Birth announcement: Gregory Conrad!

I posted a consultation for Amanda and her hubs a couple of months ago, and she’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the amazingly perfect name … Gregory Conrad!

Amanda writes,

Gregory Conrad was born yesterday, the feast of St Cecilia (patron saint of musicians) and the anniversary of when this sweet little guy’s daddy asked me to marry him 13 years ago.

Our Little “Rory” is named after Pope St Gregory the Great, who was also a wonderful musician and created the Gregorian Chant, and his daddy, Vincent Conrad, who was named after a grandfather Conrad as well. 🙂

I thought you would also like to know that on the way to the hospital, we looked up male patron saints of musicians and Gregory was at the top of the list. That kind of made up our minds, even before we saw his face, because Gregory and Sylvester were our top two at that point!! If that’s not a sign from Heaven, I don’t know what is 🙂

We let [daughter] Ellie pick his middle name when the kiddos met him, giving her the choices of Lucas, Conrad, or Jonah (because it means stubborn!). She was pretty tickled to get to help. We will also shorten it to “Rory” or even ‘Gregor’ … but not ‘Greg,’ as I’m just not crazy about one syllable. Please keep baby and I in your prayers, as it was a very long and difficult labor and delivery. So thankful he is here and healthy!

Gregory with the nickname Rory was on Amanda’s initial list this time around, and it’s an option I’ve long loved and suggested on the blog! I love it! There’s so much meaning in this little guy’s name and birth, from the connection to music (Amanda’s a musician), to his birthday being the anniversary of the day Amanda and her hubs got engaged, to his name being a five-syllable combo, just like his big brothers and sister, wow!

Please do keep Amanda and her baby boy in your prayers! Congratulations to the whole family, including big sibs Oliver, Elizabeth, Theodore, Henry, and Adrian, and happy birthday Baby Gregory!!

Gregory Conrad with his mama and big brothers and sister

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Spotlight: Callixtus

I really wanted to post a name spotlight today, and could not for the life of me think of a name to spotlight! I have a running list of names I’d like to feature, but I can’t put my hand on it at the moment (and if any of you are waiting for one that I’ve promised, maybe shoot me an email to remind me! So sorry!). So I asked my oldest, who I had to pick up early from school because he wasn’t feeling well, what some of his favorite names are, and was surprised that Callixtus was in the mix! So that’s today’s name!

My son was like, “I’m not sure you’ve heard of this name,” and I was like, “Do you even know me, boy?!”, but beyond being a collector of Catholic names (although I admit I’ve been surprised a time or two by new-to-me names), I knew a friar/professor in college with the variant Callistus (his religious name), and I’ve actually given it some thought, mostly because of the nickname Cal, which I love (the friar went by Fr. Cal).

Behind the Name gives Callixtus as a variant of Callistus, “the spelling perhaps influenced by Latin calix ‘wine cup.'” Callistus is from the Greek Kallistos, meaning “most beautiful,” and the feminine name Callista is from the same. I just said to my son, “Callixtus is from the Greek for ‘most beautiful'” and he said, “Oh! I thought it came from ‘chalice.'” What a smartie! Our “chalice” comes from “calix,” so he really did know more about the name than I did!

There are a bunch of Sts. Callistus, including two Popes (Pope St. Callistus I and Pope St. Callistus II), and funny enough, when I searched CatholicSaints.info for Callixtus, only Pope St. Callistus I comes up — he’s got an interesting story. I kind of like the X spelling — X is a hot letter right now, and I really do like the connection to “chalice.” I also looked up Calix because I thought I’d remembered seeing that name on a child before, and it does seem to be mostly given as a short form of Callixtus, though a calyx is also the “chalice-shaped” part of a flower. I’m loving all these connections to the chalice! Callixtus is such a meaningful name!

What do you think of Callixtus (or Callistus)? Would you name a boy so, or have you? What nickname would you tend toward (Cal or Calix), or would you use a different one?

