Discarded topic ideas + random musings on pregnancy and baby names

Are jeans tucked into tall boots coming back this fall?

Does anyone out there really meal plan?

If I do this prenatal barre workout DVD every day for this whole pregnancy and stay off the Doritos, could I only gain 39 pounds instead of 55 this time?

Do my kids notice I don’t technically “cook” dinner most nights of the week? 

When is someone going to offer me a contract for my design book? My aesthetic is prison minimalist chic + crayon pieces. Will include tips for stuffing a garbage bag of goodwill donations into every available closet and never allowing your children to take more than 4 toys out at one time. Bonus material on cultivating gratitude for a single shoebox filled with Legos and making crafts of out (recycled, natch) aluminum foil.

My baby bump progresses from nonexistent to charming to alarming rapidly, from about week 19-23, at which point I start fielding nervous comments about how soon my due date might be. Do I embrace the micro belly and style it accordingly while it’s still cute, or hide it as long as possible in advance of the inevitable “hope there’s a doctor in the house” comments at Costco starting around month 7.

Baby names your husband hates/won’t seriously discuss. (Also, why won’t most guys even get serious until trimester 3? Why can’t they understand we lie awake at night matching first and middles and imagining whether or not a monogram will be offensive if configured “southern style” (Last name letter big and in the middle) vs. traditional? And they wonder why we’re not sleeping better…

A few of our “no go” names that are simply too wild/not doing it for my better half: Imogen (fine, that one’s wild, I’ll admit it), Vera, Vianney, Siena, Roman, Clairvaux (honey those are places, he pleads with me. Wrong noun type), Francesca (actually we both love that name and love St. Frances/Francis but can’t give the little darling the initials FU, can we?) Reid, Blaise, Marjorie, (<—he may be persuaded on this one on “family name” grounds), Azelie, Karoline (w/ a k is too wild for bae), Giuliana (though I guess we mutually vetoed this one based on how it sounds with our last name slash intractable whiteness), Gianna (family name already in use. Single tear.) Marin, and Maris.

See how my raw edginess is being repressed? For the record, current sibling line up is: Joseph Kolbe, John Paul Francis, Genevieve Therese, and Luke Maximilian. So in his defense, I guess we have fairly conservative sounding names thus far. No Clementines or Cyrils are getting into this lineup any time soon.

How do you decide on baby names in your family? Our rules/pattern seem to be: a saint we already love/have a devotion to + perhaps a family name. (Though only Genevieve is a family name so that doesn’t seem to be an actual rule.) Basically we’re out of saints we have strong devotions to whose names we also love. Our other special heavenly buddies have kind of boring or unusual sounding names: Angelica (for Mother A. Being a little presumptuous here) Joan, Anthony (though we’ve considered Antonio even though said baby might one day hate us for it) Catherine, Julia, Rose, David (daddy doesn’t want a junior though), Benedict, and Pio.

And just like that the ‘ol babysitting clock has ticked down to zero. At least I made some minimal inbox progress before regaling you all with my internal monologue. Viva la Tuesday!

made this instructive screensaver for myself a couple month ago with Luke’s help (quote is from the book “Holiness for Housewives” which I haven’t read but which I have shamelessly cherry picked.)


  • Julie

    First–love the screensaver–how helpful of Luke. 🙂

    I learned something from my daughter, Hope, after she returned from discerning. You see, I was REALLY having a hard time with the thought of her changing her name (assuming she entered the Dominicans). I mean, I was praying to God daily about either telling Mother Superior that she should keep Hope Marie, or praying that He would just give me the grace to let that go! But I couldn’t let it go. I truly felt that He had given her that name (she was born before during Advent). When Hope decided that God was not calling her to the D’s, she told me that she had decided that she needed to keep Hope in her new name (when she was thinking about changing it). Funny how God works. So, Jenny, I suggest you pray about it. He knows what this child should be named! Even if it is a name out of the blue that you hadn’t considered. Listen for those “dropped” names and try them on. 🙂

  • Laura

    We have 3 girls, and by #3 found we should have been more cautious with middle names- by the time we got to 3rd, we were out of ideas! We were totally without formula.
    #1: Sarah Katherine. I dreamt the name Sarah.
    #2: Meghan Elizabeth. Meghan after the nurse who delivered a feet first breech baby in the “assessment room.”
    #3: Cecilia Marie. Because of the songs, justified because she is a saint:)

    Our favorite boy name, which I’m happy to share: Leo Patrick. And, I’ve always loves Monte, but can NOT get husband on board. C

    So thrilled for you and this new baking baby!! Enjoy the Doritos!!!

