Birth announcement: Helena Faustina James!

I spotlighted Amy’s beautiful family almost a year ago, and I’m thrilled to share that she’s had her TWELFTH baby — a baby girl! (Bringing the total to six boys and six girls!) She’s been given the gorgeous, meaningful name … Helena Faustina James!

Amy writes,

[Hubby] and I wanted to keep with the theme of John Paul II [like their previous child]. I liked Karol and Karolina. Ryan did not. Being frequent visitors and going to the JP2 shrine, we decided to learn more about St. Faustina, as she was also a Polish saint and JP2 canonized her and instituted Divine Mercy Sunday. I liked Faustina! Ryan did not. 😂 After researching a bit more we found out her name before becoming a nun was Helena Kowalska. Finally a name we both liked and I felt strongly about Faustina being her middle name. 2 weeks before she was born we lost my dear father in law. We decided to honor him and include his name in Helena’s as she was the only grandchild who never got to meet her beloved “Poppy”. Now he will always be with her. ❤ “

This is such a great name story! I love the connection to St. John Paul II in a way that both Amy and her hubby could agree, and I love that they were able to work in Ryan’s dad’s name. Perfect, all around!

Congratulations to Amy and Ryan and big sibs Ray, Josie, Brady, Sean, Evan, Bennett, Mary, Finnian, Charlotte, Sloane, and John Paul, and happy birthday Baby Helena!! Check out her sweet face over on Amy’s Instagram!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

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CatholicMom articles–December and January

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to be sure to share the links to my December and January CatholicMom articles. Enjoy!

Here’s December’s: The Most Famous Reindeer of All

And January’s: The Special Things Women Are Given

catholicmom_screen_shot-december2018.jpgcatholicmom_screen_shot-january2019.jpg


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Celebrity guest: Amy, mom of 11!

Don’t forget to enter the Mother’s Day giveaway I announced at the end of my previous post! You have until midnight (Eastern) on Saturday (May 19) to email me your entry. And if you haven’t listened to my interview on Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary on Mater Dei Radio, you still can!

I’ve followed Amy Laddbush on Instagram for a while, and as I told her, I just love seeing the joy that comes through the pictures of life with her six boys (like me) … and five girls! (Not like me! Wow!) Yes, ELEVEN children! And they all have amazing names too! Though I’d picked up some of their names here and there through various posts, it wasn’t until I read this article about her and her family that I was able to see them all. Ever since then I’ve wanted to contact Amy to see if she would mind telling me about the namesof her kiddos so I could share with you all here, and I’m so glad I finally did! I know you’re going to love reading this. 🙂 ❤

laddbush_family
Photo credit: Annie Norton

Our oldest, Ray, is 20. His full name is Ray Tucker Shourds Laddbush. We had him when we were young. We were both 20 when I was pregnant, and 21 when he was born. I remember I had a baby name book that we looked through. After finding out we were having a boy, I wrote down all of my top boy names in the book. I let Ryan pick out of those choices. Ray is a family name, my great grandfather was named Ray — not Raymond. I let Ryan pick the middle name Tucker. He liked that name a lot, and I thought it was cute. Shourds is my maiden name. Because we were unmarried at the time, at birth, I named him Ray Tucker Laddbush Shourds. After we were married less than a year later, we had his name legally changed to Ray Tucker Shourds Laddbush. (Confirmation name St. Padre Pio).

Josie is 17. Her full name is Josie Layne Laddbush. We liked the name Josie from the song “Josie” by Steely Dan. Layne was just something cute we came up with. I don’t know why we spelled it that way! Like Ray, it’s just Josie — not Josephine. (Confirmation name St. Joan of Arc).

After Josie is our daughter, Brady Ann. She is 14. I liked the meaning of Brady because it means “spirited”. She was very active in the womb. She is still a very active young lady. The name suits her, even though it is predominately male. Ann is a middle name/family name on Ryan’s side of the family that we thought sounded cute. (Confirmation name St. Patrick).

