behind the Name gives several variants of Judith (Jutta, Judyta, et al.), but you know it’s the nicknames I get most excited by! Judy is super cute, but maybe still feels a little dated? It has its own history as a given name, peaking a few years later than Judith but dropping out of sight quicker, so it might have a little more of a date-stamped feel, but it’s not the only option: Jody/Jodie are possibilities, according to behindthename, which makes me also think of Jo and Josie (especially, maybe, with an S middle name? Judith Siena, for example, could easily be Josie) … or maybe pair it with an N middle name for Junie or Juno? Maybe Judith Noelle? Even Julie for something like Judith Louisa? Am I scaring you yet? Haha!

Looking back on this again, I do love the idea of something like Judith Siena nicked Josie, or Judith Noelle/Naomi/Noemi nicked Junie or Juno. Or Jennie? Judith Marie could be Jamie? I often find that, with first names that are hard to nickname, looking at a firstname+middlename mashup-type nickname works really well.

Elodie is a gorgeous name, I just love it, and I agree that Ella and Ellie are cute nicknames, but yes, fairly common. Possible alternatives:

  • Lola—originally a nickname for Dolores! But the Lo- of Elodie totally makes it do-able.
  • Nell—if I understand correctly, Nell (and Nancy and Ned) came from the old English way of saying, “Mine El” for Eleanor/Ellen/Elizabeth (or “Mine Anne” for Anne, or “Mine Ed” for Edward), so I think Nell could then work for any El- name. And how sweet that its origin is “Mine El”—so endearing!
  • Edie—just drop the “lo” in the middle of Elodie!
  • Dicey—apparently an old nickname for Edith (Edie made me think of Edith)
  • Liddy—the way I say Elodie sounds pretty close to “EL-liddy”
  • Didi—from the last syllable
  • Dolly—if it can work for Dorothy, it can work for Elodie, which actually has “dol” within it (though backwards)
  • Dodie—another old nickname for Dolores; I could totally see something like Dodie arising organically from Elodie
  • Edda—like Etta
  • In smushing-with-the-middle-name fashion, what about something like:
    — Evie for Elodie Victoria
    — Elsie for Elodie Siena, Elodie Seraphine, Elodie
    — Dot(ty) for Elodie Therese
    — Dixie for Elodie Beatrix or Elodie Xavier (Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini could be patron instead of St. Francis Xavier, if parents like Xavier but didn’t want to be too gender bending. Of course Mother Cabrini chose the name after St. FX, but still)

Alister/Alistair I had the hardest time with! I did a bunch of research looking for ideas and came up with a few:

  • Ace—my first idea and the only suggestion I came up with on my own! I think it could work just for Alister/Alistair, as they have the A and the S sound, but something like Alistair Clement would make a lot of sense, with the A+C
  • Alec—I saw several places that Alec is often used as a nickname for Alistair, since it’s a form of Alexander. As with Ace, a C- middle name could make more sense of it to others
  • Aston/Astin—I wanted to suggest Astor, but the comments I saw online made me think it would skew more feminine for most people (like the girl name Aster, which also sounds similar to the girl name Astrid), but then I thought maybe Aston/Astin? Like the Aston Martin or actor Sean Astin
  • Ari, Arlo, Alfie—I really liked Ari when I saw it online—a mom considering Alistair for her son was considering Ari as a nickname, as well as Arlo and Alfie
  • Abe—someone else online was considering Alistair with a B middle name and planning on Abe as the nickname. I love that! Alistair Benedict/Benjamin, Alistair Beau, Alistair Brendan?
  • Art—Alistair has all the right letters for Art!
  • Ladd(y)—with a switch to the Alasdair spelling, Ladd or Laddy could work. The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond, chef on Food Network)’s husband’s name is Ladd, and Laddy feels really Scottish!
  • Ty—because Alistair has the prominent T in it, I think something like Ty could work
  • Tad, Taz—these might make more sense with the right middle name … Alistair Daniel? Alistair Xavier? Alistair Zachary?
  • Iss—crazy, right? But I saw Iss online as a nickname someone had heard used for Alistair! (I also saw Eck used for Alexander, and Ish for Aloysius!)

And those are all my ideas! How about the rest of you? What unusual nicknames ideas could you offer for Judith, Elodie, and Alister/Alistair?

Birth announcement: Adelaide Elizabeth!

I know I said I’d be off the blog — and I am! But birth announcements are too celebratory not to post!

I did a private consultation for a mama a while ago, and she’s let me know her baby has arrived — a little girl named … Adelaide Elizabeth!!

She writes,

I just wanted to update you that our baby was born on the 14th … Her name is Adelaide Elizabeth. Adelaide we settled on early, and the middle name Elizabeth was not one of my first ideas and isn’t as strong a family name as her older two siblings (with their parents’ first names as middle) but I did have a great-grandmother Elizabeth and it’s been a middle name for various family members on both sides. I’m undecided as Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, or Elizabeth Seton as a patron…so maybe both?

