Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Picking baby names!

Inspired by Grace's post about her naming process

This is kind of a silly post, because Frank and I have already picked names for our baby, and some of you guys already know what those names are (we're the worst with secrets!). But it's still fun to hear your ideas and guesses.

When it comes to naming babies, I have two rules:

 1. No names from the Top Ten list.

I just don't want to use a name that's super common. As one of my friends said, "You want your daughter to be known in her class as Olivia, not 'Olivia B.'"

2. The name has to have a connection (however slight) to a saint.

Saints' days are a big deal in my familylike most Hispanics, we treat it like another birthday. I want my kids to get to enjoy that fun part of my heritage.

Beyond those two rules, it's open season. Frank and I have been a bit chagrined to discover that we have pretty different taste in names. I tend to love Spanish and Italian names while he prefers English and Irish. His favorite names in the world—Olivia and Sophia—are both ruled out by Rule #1, while he doesn't like my favorite boy name, Dominic (I mean seriously, how awesome does Dom Barber sound??). We both like names that are classic and old-fashioned but not stuffy. Names that are a little off-the-beaten-path but not odd.

With all this in mind, we compared the handful of names we both liked (and it's a tiny handful), and settled on a boy name and a girl name pretty early in the pregnancy. Of course, we still might change our minds once we meet this little one, but for now we've made up our minds.

How do you pick your baby names? Do you have any rules you follow? Of if you haven't named a baby yet, what names are you saving up for someday when you have a little person to name? Do tell!


  1. Those two are definitely rules of ours. The first one is kind of a bummer because I LOVE sweet, feminine, old-fashioned names and those are really trending right now. Sophia/Sophie has been a favorite of mine for forever. :( But I don't want my children to be too generation-pinned.

    And saints are important, at the very least as a middle name. They need at least one patron. :)

    The only other rule we have is that we're not going to be influenced by friends/family. Name repeats are fairly common on my side of the family - we'll have several Michaels, Seans, and Patricks at gatherings - and I'm not going miserably discard a name I truly love just because a good friend or family member chose it as well. I'm only going to have one life with one set of kids! Likewise I wouldn't want anyone else to feel like we "claimed" a name just because we got there first. If they've really loved it, they should go for it!

    But for that reason we keep names semi-secret (how could I NOT tell certain people? I'm not strong enough)... to avoid the off-chance of drama when we just want to happily dream and scheme.

  2. I should have added to my list that I steer clear of the top 10 list too, in a way. I allow names from the top 10 list so long as they have been on the top 10 list for like, 20 years in a row. Hence, Michael being ok. ;)

  3. Here are some names that some Catholic friends of mine have used that are unique, yet have saintly (or possible saintly) ties:
    Kateri (aka Kateri Tekakwitha)
    Fulton (aka Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
    Kolbe (aka Maximillian Kolbe)

  4. We had the same rules you listed. However, I added the rule that the name be Irish in some way. I "gave up" my Irish last name when I married, so I wanted my kids to at least have Irish sounding first names :). My husband was happy to oblige as his family claims no strong ties to a particular nationality - other than American, of course. Our only other criterion was that the name not be easily changed into a nickname; we wanted to call them by their given name.
    Looking forward to finding out what you choose!

  5. Dom Barber....I AM TOTALLY SOLD. It sounds so COOL! Tell Frank I'm voting with you on that one. Well, at least for baby number 2, because I do like your names for baby number 1. :D :D

  6. also, SO crazy how everyone wants to name their baby the same name at the same time! I definitely know two infants/about-to-be-borns who are Ava and Bella (Isabella).

  7. We are a top ten offender (William!) but I do love your rules. In Catholic world, you have to be careful of John Paul's, too, if your kids go to Catholic school! Thanks for joining the party. ~K

  8. I'm with you on the Top 10 list. And, I even like to look further on the list. Growing up as one Emily in the sea of many (hello 90s babies!), I really want my children to be able to enjoy a unique name. So excited to hear what your baby's name is going to be!

    1. haha, that's funny and also good to hear! Frank gets quite annoyed with my Top Ten rule because of his love for the name Olivia, so I feel like this is good support for my position. Thanks Emily!

  9. We are having a lot of trouble this time around with a girl's name. We don't like super common names (and already have a niece named Sophia anyway). Maybe it will be a boy and we won't have to come up with a girl name! (Big maybe...) I'm tempted to find out this time just to know whether we need one. We've already used Christmas and Easter names (Noelle and Anastasia), so September... has Michaelmas? And we like neither Michelle nor Michaela, so... you see the dilemma.

    Btw, yes, I am pregnant. Hence the exhaustion by the time I'm ready to make a phone call!

  10. In my defense, I liked Sophia and Olivia *well* before they were on the top 10 popular list. I've loved Olivia ever since I watched the Waltons growing up as a 13 year old (11 years ago ... ).

    As for Italian names, with a name like Frank Anthony Barber from New "Joisey" - I get called things like "Frankie Barbero" all the time. I'm barely Italian at all (just enough to have some cooking talent) and much more Irish (and far more proud of my Irish heritage as Theresa will attest - so I prefer Irish names ;)

    1. Thanks for weighing in, darling. I should have you write your own post on baby names with your side of the story... :)

  11. Those would be my rules too...but somehow some of my favorite names all of a sudden became popular. I love Dominic and I would name a boy Liam in a heart beat (well, probably William). We also have tons of duplicates in my family (not juniors or the III's or whatever, just repeats--3 Mollys, 3 Kevins, 6 Johns--the list goes on!)

    What about Oliver for a boy? It's kind of like Olivia, but not a top 10 name and classic (Dickens), but not too odd.

    1. I know right, what is up with all these nice names getting so popular all of a sudden? Rude! :P

      Those are nice names! We have a lot of family duplicates too... all the men are named some variation of Manuel, Hugo, Joseph or Francisco (can you tell we're Hispanic?!). Even my husband fits in just great with all the other Francisco variants. I don't think there's any problem with reusing a family name—the more, the merrier, right?

  12. Dear Tess,

    I'm writing from Hungary (and sorry for my English). I'm pregnant too, my baby will birth in Juny.
    We prefer old Hungarian names, but they are mostly pagan. So we choose a second name too, a saint's name.

    My husband's favorite girl name is very popular in this days in Hungary, but he likes it for ages, and it became popular just for 2-3 years. I think the popularity will not be a big problem, because our family name is very rare.

    And we declared a funny rule. My husband will choose the first baby's name. I will choose the second baby's name. He will choose the third baby's name... etc. :)

    1. Hi Gazella!

      I like your rules! That's a great idea to take turns choosing the name. Do you know if this baby is a boy or a girl? What is your husband's favorite girl name?

      Thank you for commenting! It's exciting to have a reader from Hungary!

    2. Not yet. He/she is very shy. :)

      His favorite girl name is Csenge. It sounds like "Chenghe", and you should pronounce the last "e" too, like the first one after "ch". This "e" isn't just written like Anne with "e" :) "Cseng" means "it clings". If I hear this name I allways imagine a young woman with nice voice.

      There isn't Saint Csenge. If my baby is a girl, her second name will be Rita (Saint Rita of Cascia). She helps me a lot, I promised her to give her name to my first daughter.

      I like reading Catholic blogs in English. :) My grammar is bad, but I unerstand what I read and It's nice to know Catholic women from other countries. It's so... "Catholic". :))

    3. Csenge is a beautiful name, and I like Rita too!

      Your grammar seems very good to me. :) I agree that it's so much fun to make friends with Catholics from all over the world. You really can experience the "universal Church!"

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