Next is Sean Patrick Whetzell, age 12. I liked Sean because it was the Irish form of John. Patrick just had to go with a Sean. Whetzell is my husband’s second middle name (he is Ryan Francis Whetzell Laddbush). We wanted to pass down the Whetzell name which is Ryan’s grandfather’s last name. He has 3 daughters (one being Ryan’s mom), and Ryan was the only grandson in the whole family. This was a nod keeping with the theme of the men/boys having 4 names (2 middle names). Also keeping with somewhat of a theme of having last names as middle and first names! (like Brady).

Next is Evan Matthew, age 10. At this point we decided 2 names was enough. I liked the name Evan, I can’t remember why, and Matthew is my brother’s middle name. I thought it sounded good so we went with it.

After Evan is Bennett Francis, age 9. He was supposed to be Francis Bennett. Francis after Ryan’s middle name and I don’t know where we got Bennett, but we liked it. After he was born, I thought he looked more like a Bennett, so Bennett Francis it is.

Number 7 is Mary Catherine, age 8. Mary is named after Ryan’s grandmother Mary Laddbush and Catherine is his other grandmother Catherine Whetzell. Easy peasy. At this point we realized I guess we are one of those big Catholic families, so we had better have a Mary.

Number 8 is Finnian Fritz, age 6. We call him Finn. Ryan came up with Finnian after researching saint names and found a St. Finnian. Fritz is named after Ryan’s grandfather, George, nicknamed Fritz.

Number 9 is Charlotte Jones, age 5. I don’t know how we got Charlotte, but we loved it. Jones is my grandmother’s maiden name. We thought we would call her Charlie Jones, or CJ, or something cool like that. Somehow she got the nickname Kitty and we’ve been calling her that since she was a baby. We try to call her Charlotte but she likes the name Kitty.

Number 10 is Sloane Stewart (Mary), age 3. I remember being pregnant and watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and hearing the name Sloane. I thought it was a cool name. Stewart is named after Ryan’s grandmother’s maiden name. Her name on her birth certificate is Sloane Stewart. When she got baptized, our associate pastor at the time, Fr. Lewis, asked if he could throw a Mary in there, so we said sure. Her baptismal name is Sloane Stewart Mary.

And finally number 11 is John Paul Nicholas, age 2. When I was pregnant with him, I read the book Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves. Saint John Paul became my best friend after that, so I had to honor him by naming my son after him. The December before he was born, there was a tragic car accident involving in my cousin’s best friend’s death. His name was Nicholas Cassidy (Nick). He was only 22. Also at this point we had a family devotion to St. Nicholas.

Unfortunately we have not been able to get pregnant since John Paul. We will be 42 this summer, it’s been a good ride. If we are blessed with another baby, I like the name Karol Józef, named after my good friend, Karol Józef Wojtyła.”

How wonderful is all this?? There’s so much here that I love! I love how Amy and her hubs just chose names they loved, I love what an eclectic bunch of names they used, and how many family names are woven into the first+middle combos. I love that they were like, “At this point we realized I guess we are one of those big Catholic families, so we had better have a Mary.” I love that Finn’s middle name is “after Ryan’s grandfather, George, nicknamed Fritz” (I love those kinds of name stories! I’d love to know how George came to be known as Fritz!) and that Charlotte has always gone by Kitty (and prefers it). I love that Sloane has Mary added on her baptismal certificate. And of course, I love that St. John Paul II is Amy’s “best friend.” ((sighing with happiness))

Thank you to Amy for such a lovely, intimate look at her beautiful children’s names!


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

Reading round-up (including a birth announcement!)

Happy Saturday! There a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you, so I’m putting them all here in this post!

First up, Blythe (whose consultation posted back in October and whose baby was born in March — check out her Instagram @blythefike! [which I can’t link to here for some reason, darn computer]), posted yesterday all about her little guy’s name! I loved the first+middle combo ever since I first saw her announcement on IG, and I love the story of how they chose it! It’s a great example of a great nickname being the tipping point in favor of a name.