Baby name consultation: Classic Biblical and/or saintly name needed for baby boy

Laura and her husband are expecting their fourth baby on earth (second boy)! Their first two babies are in heaven, and Laura writes,

When we lost our first baby, I had a strong sense about the name Timothy and when I looked it up I found it meant “honoring God.” Then after our second loss, I was too emotionally drained and asked my husband to pray on it and he came up with Emma which means “whole”. I feel like these names definitely set the tone for our three here as well, as we always try to choose classic names that are either Biblical or Catholic saints.”

I love both Timothy and Emma, and I agree that they’ve set the tone well for their subsequent children:

Matthew Darren (“we love the name Matthew and it means “Gift of God” which he was because he was our first to make it to full term. Darren is the name of my husband’s cousin who was a CIA agent who was killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan“)

Margaret Claire (“Margaret was my husband’s grandmother’s name and it is also the name of our parish (St. Margaret of Scotland). I have always loved the fact that there are SOOOO many nickname options for Margaret. Currently we call her Mags. Her middle name is in remembrance of a family member that I lost a few years ago, but also for St. Clare of Assisi (I know the spelling is different)“)

Abigail Regina (“my due date [with Abby] was December 8th so it was very important to me that we honor Our Blessed Mother, but I kind of can’t stand the name Mary because it is SO plain and common. So we chose Abigail (which is actually in the Old Testament) and means “Gives Joy” and Regina of course is how we honored Mary. I really wanted Regina as the first name, but my husband wasn’t having it“)

Aren’t they great names?? I love the meaning behind each one — so much significance!!

Laura was hoping for some name ideas to fit with their older kiddos. For inspiration, names they’ve discussed for this little guy include:

John Paul
Maximilian
Rocco
Kolbe

Working on this was really satisfying for me because their taste is pretty consistent! You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up all the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — looking up the names for this family was so fun because there was so much overlap!

That said though, names like Kolbe and John Paul aren’t included in the BNW, so that was a fun twist, trying to think of names that I think of as being similar to them in style and incorporating the results into my ideas for Laura and her hubs (I also used my Sibling Project to help — the John Paul entry was spot on!).  I came up with five ideas for this little boy:

(1) Gregory
Gregory was the very first name listed in the BNW as a match for Timothy, and was also listed in the Sibling Project as a match for John Paul, and as soon as I saw it I thought aha! I love Gregory for this family! He’s traditional and Catholicky Catholic like Pope St. Gregory the Great, and handsome and distinguished like Gregory Peck. The nickname Greg tends to turn people off a little bit, but I love Rory as a nickname for it, and I could also see something like Gregory Stephen lending itself nicely to the nickname Gus. I’ve also seen Grey used as a nickname for it, and I know a little Gregory who goes by Duke!

(2) Benjamin (or Benedict, Bennett?)
Benjamin was the biggest style match in the BNW, being similar to Timothy, Emma, Matthew, Claire, and Abigail! I love the name, and Ben is one of the friendliest nicknames in my opinion. While I think Benjamin is the closest match to the style of name Laura and her hubs like, Benedict is a great option if they wanted to get closer to the feel of John Paul, Maximilian, and Regina, and Bennett is a Benedict variant that, being a last name, is similar to Kolbe.

(3) Andrew
Andrew was another big hit for Laura and her hubs! It’s impeccable: biblical, masculine, great patron saints and nickname options. When I heard Fr. Andrew Apostoli speak at the Syracuse Women’s Conference a couple of years ago, I loved that he referenced Andrew as his patron saint, which of course is obvious, but I thought it gave Andrew an extra Catholic oomph.

(4) Philip
This was actually only listed as a style match for Regina, which I loved seeing, but I totally think of it as brother material for Timothy, Matthew, Andrew, Benjamin, and even John Paul with its two-biblical-names-in-one. (To be extra Catholicky Catholic, I love the idea of Philip Neri as a firstname+middlename combo! And Finn works as the perfect nickname I think.) (I loooove Finn!)

(5) Samuel
Finally, Samuel. It’s got a similar biblical style and feel to Timothy, Matthew, Abigail, Andrew, Philip, and Benjamin, and was also listed as similar to Emma. And that great nickname Sam! The story of Samuel is often particularly meaningful to mothers.

