Baby name consultation: Remembering Lily in no. 5’s name (boy or girl)

I posted the winner of the giveaway this morning — go check it out if you haven’t already!

Laura and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean 🌱 (=gender unknown)! This little babe joins big sibs:

Thomas Blaise “Blaise”
Augustine “Gus” John
Rose Elizabeth “Rosie”
Lily Marie

So many great names!! 😍

Laura writes,

Finding a name for this little baby has presented more of a challenge. Just over a year ago, my husband and I unexpectedly lost our daughter, Lily, full-term at birth. We chose her name quickly after she arrived, not knowing how much peace it would bring us going forward. Spotting a lily now unites us with our daughter we so grateful yearn for. And having our daughters linked through their flower names is very special to me. Regardless of boy or girl, I’d really appreciate a name that nods to Lily’s memory somehow, if possible.”

It was such a special thing for me to be able to offer some thoughts and ideas for this beautiful family, such a gift.

She continues,

We are unaware of the baby’s sex, but feel especially called to solve the dilemma of keeping or scrapping the flower trend, should the baby be a girl. We also have chosen all saint’s names, other than Lily, who most likely would have been Lillian. We prefer to link each child to a saint.

It seems we also prefer a name that can have a nickname- and are open to the more “non-traditional” nickname options. (Two examples of yours that we LOVE are Miles for Michael and Pierce for Peter.)

We would not consider a “D” first name, and family names to avoid would be: Elisa, Conor, Jameson, Colin, Finn, Cecilia, Mary.

So, the question is, to flower or not to flower?

Laura also said I could share with you all the one photo of they have of the whole family, including Lily:

IMG_4993 2

❤❤❤❤❤

So I wanted tackle their “to flower or not to flower” question first: I love that they have a flower theme, and it sounds like they love it too—if Laura and her hubs were to continue with a flower name for all their girls, their Lily would always be looped in in a way that Laura said is “very special” to her. So my vote is to keep it! Sometimes themes like this can start to feel constraining, even suffocating, if a family continues having a bunch of kids and it becomes increasingly difficult to find names that fit. But I think there are a few ways to work with this theme in such a way that it doesn’t have to feel so. First, there are so many great floral names for girls! And if they opened up their theme to either first or middle name (rather than just first), some of the more unusual options become more doable. Second, if they were to extend their theme to “plants” rather than only “flowers,” or even more broadly to “nature” names, they have a lot more options that can be just as beautiful as flowers. Third, they could choose names that could nickname to flower names, which also loops Lily in an extra way because Lily—though it can be (is) a name on its own—is also traditional nickname for Elizabeth (which also connects Rosie and Lily in a special way!). (I have a suggestion of how to do this below.)

If Laura and her hubs decide the flower (or possibly plant/nature) theme is too restrictive, they could decide to do *Marian names* for their girls instead. Both Rose and Lily are considered Marian names, since they both are symbols of Our Lady, so it wouldn’t be any fuss to change mid-stream as it were and give this baby a Marian name—she’d fit in nicely with both her sisters. I’ve included a non-floral Marian suggestion that I think they might like below as well.

Alright, so first, I had some ideas about how to nod to Lily for both a girl and a boy. I’ll do boy first, since there aren’t as many ways to do so:

(1) Leo
I was trying to think of ways to connect to Lily through name, and one way that parents sometimes honor people is by using the same letter of their first name. After looking up the names Laura and her hubs have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (which you all know is how I start each consultation, as the BNW lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), I actually already had Leo on my list for this family. I also like that, in addition to starting with the same first letter as Lily, it’s short and two syllables, just like Lily. Pope St. Leo the Great is a … *ahem* … great (!) patron as well! 😁

(2) El(l)iot(t), Elijah, Eli, Elias
That first jumble of letters is meant to be Eliot! Or Elliot. Or Elliott. Haha! I thought it could connect to Lily through her traditional usage as a nickname for Elizabeth, drawing on the similar beginnings between Elizabeth and El(l)iot(t). Elliot is also a style match for Miles, which Laura said they like, so Elliot seemed a name they would like. However, I’m also sensitive to the fact that their other kids have names that I would classify as Catholicky Catholic, and Elliot doesn’t really fit into that, so I could see them not loving it as a first name, but having it in the middle spot would be a fine place for Lily’s honor name. Or, perhaps a different El- name that doesn’t seem as similar to their names they like but is more obviously faithy, like Elijah and Eli or, maybe the best fit, Elias (which is the Greek form of Elijah, and is actually where Elliot comes from—Elliot is a medieval diminutive of Elias).