This post on the Blessed Is She blog was fun to read: Not-So-Typical Unique Catholic Baby Names. I jumped right to the boy list (for obvious reasons) and was pleasantly surprised by Drexel — I don’t think I’ve ever once thought of Drexel as a first name for a boy or a girl! I also loved the idea of Sully as a nickname for Solanus (Sonny had been my previous go-to, and I’d thought of Solly, but I like Sully even better), and in the comments, someone shared that she knows a little Charlotte, named in honor of JP2, whose nickname is Lola as a nod to Lolek! LOVE IT!

I just read this morning that the Schwandt family, who had thirteen boys and was expecting again, had their baby — another boy!! Congratulations to them!! And the name story is pretty funny!

Adding to our posts on literary names, this article on famous novelists deeply influenced by their Catholic faith is a good resource.

I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did! Have a blessed day! (My 11yo has been saying that to everyone, every day, at home and at school, he’s the sweetest.)


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org, and should be available on Amazon soon!

Birth announcement: Wendy Emilia! (And a St. Gerard story!)

Do you all remember last year when I posted about the priest who’d done a mission at our parish and told us about his great regard for St. Gerard’s intercession in helping couples conceive? And how he would encourage couples to pray to St. Gerard and then let him know when they were expecting a baby, because he was so confident that St. Gerard would come through? I just got the most amazing email the other day!

Evva (who I follow on Twitter) writes,

Hi!
I found your blog about a year ago and started following you on twitter. At that time my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for a little while and reading about and talking baby names was so fun and loved all the name information you had! After some more time passed I was started to get discouraged we still weren’t getting pregnant and around that time you posted something about St Gerard and his intercession for anyone who wanted a baby. After that I decided my husband and I would pray a saint Gerard novena. My husband is not catholic so it was his first time praying one. Anyway that very next month I found out we were pregnant!! I couldn’t believe it. I just wanted to reach out to you and say thank you and share our story, My baby girl was born on the feast of the immaculate conception!

OHMYGOODNESS!! What an awesome story!!

So of course I had to ask all about this baby girl! Evva explained,

Like I said before my husband isn’t catholic so the real catholicky names he wasn’t going for haha. We had a real tough time picking a girl name for some reason we just couldn’t agree on anything so settling on one was a lot of back forth but we finally decided on the first name Wendy for no reason aside that it was one we could both agree on. And for her middle name we went with Emilia. I read on your blog that it was Saint Pope John Paul II’s mom name and I loved it plus I thought it flowed nicely with the first name. 

Here’s a few pictures of her with a St Gerard medal I bought soon after we completed our Novena.”

Wendy Emilia

Isn’t this all so wonderful?! Congratulations to Evva and her husband, and happy birthday Baby Wendy!! (And if any of you have St. Gerard stories, I’d love to hear them!)

Birth announcement: Caroline Sophia!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her little one has arrived, a sweet little girl with the beautiful name … Caroline Sophia!

She writes,

Sorry this has taken so long, but I wanted to share with you that our little Caroline Sophia was born on September 12! Even though we didn’t actually use any new names you suggested for us, we loved doing the consultation through you! Seeing so many different choices really solidified for us why we loved the name ‘Caroline Sophia.’ 🙂

We decided that it would really mean a lot to my mom to have a child named after her. She is super sentimental, and although we really didn’t love ‘Sophia’ as a first name, somehow it was beautiful for a middle name. It was very providential, because my mom was at the birth for our first child, and not the next three. She was always watching our older kids while I was in labor at the hospital. For Caroline, our fifth child, the other four were all in school during the day, so Grandma got a break. She ended up being born at 9:30am, and after my mom dropped off all the big kids at school at 8am, she was able to come to help and witness my crazy fast and intense labor and birth. We didn’t plan it that way, but since it was my fastest birth, I really did need another person there to help besides my husband. And, when Caroline came out and we told her the name, Grandma just lost it! 👍😂 it was perfect!

JP2 has always been someone we loved, but I just have really gotten to know him a lot more the past five years. So, after ‘trying’ out other names on the Baby in utero, we just couldn’t go with anything else besides naming Caroline after him. 😁❤️

She is just about two months old now, completely perfect and gorgeous, and smothered by siblings and everyone else constantly. 🙂 “

I love this name story so much!! I love how meaningful both the first and middle name choices are, and I love that “Grandma just lost it” upon hearing that her name is the baby’s middle name. So wonderful!!