And those are my ideas for Laura and her hubs! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Timothy, Emma, Matthew, Margaret, and Abigail?

Catholicky Catholic boy names

A couple of weeks ago I posted my CatholicMom article for April in which I list the girl names I think are unmistakably Catholic (i.e., when people hear the name, they usually know right away that the child is Catholic), as well as those that are super duper Catholic but might not translate immediately that way due to other associations.

I’ve been trying to put together a similar list for boys — I’ve had my notebook open on the table all week, ready for me to jot down my ideas — but I feel like I’m falling short! Like my mind isn’t focusing the way I want it to! So you all definitely have to add your ideas in the comments.

This is what I have for obviously Catholic boy names (audience: USA broadly; northeast specifically [because that’s where I am and that’s what I know, but I’d love to hear all about your experiences]):

John Paul
Benedict
Francis, Francisco, Francesco
Anselm
Ambrose
Ignatius
Juan Diego
Rosario
Patrick
Dominic
Stanislaus

And these are names that ARE very, traditionally Catholic, but aren’t as obvious to as many people as the above names because they have decent usage in other areas:

Gabriel
Jude
Xavier (this one I wavered on … it might be better placed in the above list)
Augustine (mostly because there’s a Protestant school near me called St. Augustine’s)
Clement
Michael
Joseph
Thomas
The other apostles’ names (and really, all the biblical names)

Some I thought of including in one list or the other but decided not to:

Joachim (most people don’t know what this name even is!)
Tiber (ditto)
Polycarp (same)
Tarcisius (same)
Athanasius (I almost included this on one of the other two lists …
thoughts?)

I feel like I’m missing a bunch of obvious ones and it’s driving me nuts! Help me out!

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

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Celebrity guest: Quad mom Justina

I don’t remember how I came across Justina, but I think it was on Twitter … I swooned over “Setting the world on fire, Catherine of Siena style” in her Twitter bio as well as her marriage/NFP/pro-life posts, so I already knew she was my kinda girl, and then when I was clicking around as you do when you “meet” someone new online, I checked out her and her husband Matt’s wedding photos and honeymoon photos, which are like from a magazine (both the photos and the subjects — stunning couple!), and then I discovered she was expecting quadruplets (!!!!). Well. I was immediately smitten with this beautiful mama, and followed her on Instagram to keep up with her journey, and when she had the babies I just died over how precious they are.

And their names! So amazing! Of course I had to ask her if she would mind sharing their story, and she graciously agreed, and I’m so delighted to share it with all of you today! So without further ado … ((drumroll)) … read all about the Kopp Quad Squad!

💖👣💖👣💖👣💖👣

Kopp-45.jpg

Kate: Quadruplets are a big deal! Would you mind sharing your reaction to finding out you were expecting four babies? Especially after previously losing a baby? Is there anything else about your story you’d like to share?

Justina: Quads ARE a big deal! After losing our first baby, Francis Jude, to an early miscarriage just seven weeks into our marriage, we went through a season of unexplained secondary infertility, most likely due to PCOS. After a few months of working with my doctor, we found ourselves very pregnant! The chances of this were less than 0.3%. I’ve heard estimates as low as 1 in 700,000! At that first ultrasound at 6 weeks, Matt and I were nervous about an ectopic pregnancy because I had been feeling sharp, specific pain. At the beginning of the ultrasound, I thought I saw four gestational sacs, but I didn’t want to say anything and assumed I was wrong. When we saw the first baby’s heartbeat, we both cried with joy because we had never seen that before with our Francis. Then the sonographer chuckled and labeled that baby, Baby A. Next came Baby B. We got so excited about twins! Then, the sonographer found Baby C, and we laughed and made jokes about how I would grow a third arm during the pregnancy to accommodate triplets. The sonographer took a look at the fourth gestational sac, and it was empty. Strangely, we felt peace and I thought about how that little saint would join Francis in heaven. Our doctor stepped in to take a peak, and I noted that we hadn’t gotten a photo of Baby C, and as she went back for that, Baby D appeared in the fourth sac! QUADS! We just LAUGHED! There is nothing else to do by laugh in that situation! Don’t worry, though; two days later, everything hit us and we panicked a bit.