(3) Hawthorn
This is also probably a middle name pick, but I was trying to find what month lilies are the flower for, and I could only find lilies of the valley—one of the flowers of May. Interestingly, May has another flower as well, which is the hawthorn. I’ve actually seen Hawthorn used as a name for a boy (the family that I saw use it—on a name discussion board years ago—used Hawk as the nickname, which I thought was so clever!), and I think for this family it would make an amazing middle name with a really cool tie to Lily. An added fun fact is that there are several titles of Mary related to hawthorns—Our Lady of Arantzazu in Spain is a title for one such apparition (the “arantza” part means “hawthorn” in Basque, and a variant of it — Aranza — which began as a name in honor of OL of Arantzazu was one of the fastest rising girl’s names in 2014 because of a character on a telenovela!).

(4) Pierce or Simeon
Laura already mentioned that they like Pierce, but I think it would make a really nice way to nod to Lily, although in a sad way—this reader said she knows a family who named their son Pierce for the prophecy of Simeon—how Mary’s heart would be pierced by a sword. That’s pretty fitting for a mom who’s lost a baby! Simeon could also work, being the name of the man who prophesied the piercing.

Those are my ideas for first or middle names for boys that can nod to Lily, but I also had some more ideas of first names that they might like. I usually start with girls, but since I’m already talking about boy names I’ll go ahead and do them first:

(1) Xavier
According to the BNW, Xavier’s a style match for Blaise, and its Catholicness also makes it a great match for Augustine. It’s a really fun first name too—you can’t beat that X initial!

(2) Thaddeus
At first I was going to suggest Theodore, as it was listed as a style match for August (as a stand-in for Augustine, as the BNW doesn’t have Augustine) and I liked that it was long, like Augustine, which brings some nice balance to sib set as a whole, but I thought it wasn’t quite right. I often think of Theodore and Thaddeus as two sides of the same coin—they’re so similar but different enough that parents tend to pretty clearly prefer one or the other. The obvious patron is St. Jude Thaddeus of course, but I also love Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty—an Irish Dominican priest martyred for the faith.

(3) Isaac
I really really like Isaac for Laura and her husband! I’ve had it on my own list for ages, and St. Isaac Jogues is the inspiration for me. I know the name is really Old Testament, but to me it’s so saintly—in fact, I overwhelmingly think of St. Isaac before the biblical Isaac. I live near the North American Martyrs’ Shrine, though, which is where he and his companions were killed, and there’s a local church named after him, so it could be a regional thing on my part. I know two little Isaacs — one a brother to Oliver, the other a brother to Owen, so it’s definitely getting use outside of the heavy biblical namers.

(4) Sebastian
As I mentioned with Thaddeus, I was trying to think of longer names that could loop the long Augustine back in with his shortly named sibs Thomas/Blaise, Rosie, and Lily (the nickname Gus is perfect with the others!), and Sebastian came immediately to mind. I think it has that same Catholic cachet as their other names, and some great nicknames too: Seb(by), Bash (like Grace Patton’s Sebastian/Bash), Baz.

(5) Campion
My last idea for them for a boy is Campion, like St. Edmund Campion, but what made me first think of it was when I was trying to think of ways to nod to Lily, I was hung up on finding some flower names that could work for boys (for some reason I’d conflated “nodding to Lily” with “flower names for girls” and was thinking flower names for everyone!)—campion is a pink flowering plant. But then I thought I’d keep it in anyway—St. Edmund’s a great saint, and Cam’s a great nickname, and as I noted in the consultation I did for Jenna at Wilber Huset, 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 is great for a boy—he wouldn’t even need to know about the pink flowers!

(6) Benedict
Nope, I lied—I’m adding one more in. Benedict has the same feel to me as Blaise and Augustine, and Ben is one of the friendliest nicknames, very in keeping with the feel of Gus. It’s also for Pope Emeritus Benedict of course, who I love, and since it means “blessed” they could also think of it as an apt name for being blessed with another baby after losing their Lily.

Now on to the girl names! I came up with loads of flower/plant names that I thought could work with their theme of wanting their girls to have those kinds of names (if they decide to stick with it). I think they’ll see there are a lot of options!