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

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Caroline Sophia on her baptism day this past weekend, with her blanket and St. JP2 doll her godparents made for her

Celebrity guest: Katie, mom who did the John Paul + middle thing really well

I met Katie, one of you wonderful readers, at the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference in October, and I got to meet her littlest guy, snoozing away in his wrap (soooo cute. I.love.babies!), who has one of my very favorite names for one of my very favorite saints: John Paul!

So of course we started chatting about names, and she was telling me that her husband hadn’t wanted John Paul to have a middle name, because he thought that three names was too much, and my interest was immediately piqued, because I know this very issue has been struggled with regarding this very name by some of you (and myself as well!).

So I was literally waiting with bated breath to hear how they resolved it (not even joking, I’m a little breathless about names 😂) when we got interrupted (this sweet old lady came over to tell Katie how much she reminded her of the Madonna and Child, which she totally did) and I never heard the rest of the story.

So yes, I emailed Katie! And we had a nice virtual chat and she said it would be okay for me to post about her John Paul’s name, as well as her seven other kiddos’ names! I’m so excited to introduce this beautiful family to you today and share their names with you!

To start, here’s the end to the John Paul + middle name story:

Yes, he said three names were too many so we were at an impasse. I ended up having a c-section bc baby turned to breech in labor. After [my husband] saw the c-section, I was wheeled back into my room. He said “I’ll name this baby anything you want!” So we went with John Paul on the birth certificate but John Paul Anthony is his name on his baptism certificate, birth announcement, etc. Turns out the husband was just worried about the blanks on the birth certificate form.”

Isn’t that a fantastic solution?! I could see a lot of people being really relieved to let go of the idea that the child’s name can only be what’s on the birth certificate. Like, the legal name is the legal name, but the legal name doesn’t have to be *the name*, you know? I kind of love the idea of a baby’s *real name* only being official with the Church and friends/family/real life. And doing so opens up so many options!

Of course I wanted to know what little John Paul Anthony’s big sibs were named, and I really love each one of them and the reasons behind them:

Daniel Thomas (“named for family friend & my step-dad“)

James Michael (“we liked James & Michael is for my husband“)

Joseph William (“we just liked those names“)

Benjamin Jon (“liked the name Benjamin, Jon is the husband’s middle name“)

Samuel Luke (“I liked the names & the Bible theme…kids liked Sam Gribley from My Side of the Mountain and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars“)

Twins:
Robert Jacob (“Robert because the husband REALLY liked the name and I was so pregnant with twins that I had no energy to argue. Jacob is for my great grandfather“)

Mary Lucille (“Mary for my grandmother, Lucille because we were going to call her Lucy. But when she was born, I was asking for Mary’s intercession in labor & as I was hemorrhaging after. So when I held our little girl, I felt like a heel not calling her Mary. 😁 “)

John Paul Anthony (“love JP2, all the dads and grandpas are named John. Anthony is because with all these boys, I have a devotion to St. Anthony. Without him we would never go anyplace bc we would never have keys or socks“)

My naming style is less traditional…if it were up to me, we’d have Gavin, Ignatius, Leo, Henry, etc. the husband likes the 80s names…So I consider our name choices a good compromise.”

I LOVED reading all of this! All those boys! And that one sweet little lady! I died over Katie’s comment that Mary Lucille was supposed to be Lucy but after Our Lady’s intercession in labor “I felt like a heel not calling her Mary”!! 😂😂😂

 

Thank you so much to Katie for sharing all this fun and fabulous info with us! Check out her beautiful children (all photos taken by Mary Wiseman):

View More: http://weekly.pass.us/katie-1

Age order: Daniel, James, Joseph, Benjamin, Samuel, Robert, Mary, and John Paul

Some really cute ones of her younger kiddos:

Clockwise from top left: John Paul, Samuel, Joseph, Mary and Bobby, Dad and Bobby, Mary

💖👕👕👕👕👕👕👗👕💖