  • Karyn

    Our newest edition will be David Benedict (God willing). Ours have saint names – we’ve never really had to discuss them much because I usually have a strong feeling about the name before the baby even exists and my husband fortunately has liked the names. I love Angelica Rose (they sound good together even) but my husband said they were too much with our last name Sweet. As for the baby bump, mine seems to never be at the non-existent point as my ab muscles seem to be permanently split! Here at 22 weeks, people are asking me when I’m due and seem shocked when I say October :/

  • Mary Lomax

    Jenny, our first (Joey) was named for our Dads….Joseph James; our second, Kathleen Ann, to honor our Irish heritage; and our third, Sean Patrick, because I love both names…..and our Irish heritage. Just thought I’d mention that you could consider Karol (for a girl) after JP2, and you’d have a double whammy of honor to this great saint! Mary Lomax

  • Heather

    Have you tried Baby Name Wizard? There’s a book and a website. I like it because it suggests sibling names, which makes it easier to come up with names that have a similar style. The book has a list of unusual Catholic saint names, too.

    Or if you’re feeling really crazy, name your baby for the saint who’s recognized on their birth day. We had toyed with the idea of it for baby #3, but also had a boy name and a girl name picked out. I was shocked when she was born on the day which commemorates both names! (We’re Orthodox so if my terminology sounds off, that’s why.)

  • Sarah

    I really really love some of those names on Dave’s veto list. They are on the same list in my house. Ryan has some really specific rules we(he) follows and after four boys the pickings are getting slim. I am always thinking of names I like and trying to find a modern saint who fits. I keep telling him that they are our rules so we can break them!

  • Cecilia Haugen

    When my kids were born, we wanted unusual, but not weird or outlandish names. WE have Celeste Gabriela, Asumpta Maria (ok Asumpta _is_ a little outlandish but her father insisted & I was really tired – it was summer in Chicago), Leif Dmitri, Aidan Lindisfarne & Isabel Monica Lourdes.
    Some names that he rejected: Belinda, Edward, Bjorn, Leo. Some names that I rejected: Portia, Magnus, Evidently.

  • Bernadette

    Glad to know it’s not just my husband who puts off the name discussion! I am 38 weeks and only last week could I get him to finally have a serious conversation about names!!

  • Mary

    Ohhh, this brings back memories!! My husband and I both love older names…but never the same older names. He wanted Anastacia (pronounced Ahh-nah-stah-cia), and I said NOPE, as our last name is hard enough to pronounce. I loved Rose and Catherine and those were nixed. We ended up finally agreeing on Lucy and it fits our daughter so, so perfectly. If we have another girl some day, I have no clue what that poor child will be named. :oD

  • Melissa

    I love baby names!!! So far we are going Catholic/traditional/trying to bring back classic names. First names are saint names, middle names are family names, or a variation of a family name. So far we have Thomas Patrick, Agnes Margaret, and John Seamus. Our daughter was born on the feast of our lady of Guadalupe. But we have an Irish last name so, when my husband suggested we name her Guadalupe, I had to veto. So happy for you guys and baby number 5!!!

  • Nina

    Been teasing my husband since 6 weeks along, that if I were carrying twin boys, the only option was going to be Cyril and Methodius. We now know it’s a singleton pregnancy though, so back to the drawing board
    : D

    • Laura

      Oh, that’s so much better than the Albert and Ernest my husband would like to use for twins (because then we can call them Bert and Ernie). I nixed Dougall and Uisdean (Hugh Dan). I’ve never been sure if he was joking about Uisdean

      Ours are all family names. John Stephen, Julia Margaret, Mairi (Scottish version of Mary) Elizabeth, and Catherine Anne.

  • Karen

    My husband chose most of our names. We have all boys. The general rule was Old Testament name + saint we loved (middle child got an extra middle name in honor of my FIL). Our last child, though, we reversed, because we wanted to name him after my brother, so we went Saint Name + Old Testament name. It worked nicely.