(1) Jacinta
Jacinta is one of my FAVORITE names—I took it as my Confirmation name, and if I’d had a bunch of girls instead of a bunch of boys, Jacinta would have been in there somewhere! Jacinta is the Spanish and Portuguese form of Hyacinth, which is of course a flower, so it sticks with their theme, and also—how perfect to include Jacinta in a name for a girl born right after St. Jacinta’s canonization! Also, Jacinta was such a little girl when she died, and she died alone—Our Lady told her she would, and I saw the most beautiful artistic depiction of her Mary carrying Jacinta to heaven—I’ve found that image so comforting when I think of the baby I miscarried, and I wonder if it might be really meaningful to Laura and her hubs in memory of Lily. I also sort of think of Jacinta as the patron of those who suffer in secret, and the devastation of losing a baby isn’t always as obvious to the outside world. And since they love creative nicknames, Jacinta might be extra perfect for them! I did a spotlight of the name here, along with nickname ideas.  If Laura and her hubs like this idea but not Jacinta exactly, they could also just do Hyacinth, like the Pioneer Woman’s BFF, whom she often refers to as “Hy” on the show.

(2) Violet
Violet was actually a style match for August (standing in for Augustine), Rose, Lily, and Lillian. It’s also considered a Marian name, and would be a perfect sister for Rose and Lily! The only problem with a name like Violet is that it’s so *obviously* floral that it really might make them feel wedded to a style that’s hard to keep up with.

(3) Iris
Iris is also explicitly floral, but it also means “rainbow,” which is so suitable for a rainbow baby and by its very meaning points to the baby who came before. It’s not obviously faithy though, so if they like it maybe they’d prefer it in the middle?

(4) Juniper
If Laura and her hubs wanted to branch out of flowers into plants generally, Juniper’s a great one to consider! St. Junipero Serra’s canonization last year has put this one on the radar of a lot of Catholic families, and Junie is the CUTEST nickname! There’s also a lovely pious tradition that the juniper tree hid the Holy Family from Herod’s men during their flight into Egypt.

(5) Azelie
This name is super saintly (to people like us anyway), like Blaise, Augustine, Rose, and Lily, and also floral without being in your face! A lot of people take Azelie to be a French form of azalea (it is, of course, part of the given name of our St. Zelie—she was born Marie-Azélie). In fact, Lindsay from the blog My Child I Love You has a Rose, Lillie, and Zellie (that’s how they spell them), and she said she loved that the three of them are like a bouquet of flowers.

(6) Margaret or Marguerite nicked Daisy
This is the name I mentioned above that would fit into my idea of having the flower connection come from a nickname. Daisy is a traditional nickname for Margaret! The French form of Margaret, Marguerite, is actually the name of the daisy flower in French! Since Laura and her hubs like creative nicknames, this idea might be right up their alley. There are some great Sts. Margaret too, and it’s obviously saintly like the rest of their crew.

(7) Susanna
I’m not sure if this is overkill or perfect, but I couldn’t not suggest it! According to Behind the Name, Susanna comes from the Hebrew shoshana, which means lily AND it also means rose in Modern Hebrew! So Susanna can tie the other two girls together in one name! Again, I’m not sure if that’s brilliant or just way too much, especially when they consider what to do if they have a fourth girl? As far as saintliness, not only is there a St. Susanna, but the church in Rome for American Catholics is St. Susanna’s, I love that.

Okay! Those are all my flowery ideas for them for a girl, but I had a couple other names that I thought I’d suggest in case they want to put the flower name in the middle and do a non-flower name for the first name:

(1) Clare or Chiara
I probably wouldn’t have included any other ideas than flower ideas except for the fact that Claire and Clara and the next name (Hope) were style matches for them in my research. Clara is a style match for August (standing in for Augustine) and Lilllian, and Claire for Lily, but I thought the variant Clare—often said to have the saintliest feel of the Clare names—was closest to what they’d like. BUT, then I thought maybe the variant Chiara would be an even better fit! It’s got a little more of that heavy feeling that Blaise and Augustine have, and can be for St. Clare of Assisi (whose name was actually Chiara—Clare is an anglicization of it) or Bl. Chiara Luce Badano, who’s such a great patron for modern girls because she herself was a modern girl (she died of cancer as a teenager in 1990).

(2) Hope
Hope was listed as a style match for Pierce, and I immediately thought it was a great idea for Laura and her hubs to consider. It can signify the hope of a new baby after losing their Lily, and can also be for Our Lady of Hope, if they decide to go Marian instead of floral (or even if they do stick with the floral theme! Hope would be a great first or middle coupled with a floral name).