Kate: Did you know the genders ahead of time, or were you surprised (and therefore have to pick eight names)?

Justina: We found out the genders at 16 weeks. We had enough surprises for that pregnancy, so we chose to find out. I refused to brainstorm names for all the possible gender combinations, so we really didn’t talk about names until we knew what we were having.

Kate: I’d love to hear your thoughts on the particular challenges of picking names for four babies!

Justina: Four names was hard, but not as hard as it would have been for us if we were having more girls! I could name boys for days, no problem. That girl name, though… that was the challenge. For the past five years or so, I’ve kept a running list of boy names and girl names that I liked. When it came to naming our daughter, I looked at that list and hated every name I saw! For a while, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to find one we liked!

Kate: Could you list your babies’ names, and tell us how you and your hubby choose them? Were there particular saints you wanted to honor, for example? Are there layers of meaning to each name other than the obvious? (E.g., family names, that kind of thing.) Any other place you looked to for inspiration? (If you named your baby in heaven, I’d love to hear about him or her as well, but I understand if you’d prefer to keep it private.)

Justina:

Cora Immaculée – We knew we wanted our little girl to have a Marian name, but we didn’t want Mary, Marie, Maria, etc. This little lady had a bright spot on her heart in her early ultrasounds, so that brought name Cora, which means “heart” or “maiden.” Immaculée is a nod to Our Lady. Together, her name means “Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Raphael Gerard – St. Raphael is actually both Matt’s and my confirmation saint! Matt picked him because he’s the patron saint of travelers, and I picked him because he’s the patron saint of physicians (I had my eye on a career in medicine) and because my parents named my miscarried siblings Raphael. The real kicker is that St. Raphael is the patron saint of singles and happy meetings. So, here we are. Happily met with a lot of babies. The name means “God has healed,” a fitting name for a pregnancy after a miscarriage. Gerard was a last minute switch from Blaise. The babies were born on the feast of St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers. We call him Raph (rhymes with calf).

Theodore Ambrose – Theodore is the name of Matt’s late maternal grandfather, and both Theodore and Ambrose are family names on my side. Theodore means “God’s gift,” which is kind of funny because Matt’s name also means “gift of God.” Sts. Theodore and Ambrose are saints that we both admire, too. St. Theodore was a martyr and one of the “soldier saints.” St. Ambrose played a huge part in St. Augustine’s conversion, served the poor, and stood up against heresies of his time. These two saints together represented the unique calling we have as Catholics in this age, to defend our faith bravely and pray for conversion of hearts. We call this little guy Theo.

Benedict Peter – We both came up with this name on our own and brought it to each other one night. When we studied in Rome, we both got to read at papal Masses with Pope Benedict XVI, and I think I *might* be B16’s biggest fan. St. Benedict is also a saint we admire, and we love that the name means “blessed.” Peter was also my dad’s name. He passed away 9.5 years ago, and I wanted to honor him without taking away an opportunity for my younger siblings to use the name as a first name when then have children of their own someday. St. Peter is also the saint that just gets me, as we are both Sanguine/Choleric. We call our sweet boy Ben.

Francis Jude – Our little saint is named after St. Francis and St. Jude. St. Francis is a saint that I grew close to during my semester in Rome, and on our honeymoon we spent a few days in Assisi. We felt such joy and peace during our time there, and it stands out for both of us as such a special time in those early days of our marriage. St. Jude was picked because he is the patron saint of impossible causes, and gosh, did things feel impossible after losing our first baby. Both of these saints are October saints, which is when we lost our sweet babe. Francis can also be Frances, as we do not know the gender of our saint.

Ultimately, we wanted our children to have strong, traditional, and timeless names. We love what we picked for our kiddos. They are all fraternal, so we wanted them to have names that could stand alone if they were not quadruplets, too.