  • Kate

    My husband also puts off the big name discussion until the very end! I’m pretty sure I know the names the hour after I’ve peed on that stick 😆 I keep holding out for a Ruth but so far we’ve got an Annie Kristine, Benjamin Matthew, Robert (Bobby!) Patrick, David Enoch, and Martin Francis.

  • Leslie

    Jenny, one idea is to think of different things in your life that mean a lot to you and then, looking up who is the patron of that certain thing. For example, I love wine and travel. St. Vincent is the patron saint of wine, St. Christopher is the patron saint of travel. Just an idea for helping you find a baby name! Good luck!

  • Kathleen

    I am wracking my brains every night about my currently gestating babies. My husband and I both have such strong opinions! I lost a retainer in 5th grade and made a promise so I have a son with a middle name Anthony despite having the most irish last name of all time. On #4, I managed to miraculously convince my husband that Linus would be an adorable name and since the child came out 11 lbs, he went for it and it’s awesome. Based on your other kids names, I could see you guys having a Clement or a Beckett as a middle name for a boy.. and since you have a Genevieve, you could go French with another girl like a Felicity or Remy. St. Remy was an awesome saint. (A male saint and apostle to the Franks but love for a girls name..). For us this time around we cannot agree!!!

  • Mary Jo McMahon

    Hi Jenny
    I think you should call her (!) Marin Therese! This is my granddaugher’s name! I love it and also my granddaughter! Marin is a derivative of Our Blessed Mother, Mary and Therese is after St. Therese of Lisseux. This way she would have the same middle name as Genevieve!

    Look forward to more posts and enjoy every moment of this beautiful pregnancy.

  • MK

    This post made me laugh – thanks Jenny!

    We’ve used a saint + angel or double saint formula so far. Usually the names involve a family name, too. We’re now thinking of sticking with a bit of a formula, where boys get the same middle name (Joseph) and girls get the same first name (Mary or Marie), for the Holy Family, then with a saintly or angelic first name. My husband is actually more creative in coming up with the good names, so I let him provide me with name proposals and we work it out from there 😉

    I cannot stop eating Doritos or other chips. Sea salt and vinegar, or Hint of Lime, anyone? That + lemonade is perfect for the hot summer! Salt + sweet + hydration. Can’t be beat! That and getting into a pool…the BEST.

    Finally, I need to make myself a similar screensaver with that quote. Boy, do I ever need that reminder, and often!

    Hope you are feeling well Jenny! I’m with you on the quick leap up to 50+ pounds so far with each pregnancy. Last time I did better, so we’ll see how this one goes 🙂

    P.S. I’m already thinking fall fashions, because I’m an everything-fall gal. The jeans in the boots sound on point! I can’t wait (especially due to pregnancy) for cooler weather and an excuse for all fun fall activities & treats!!

  • Chantale

    In my French-Canadian family, names have traditionally followed the same formula. For boys: Joseph + (name of Godfather) + (“first” name) + (last name). For girls: Marie + (name of Godmother) + (“first” name) + (last name). I really like the tradition, however it makes filling out government forms rather difficult as the name I use is actually my third name on official documents. For our children, we modified it to first name (so far Biblical names) + Godfather/godmothers’ name + last name. So far we have four boys: Samuel, Benjamin, Jonathan and Jack (Jacques). By chance, their godfathers also had either biblical or saint’s names : Vincent, Marc, Paul, Andre. None of our boys were named before they were born. In fact, seems to take longer to pick a name each time despite starting lists way ahead of time! We are expecting a girl at the end of the summer . Our girl’s list has always been longer than our boy’s list of names so it will be interesting to see which one we’ll pick.

  • Magdalena

    Jeans tucked into long boots will just have to be “in” this fall, because by that time, I will be pretty sick of wearing support hose for my varicose veins, which mostly hang around on my ankles.
    I have many stories surrounding the names of our children, but for the most part, here is the “formula”: girls get a name that is meaningful in some way to us, plus a “virtue” middle name. Boys get a name that is meaningful to us in some way, plus a “male namesake” for a middle name. I don’t think much about initials. I sometimes wonder why we bother at all, because their nicknames stick like glue. My youngest, for instance, is called “Potato” for some reason that no one can remember.

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