Fun reading for your Thanksgiving!

Be sure to check back in on Friday for the Sancta Nomina Black Friday deals!

I read two things recently that I know you’ll all enjoy! This is the more recent one: Reasons to celebrate your Name Day by Tom Hoopes on Aleteia. I love the Name Day tradition in many (all?) European countries!

And one of you wonderful readers alerted me to the fact that the Schwandt family — nationally famous for having fourteen boys — recently welcomed baby no. 15 — their first girl!! Wow!! Their little lady’s name is Maggie Jayne, which is sweet and lovely, but I’m dying to know the story behind it! I know in our case, the name we’d chosen for a girl started out honoring my mom and mother-in-law and by the time we got to our seventh boy I’d added in a bunch of other honorees into the ever-evolving girl’s name. I remember Rachel Balducci saying the same about her daughter — her only girl after five boys: “Isabel was born! And that was always on my girls name list (which was never touched) and her middle name is Anne-marie, which is from each of the grandmothers. It’s a lot of name but I had to cram a lot into this one girl!” If anyone’s read about Maggie Schwandt’s name, please let me know! Her big brothers are Tyler, Zach, Drew, Brandon, Tommy, Vinny, Calvan, Gabe, Wesley, Charlie, Luke, Tucker, Francisco and Finley (I copied and pasted so if any of the spellings are incorrect [I’m looking at Calvan, which I’ve seen as Calvin in previous stories], it’s CNN’s fault). The Schwandts are Catholic, so if anyone knows how to get in touch with them, I’d LOVE to interview them about how they chose their children’s names!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I’m so grateful for you all!!

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!


Celebrity guest: Rachel Balducci (Testosterhome)

There were a few bloggers who really helped me through my early motherhood — mamas who were more experienced at living a faith-filled motherhood than I was, and every day I eagerly awaited my computer time so I could catch up with my “friends.” I’m so excited to spotlight one of them today!

Rachel Balducci, of the brilliantly named Testosterhome, showed me what an all-boy house looked like — she’d had her first four boys before I realized I’d have so many boys, and I waited breathlessly with the rest of the blogosphere when she was giving birth to her fifth — would it be another boy?? It was! Then my whole summer was overshadowed with sadness at the suffering of her #5 boy, Henry, and the stress the whole family was under when he broke his leg when he was younger than two, I think, and had to wear a spica cast for what seemed like And then a few years later we all waited breathlessly again as Rachel was having her sixth baby, and when her last little one was a girl (a girl!) I could hear all of the Catholic internets sighing with surprise and joy and wonder.

So Rachel: Mama of five big-and-little boys and one little girl, long-time blogger, author of How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? And other delightful mysteries of raising boys (also available under its new title, Raising Boys is a Full Contact Sport), newspaper columnist, speaker, and co-host of The Gist, a talk show for women at CatholicTV.

She knows what’s up.

She’s also done an amazing job naming her kiddos, and graciously agreed to give us a glimpse into her and her hubby’s naming thought process! Without further ado:

(1) Well for starters, our first born was going to be August. That was the name we had picked out. I liked the idea of Augustine Asher (both family names) but we live in Augusta and it sounded too much like “Augusta National”! And then our son was born and he had copper hair and looked nothing like what I thought our baby would look like. I really have to see my baby to make sure the name fits. And I sent [her husband] Paul down to the nurses station to borrow the name book. We found Ethan, which we’d discussed earlier. Ethan. We liked the name and loved the meaning. His first name is Paul, like his dad and grandfather and Ethan means “firm” or “enduring.” Also it was unique without being overly so!

(2) Twenty-one months later we gave birth to another boy. And once again I thought about using August (the actual family name). But this son had bright red hair and looked even less like what I imagined. This time I had brought my own baby name book and we looked at every name. And we loved the name Elliott. It’s a modern form of Elijah and means “Jehovah is God.” The big issue with his name was spelling and we labored over how to spell it. We finally settled on two L’s and two T’s, but people almost NEVER spell it the right way. One T is all he usually gets. Oh well, I like this version! His middle name is Stephen, after my dad.

(3) Twenty-one months later and another boy. This time I mostly had the name already picked. I had given up on using August and we went with two family names: Charles Asher. Charles is my grandfather and also a dear uncle of mine and Asher is Paul’s grandmother’s maiden name.

(4) TWENTY ONE MONTHS LATER and ANOTHER BOY. I am not kidding. So this time I used August. Why not. I had run out of all the other names on my list. We used August and then Becket as the middle name because I love Thomas Becket.

(5) We took a five year break from having boy babies and then, when Augie was five and a half we had another boy. We named him Henry Ephrem. Henry is Paul’s great grandfather and Ephrem is my great-grandfather (and my brother’s middle name). My only thoughts on names is really consider the meaning. Henry means “ruler of the house” and the name really works for him. Lawdy. He’s amazing, he’s a tornado.

(6) And then, when we thought we were done (my pregnancy with Henry was really rough, we thought it wouldn’t be prudent to have another baby) we were surprised. And we didn’t find out what we were having…but planned on another boy. And I could not think of any other names for us…except Oliver which unfortunately is my brother’s son so that would have been awkward to use. So…Anyway, then Isabel was born! And that was always on my girls name list (which was never touched) and her middle name is Anne-marie, which is from each of the grandmothers. It’s a lot of name but I had to cram a lot into this one girl!

Aren’t those great names?? I just love the story behind each one — the care, the thought. I love all the family connections. I love how substantial each name combination is. Thank you to Rachel for a great start to the week!! ❤