Aren’t these names ah-MAZ-ing??!! And every single detail of the naming is so perfect!!

Be sure also to check out Justina’s blog, Love Multiplied, whose first post (which she purposely put up this past Sunday on the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade 💕) tells more about finding out they were expecting quadruplets, and their meeting with the perinatologist. Such a great witness!

Thank you thank you to Justina for sharing her family’s wonderful story with us!! Check out how big and happy these beautiful babies are!!

Cora Immaculée, Raphael Gerard, Theodore Ambrose, Benedict Peter

(Cora, Raph, Theo, and Ben)

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Baby name consultation: No. 5 green bean 🌱 — solid, saintly, no nicknames

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day/Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!

Vanessa and her husband are hoping for baby No. 5! Vanessa writes,

My husband David & I have a unique situation in that we’ve adopted our 4 children. We’re on “the list” again and there’s no telling when (or if!) our next little one might arrive. We could receive a phone call next week, in 3 months, in 2 years or not at all (you get the picture!)…Also, we have no idea if we’d be adopting another boy or another girl next time as we are not able to specify a preference.”

A new little one will join big sibs:

Nicholas Benedict (“his birthmom chose his first name Nicholas but we changed his middle name to Benedict. We LOVED the name Nicholas but had never considered it as a first name – when he was already named Nicholas, we immediately loved it! (As it turns out, he inherited much generosity from his namesake, St. Nicholas!) We received the call about our son when Pope Benedict was in the US for his historic visit in 2008. We decided while watching the news coverage to pray to St Benedict for his intercession and at that point decided if it worked out, we would change his middle name to Benedict. Of course, the rest is history!“)

John Paul (“we gave him this name after St Pope John Paul. We had always loved and admired the beloved Pope and we wanted our son to have a wonderful saint and holy Pope to look up to. Of course, John is very loving, just like the beloved Pope was.”)

Mark Thomas (“we gave him this name after St Mark and St Thomas More. We chose Mark because we met his birthmom on the feast day of St Mark (April 25). We have always loved and admired the fortitude and perseverance of St Thomas More and we loved the idea of using this name. Ironically, Mark’s birthday is the birthday of St Pope John Paul and he came home to us on July 11, the feast day of St Benedict! Clearly, he was born to be our child – God knew he would be in our family!!“)

Mary Catherine (“we gave her this name after Our Lady and also after St Catherine Laboure. We have always loved the miraculous medal and we loved the name Catherine. Mary was born on the sixth anniversary of the day Nicholas came home to us! (It was even a Thursday, just like in 2008!) Also, she came home to us on 5/19/2014, the day after Mark’s 2nd birthday.”)

What wonderful names! And the name stories! I totally had goosebumps reading all the fun and amazing details!

Vanessa and David have several naming rules/considerations:

1. We don’t really like nicknames for our children. With the exception of Nicholas, our other children’s names can’t really be shortened. This was intentional. We also call Nicholas by his full name as often as possible. We hope he’ll always be “Nicholas.”
2. We definitely want our children to have saints or biblical names so they know WHO they were named after and who they can learn about to look up to and admire.
3. We haven’t ever really considered any names that are trendy or too unique or too far “out there.”
4. We love to consider saints’ feast days for any special or noteworthy days around the birth, placement, birthparent meetings, etc. Since we have no idea when or if a child may come to us, this happens along the way if a match happens.
5. For a boy, we want the name to be a “strong” name – nothing too trendy or weak/feminine sounding. Also, nothing that could pass as a girl name and vice versa for a girl. (No unisex names!)