(3) Gemma
I actually didn’t see Gemma listed as a match for any of their names, but it just struck me as one they’d like, and when I looked it up I saw that Violet and Clare are both style matches for it! St. Gemma Galgani is a great patron for a girl and—you guys, get this — when I looked her up I got holy bumps because lilies and roses are two of her symbols! And she’s also known as the Flower of Lucca! Ohmygoodness. Whether they use the name or not, these are such fun details to discover!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Thomas Blaise/Blaise, Augustine/Gus, Rose/Rosie, and Lily that can also nod to Lily?

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?

Birth announcement: Laura Rose!

I’ve been a big fan of today’s mama for a long time — back when I first started this blog, I posted a link to JoAnna’s blog, A Star of Hope, where she had written about how she and her husband had chosen their five born babies’ beautiful names. When JoAnna became a reader here, I was so starry eyed!! She’s been a big contributor to our community, and I’m over-the-moon delighted to share with you that she’s given birth to her sixth born baby — a little lady named … Laura Rose!

JoAnna writes,

Laura is named in honor of her aunt and my younger sister, Laura Linnae Walsvik, who was born at 28 weeks gestation on December 3, 1981 and died December 4, 1981. I was only 13 months old when she was born and died, so I don’t remember her, but I have always thought about her (and later, after I became Catholic, I began asking her to pray for me). Before we officially decided to use Laura as our girl name, I did ask both of my parents how they felt about it first, as we were willing to choose a different name if having a granddaughter named Laura would cause too much pain or sorrow for them. But both of them said they would consider it an honor. 

When I brought up Laura as a name possibility to my husband, he liked it immediately — we were both born and raised in North Dakota, and given the famous writer Laura Ingalls Wilder (one of my favorite authors), we felt it was a name that was a subtle tribute to our “prairie” roots. 

I also liked it because it means “laurel,” which is a symbol of victory, and our Laura is a rainbow baby after two consecutive miscarriages at 12 weeks. Our other girls have flower names as well (Elanor – which is a flower in the Tolkien universe – and Violet) and we didn’t mind continuing the theme.

As icing on the cake, I realized that January 22 was the feast day of Blessed Laura Vicuña. Our baby was due January 23 and ended up coming on January 21!

Rose is a name that I have always loved, and for a long time I wanted to use it as a first name, but my husband preferred it in the middle name slot. My best friend and former college roommate is named Roselyn and goes by Rose, and I wanted to honor her as she has been a good friend to our family. I also liked the nod to St. Rose of Lima. Plus it’s another Laura Ingalls Wilder connection (her only daughter was named Rose).”

Isn’t this great?! I’m so in awe of the layers of meaning in this baby girl’s name, so wonderful!!

Little Laura joins big sibs:

Elanor Mary
Noel (m/c Dec. 2006)
William Joseph
Chris (m/c March 2009)
Violet Elizabeth
Gabriel Keith
Peter David
Francis (m/c June 2015)
Jude (m/c Oct 2015)

Such a beautifully named family!! Congratulations to JoAnna and her husband and their older kiddos, and happy birthday Baby Laura!!

laura_wahlund

Laura Rose

(See more on JoAnna’s Instagram and Facebook!)

Spotlight on: Lily

Months ago one of you asked me via email if I would do a spotlight on Lily, and I’m delighted to oblige today!

There’s so much to say about Lily! First: the flower. The lily is a gorgeous flower, and a gorgeous flower name; as such it can fit in well with other nature-y names from Rose and Heather to River, Willow, and Sage. I love versatility! The lily flower also has a bunch of faith connections — according to this site they include:

The lily is a symbol of purity, and has become the flower of the Virgin. Originally, in Christian symbolism, the lily was used as the attribute of the Virgin Saints. The lily among thorns has become a symbol of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin because of the purity she preserved amid the sins of the world.  The Annunciation, is very much associated with lilies. In many of the scenes of the Annunciation executted [sic] during the Renaissance, the Archangel Gabriel holds a lily, or a lily is in a vase between the Virgin and him. Thus, the lily is also an attribute of the Saint Gabriel.
 