She’s a darling baby and we’re so thrilled!

How wonderful!! I LOVE the name Adelaide! And of course Elizabeth, I mean, come on. What a great combo. Her big sibs are:

Penelope Theresa
Leo Elliot

Love love love. A little offbeat but totally classic at the same time. Beautiful job, Mom and Dad!

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

adelaide_elizabeth

Adelaide Elizabeth

Sancta Nomina goes audial

So this posted today:

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Hosted by these lovely ladies:

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Can you believe it? I barely can myself! So exciting! I’m sure you’ll have as much fun listening to Haley, Christy, and I chat about name as I had doing the actual chatting, and you’ll get to hear the name ideas I have for them if they’re blessed with more babies — be sure to let me know if you agree or disagree with my ideas, and what others you would offer based on the names they’ve already used for their kiddos!

Let’s Talk About Catholic Baby Names with Kate Towne

(When you click the link you’ll see there’s even a crazy pic of the paper I’d written my ideas for them on — that’s how I do consultations! Old school paper and pen, lots of arrows and doodling and notes in the margins. I will just say there’s an extra lot of doodling on this paper because I had it in front of me while I was talking to them, and if I have paper in front of me I.will.doodle.)

Baby name consultant: German name needed for Little Sister

Hellooooo 2016!! 😀

This new year is starting off with a really fun consultation from one of my very first and wonderfully loyal readers:

Alyssa and her husband Klaus are expecting their second baby, a little girl! She joins big brother:

Konrad Wolfgang

Which is such an amazingly fabulous name! It’s bold, traditional, saintly, and I love how unapologetically German it is, and how they just own it!

Alyssa writes,

I’m very excited to have just found out we are expecting a baby GIRL in March! … Here’s some info about our family:

My husband’s name is Klaus Wolfgang and for obvious reasons he really likes German names. It’s the only thing he really claims as his “style.” Our son is Konrad Wolfgang, which began as a compromise name as Klaus wanted a Klaus, Jr. but I really wasn’t going for it. So we compromised and he agreed that if the baby could have his initials, he would settle for “not a junior” and of course it had to be German. So we happened upon Konrad and fell in love. It suits him perfectly and we get lots of compliments on it. We love that it is a saint’s name, along with Wolfgang, and we found out after he was born that it was actually his great-grandmother’s maiden name, too. So, bonus points for the family connection!

I love every single detail! I also really love that the compromise Alyssa and her hubs worked out was that they wouldn’t do the Junior he wanted, but they would use his initials — and with both Klaus and Konrad being super German, and Wolfgang being their shared middle name, it really really works as a pseudo Junior. Nice job!

For this baby our “rules” are — must be German or have German usage, and can not start with a K. So far we only have two real contenders: Louisa and Mabel. I don’t believe either of them are saint names, which is a little disappointing to us. But I really like them both!

The middle name will definitely be Marie, as is customary with almost all of the girls in my family and of course I’m happy that it honors our Blessed Mother. I REALLY tried to talk Klaus into Edelweiss (nicknamed Ada) because throughout this pregnancy I’ve had a strong devotion to Ven. Edel Quinn. I actually hadn’t heard of her until your blog post a while ago! So I looked her up and really took to her story and her mission. Unfortunately, Edelweiss is just too out there for him. I understand, but am still a little disappointed. I was thinking about trying to sneak it in as a second middle name but since two middles aren’t really customary in either of our families, I fear it may come off as a little pretentious. What are your thoughts on two middle names? Any other suggestions on girls names?

There are so many fun things to talk about here! German names; are-they-or-aren’t-they-saints-names; to use a second middle name or not? Let’s dig in!

I really like working on consultations for families wanting really ethnic names. I’ve learned so much about names and cultures from doing them! So I was excited to focus on German names or names with German usage for this family.

I love both Louisa and Mabel! Regarding the saintliness of Louisa — I’ve found a St. Louise who’s also known as St. Luisa and a Bl. Louise who’s also known as Bl. Louisa, both of which can work for patrons for a little Louisa, as can any of the Sts. Louis (de Montfort is a personal fave), and Louisa and Louise are the the same name, really, just linguistic variants (Louisa is the “Latinate feminine form of Louis” and Louise is the “French feminine form of Louis,”) but I do get that it’s kind of a bummer that “St. Louisa” doesn’t yield any results.