Some boy names they’ve considered include:

Andrew (“we don’t really love “Andy” or “Drew” so we have shied away from using this name, although it’s still a possibility“)
David (“this is a strong contender if next child is a boy. He would be named after his dad and luckily, there’s a St David! We could use this as a middle name or a first name“)
Christopher (“perhaps for a middle name, but this name doesn’t really work as a first name with our last name (since it starts with “S”)“)
Dominic (“David LOVES this name (and I do too) BUT I’ve always thought it was too close to “Nicholas.” I have always thought this could not be used because of our Nicholas. We love that St Dominic received the rosary from Our Lady“)
Anthony (“We love this name but we do NOT like “Tony.”“)
Joseph (“David loves this name (St Joseph) but see below (nephews). For me, I would think perhaps a middle name, if anything“)

We have 4 nephews: James Michael, Michael Charles, Joseph Brian, Jack David. While my husband David disagrees, I feel we should NOT use any of the first names as a first name for our child. He would strongly consider Michael and Joseph but I would prefer these for a middle name, if at all. After all, these nephews are HIS brother’s children, so they would then have the same first AND last name.”

And names they’ve considered for girls include:

Veronica (“my ABSOLUTE favorite girl name – Mary was almost Veronica, but we felt strongly we wanted to name our daughter after Our Lady, and I didn’t want to “waste” Veronica on a middle name, just in case we ever had another daughter! We love how Veronica wiped the face of Jesus in the Stations of the Cross – what compassion! What a beautiful image (pun intended!)“)
Monica (“I love this name – LOVE St Monica, mother of St Augustine“)
Anna (“I have always loved this name. Love how Anna is the woman with Simeon when the baby Jesus is presented in the temple“)
Therese (“We LOVE St Therese of Lisieux but NOT a fan of “Terry” – also the “s” or “z” sound at the end of any name isn’t great with our last name since it begins with “S.” I think this one is out although it could be a middle name“)

My mother and mother in law both have the middle name “Ann(e).”
My MIL’s name is Ruth and we had a reading from Ruth in our wedding (our favorite verse!). It’s even engraved in my engagement band {“Ruth 1:16-17”}. For these reasons, I could see using Ruth as a middle name.

Recently, especially after reading your post from Lindsay at My Child I Love You, I’ve been thinking Clairvaux or Zelie would be a good name for a girl, although they both go against our past idea that we don’t want anything too unique. While these are definite Catholic references/saints, I think they might be too “out there” for my husband. If I ever won this one, I’d be surprised! Although Zelie could be a fun middle name?

I loved working on this! Regarding the names Vanessa and David have on their list of considerations, first I have to say (which you all already know) that I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard the names the parents have already used and those they like as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. So I had to laugh when I was looking up the names on this family’s list — they’re all style matches for each other! They have very consistent taste!

So I love all their boy ideas. I do think Andrew and Anthony could be “just Andrew/Anthony” if they stuck with it, like they do with Nicholas. David also — I know a couple little Davids, and they all go by just David, never Dave/Davy, etc. In fact, I think these days people are much less likely to automatically nickname a child who’s been introduced as a formal name. So all that works in their favor!

As far as Christopher — yes, I can see why they’d prefer it to be in the middle spot because of having an S last name, but I also don’t think it’s the worst thing ever.

Re: Dominic being too similar to Nicholas — on the one hand, I can see what Vanessa means, especially with Nic(k) being common enough nicknames for both. But, on the other hand, Veronica and Monica both have the “nic” within them, and Nicky is a common enough nickname for Veronica, so I don’t see any reason for Dominic to be dropped from the list if Veronica and/or Monica stays on it. However, that said, I suspect that Nicholas, Dominic, and Veronica/Monica might be too much “nic” for one family, and since Veronica is Vanessa’s favorite girl name, maybe Dominic should bow out. But then, maybe they won’t have another girl? Gah! It’s a hard one to figure out! I am sure, though, that Veronica and Monica are too rhymey for sisters.

Of the girl names on their list, I think that (besides Veronica), Anna/Anne is one of their best options, since Anne can’t be shortened and I don’t think Annas really ever get shortened either. Both are gorgeous names and really fit their style (according to the BNW). I love Ruth too, and it would be unexpected as a middle name, which I love.

I totally get their feelings on Therese, like Christopher, and though I think Tess is more likely than Terry these days, that doesn’t solve the problem of running into the S last name. It would definitely make a great middle name for them though, beautiful! I’m loving the idea of Anna Therese or Veronica Therese.

