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?

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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?