As for Mabel, it’s kind of an exciting option because Mabel is a medieval feminine form of Amabilis, which is the name of a male saint, BUT it’s also part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable, where amiable=lovable). So Mabel’s a Marian name! I would be so over-the-moon excited if I discovered that a name I loved but didn’t think had any saintly connection turned out to be a Marian name! I would think using a Marian first name would knock out Marie as a middle name, but maybe I’m wrong? There’s not really anything weird about Mabel Marie, and in fact it reinforces the Marian connection (like: “Mother Most Amiable, Mary”), but Alyssa and Klaus could also see it as an opportunity to use a different middle name. Like Edelweiss! I just died over the idea of Edelweiss nicked Ada, love love love!!! And that Alyssa has a devotion to Ven. Edel Quinn is amazing! Since her hubs isn’t into using it for a first name, I wonder if they would consider using just Ada as a first name? It’s sweet and spunky on its own, I think, and a fun connection is that the day after I sent this info to Alyssa, I discovered it was the feast of St. Ada! (And yes, you better believe I emailed her right away to let her know — how crazy is that?!) Otherwise, I love the idea of Mabel Edelweiss. Gorgeous!

If they don’t like that idea, though, of course I totally understand. It’s really cool that Alyssa’s family has a tradition of the girls having Marie as a middle! Another way to perhaps keep with the tradition but use another name (like Mabel) might be to re-form it as “all the girls in our family have a Marian name for either their first or their middle name.”

Which brings me to the question about two middle names. I don’t think two middle names are a bad thing! I’ve never really thought of them as pretentious either, though I could see that … something like Sebastian Roderick Maximilian does sound kind of … uppity. But something like Julia Janine Marie doesn’t to me — I would be more likely to assume the parents tried to get in two honor names. Full disclosure: three of my five siblings have two middle names! It can be kind of a hassle with official forms and such, as forms aren’t set up (in America) to take more than one middle name, so the second middle often gets dropped. I don’t think that’s necessarily a deal breaker though — I actually think it can be freeing, because you can do whatever the heck you want with the second middle name (and the third, fourth, etc., if you so choose) if you think of it more like your child’s “real” name as opposed to their “legal” name. It’s an interesting distinction — for most people, they’d probably say their real name *is* their legal name — that’s the definition of “real name.” But Alyssa and her hubs could absolutely have their baby’s legal name be Louisa Marie, and her “real” name be Louisa Marie Edelweiss, and they can bring her up knowing that, and it’ll just be part of her identity, separate from what the government knows. I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t make any sense, but it seems maybe sort of thrillingly subversive! (And now you know just how big of a name nerd I am! Haha!)

I was excited to see what other ideas I could come up with for this little girl, based on Konrad, Mabel, and Louisa, using my trusty Baby Name Wizard book (both the names listed as similar to those Alyssa and Klaus like, and its list of German names), and the list of German names at behindthename.com as well. I have five names that I think they might be intrigued by:

(1) Some form of Adele
I was absolutely amazed to see that Adela was listed as similar to Louisa, and Della (a diminutive of Adela) was similar to Mabel, both of which remind me of Ven. Edel Quinn because apparently her parents intended to name her Adele but the priest misheard and thought they meant Edel, like a diminutive of Edelweiss. So Adele and related names could be a really nice nod to Ven. Edel! Some other variants with German usage include Aleida, which I thought was really pretty (though I did read there’s a character by this name on Orange is the New Black, which I’ve never seen, so I don’t know if it’s a bad association, or neutral?), and Adelheid (though I personally prefer the variant Adelaide, which loses the German flavor though), and Adelais, which I thought was quite pretty.

(2) Eleanora/Eleanore
This would have been my first suggestion if it wasn’t for the connection of Adele to Edel, because Eleanor was listed as similar in style to Louisa; Elinor to Konrad; and Nell (a traditional nickname for Eleanor/Elinor) as similar to Mabel! Wow! The German variants were listed on behindthename as Eleonora, Eleonore, Leonore, Lore, and Nora. I like them all for this family. The El- also kinda reminds me of Edelweiss/Edel.

(3) Greta
This is one of my very favorite German names, and when I saw it listed as similar to Konrad, I knew I had to suggest it. It could work as a nickname for Margaret/Margareta, or it could be a given name on its own. The Margaret names mean “pearl,” which is always so great too — I’d feel so lucky to have pearls be “my” gem, you know? And the name Pearl was listed as similar to Mabel!

(4) Hildi
I couldn’t let a German consultation go by without suggesting Hildi! I’ve been pushing it on everyone recently, haha! It’s in honor of St. Hildegard of Bingen, who was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict. Such a big deal to have a female Doctor as a patron saint! I’m pretty sure Hildegard’s a bit much, though, and I know a little one named Hildi for St. Hildegard and I always think it’s just the sweetest. If Hildi feels too nicknamey, Hilde and Hilda are both full names, but I think Hildi works on its own just fine.

(5) Liesl
I know you’re going to laugh, but Edelweiss make me think of Liesl because of the Sound of Music! Haha! I love the name Liesl, and if we had any German I’d totally try to use it! Being that it’s a short form of Elisabeth, it’s got a saintly connection, and it kind of reminds me of Louisa sound-wise. Alyssa and her hubs could also do Elisabeth with Liesl as a nickname.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for a little sister to Konrad in a very German family?