And Clairvaux and Zelie! I’m so surprised by them both! They’re both great, and I could see them both as a middle name as well. Anna Clairvaux … Veronica Zelie … they totally work!

Okay! So I came up with a bunch more ideas for Vanessa and David, and while I leaned heavily on the BNW for ideas of names that they might like, I also paid a lot of attention to names that don’t nickname easily:

Girl
(1) Clare/Claire
I was going to suggest Clare/Claire anyway, because of its non-nickname-ability, and when I read that Vanessa likes Clairvaux I thought aha! It totally fits the style of their other kids!

(2) Lucy
Lucy is just one of the sweetest names, and isn’t very nicknameable — I love it for this family!

(3) Rose
This is such a sweet one-syllable name — Marian and traditional with a little vintage feel!

(4) Helen(a)
I’ve been seeing Helen and Helena getting a good amount of love lately, and I don’t think most people would think to nickname a Helen (though Nell can be used if one wanted to use a nickname for Helen; Helena can shorten to Lena or I think Nell could work there too, but the one Helena I know in real life has always only been Helena). Dwija from the blog House Unseen, Life Unscripted named her youngest Helen Margaret, so cute!

(5) Hildi
I think lots more people would name their daughters after St. Hildegard of Bingen if her first name wasn’t so clunky! But I do know one little girl who is named after her and goes by Hildi and I just die over how sweet it is! I would totally do *just Hildi*, and I’m loving the idea of Hildi Ruth — I kind of love how antique that combo sounds!

(6) Sara(h)
Sarah was actually a huge style match for this family according to the BNW and since it doesn’t really reduce down I thought it definitely deserved a mention. There’s a St. Sara of Antioch (feast day April 20), and Sarah the Matriarch of course.

(7) Natalie
Natalie and Natalia both did quite well for Vanessa and David in my research as well! I thought Natalie was more their speed than Natalia, and though it can nickname to Nat, all the Natalies I know go by the full Natalie. I also love its meaning — it literally refers to Christmas Day (from the Latin natale domini — “the birth of the Lord”).

(8) Julia
I thought Julia was another name that would be a good fit for them style-wise and also because the Julias I know all go by the full Julia, never Julie/Jules. A lovely, regal name!

Boy
(1) Jude
I actually don’t think that Jude is their speed — it has a bit of a hipster feel to me, which I love, but I think their taste skews more classic (not that Jude isn’t a classic — you know what I mean!). But being one syllable, I thought it deserved a mention!

(2) Blaise
As with Jude, I’m not sure they’ll love Blaise, but it’s one syllable and super saintly, so maybe!

(3) Stephen
I was actually inspired by David to suggest Stephen for Vanessa and David — it has a similar feel to me as their other kiddos — classic, handsome, saintly — and I know two Davids who have brothers named Stephen! And they all go by the full Stephen, not Steve/Stevie.

(4) George
I think George might be my favorite idea for this family! Between St. George and Pope Francis (born Jorge [Spanish for George]), and with two other boys being named after recent Popes, it’s a great pick for a little Catholic boy!

(5) Henry
I think Henry is just one of the sweetest names for a little boy! There are so many great Sts. Henry to choose from, and no obvious nickname! (Hank, yes, but not terribly obvious just from hearing Henry.)

(6) Adam
I feel like this suggestion seems a little out of left field, but when I saw Adam as a style match for Christopher I thought they might like it! It hasn’t got any nicknames, and there are a bunch of holy Adams (which I was surprised to discover!).

(7) Robert
Robert is a pretty big style match for this family, and I’ve been loving it recently — it’s so solid and handsome, and I love hearing it in Downton Abbey. 😁 It’s probably in the same category as Stephen and Nicholas — Vanessa and David would have to actively make sure that no one shortens it. St. Robert Bellarmine’s great!

(8) Peter
Like Robert, Peter did really well for them in my research; like Robert, they’d have to make sure no one shortens it to Pete/Petey. But otherwise I love it for them!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Nicholas, John, Mark, and Mary?