Sometimes the Infant Christ is represented offering a spray of lilies to a Saint, symbolizing the virtue of chastity. As a symbol of chastity, the lily is the attribute of several Saints, among them St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Clare, and St. Joseph. The fleur-de-lis, a variety of lily, is the emblem of royalty. A fleur-de-lis was chosen by King Clovis as an emblem of purification through Baptism, and this flower has since become the emblem of the kings of France. This is why the flower is the symbol of St. Louis of France and St. Louis of Toulouse, both members of the royal house of France. The fleur-de-lis was also the emblem of the city of Florence. As an attribute of royalty, the fleur-de-lis appears on crowns and sceptres of kings and Saints, and is given to the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven.

… The lily of the valley is one of the flowers that signals the return of spring. For this reason it has become a symbol of the Advent of Christ. The whiteness of its flowers and the sweetness of its scent it is a symbol of the Virgin Mary, especially of her Immaculate Conception. The latter meaning is based upon Canticles 2:1 ‘I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valley.'”

A more compact list of holy people and events with whom lilies are associated is here. I also liked this bit from this site:

Flower associations with Mary’s divine prerogatives include, for example, those associated with her Assumption … Among these are the apocraphyl legend of the roses and lilies found in p[ace [sic] of Mary’s body in her tomb; St. Bede’s 6th Century discernment of the tranlucent [sic] whiteness of the petals of the white lily as symbolizing the purity of Mary’s body and the gold of its anthers as symbolizing the glory of her soul, as she was assumed into heaven … Besides the Assumption flowers previously mentioned, there is the white day lily, known as Assumption Lily from it’s mid-August bloom around the time of the August 15th liturgical feast of the Assumption

So lots of beautiful connections for Lily!

But wait! There’s more!

Lily is also a traditional nickname for Elizabeth! Abby at Appellation Mountain explains it thusly:

Before you cry, “No, nope, never – Lily just cannot be a nickname for Elizabeth. That’s all Lillian,” pause and consider this. Lily and Lillian probably started out as nicknames for Elizabeth, at least some of the time. My best guess is that the overwhelming majority of people don’t know this – I’ve found a few message boards with comments like “Lily is not a nickname for Elizabeth.” So, okay, it’s not common knowledge. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t so. The current Queen of England, Elizabeth II, was called Lilibet as a child, which makes me think that the Lily-Elizabeth connection was alive and well until sometime in the early twentieth century.”

At least one of you readers has a daughter named Elizabeth who goes by Lily (you know who you are! If you want to chime in, please do! 😊), I love that option! (I spotlighted Elizabeth here.)

There are lots of Lily names, all of which can trace back to the same faith connections mentioned above. Of course there’s Lillian, which is perfectly in tune with names like Alice, Clara, and Eleanor. Liliana is another gorgeous option, which pulls in St. Anne. 🙂  (Liliana could totally be a Mary+Anne name, or an Elizabeth+Anne name, love it!) Lilia/Lilya is a Slavic variant that I love so much it’s on my long list. Lilly, Lilli, Lili are all legit variant spellings of Lily.

What do you think of Lily, and/or what more do you know about it? Would you name a daughter Lily, or have you? If you would/did, would Lily be the name on the birth certificate, or would it be a nickname for something longer — and if so, what?

Updated to add: How could I forget to include the connection to St. Kateri?? She’s known as the Lily of the Mohawks. 💕

Flowers for Mary, part II

I posted a Flowers for Mary post ages ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to it since then in consultations and my own research for other things. And — breaking news! — I just now clicked on the link I refer to in the post, in order to give some examples of the great names there, and it says Forbidden! What! I’ll have to dig deeper on this, but in the meantime, the actual reason I started writing the post (providential timing!) was to direct your attention to this infographic:

MaryGarden

from Catholic Extension (infographic used with permission).

How great is this resource?? I’ve suggested Lily, Rose, and Violet a million times as Marian names, and I love the descriptions of their Marian connections here.

And I was so excited to see Daisy as being a Marian flower — I hadn’t ever seen that, and I’m forever going on about how Daisy is such a great nickname for Margaret — I LOVE the idea of a Margaret nicked Daisy being able to claim St. Margaret and Our Lady as patrons!! (I’ve already made a Marian connection with the name Pearl, which is what Margaret means, and the Irish Margaret — Mairead — is so similar to the Irish Mary — Maire … I’m leaning really close to calling Margaret a Marian name!)

I’ve also seen Marigold connected to the Crowning of Our Lady (Mary’s Gold), and of course I love all these ideas for an actual garden of flowers and other plants (not just a garden of blooms of the baby variety ☺).

What’s your favorite floral Marian name?