Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #8

Clue #6

                                                                     Clue #7

Both of the girls, but MG in particular, have been asking us what we’ve named this baby.  We have chosen again to keep silent on that front because of the pressure in keeping a secret for our little ones. But with little to lose and not many ideas to begin with, we have asked for, and considered their suggestions, though in the meantime.

Around the time of finding out about our pregnancy, MG had read the book Chrysanthemum. It’s about a pregnant teacher who gives her class a chance to suggest the perfect name. In the end, the teacher ends up choosing “Chrysanthemum” because she likes the unusual name of one of the little girls (mouse) in the class.

MG thought this was a good name for our baby.  I guess, technically, it could have gone in the color name slot, but still, a little too far from our norm for me to consider.  She also has repeatedly suggested Lilly and Rosie* (I guess she has a thing for flowers).  While I like those names, especially Rosie,

Clue #8: we have chosen to not give this baby any first name nor second name that could be considered or be related to a color name.

That puts both Lily (white) and Rosie (red/pink) off of our list (as well as a few other names I am fond of).  However, unbeknownst to MG, she did have a hand in helping to name this baby.  I’ll save that story for after the reveal though.

With my affinity for color names, it should come as no surprise to you that I do like other nature names. One example being Birdie, which was the name of our sweet kitty at the schoolhouse.  If it wasn’t a cat name to us, I think it would make an adorable nickname for a little girl.  While the chosen name will not having anything to do with a color, our little girl’s name WILL have a component of nature to it.


*Two friends have also had dreams (random!) that we named our baby Rose/Rosie. How strange is that?


Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #7

Clue #5

                                                                     Clue #6

When we couldn’t quite come up with an initial match in our family tree (as mentioned last week), we decided to, ahem, branch out, and consider places of importance or significant meanings.

One name I’ve had on my list forever is Louise or something Lou-related.  I liked the significance to the city we were married in (St. Louis).   I also tried to finagle a way to get us to the nickname Indy, a tribute to the birthplace of our relationship and early years of marriage.

Another place I looked were lessons we had been taught this year, hoping to bury a memory in the meaning of her name. I spent a long time really pouring over baby name meanings like never before.

Clue #7: In the past, they were more of an afterthought, but this time name meaning played a central role.  

Each of her given two first names AND her nickname hold a certain value to us because of what they mean.  I think that’s why I finally was able to say, “this is the one”, because not only did this name fit our other criteria (as mentioned in clues previous), but I also loved the significance of the meaning behind it.  It was the moment everything finally gelled together.

I hope these clues are keeping your interest.  Only three more to go (or maybe less if this baby decides to make an early appearance!)  The countdown is starting to get exciting!


Clue #8

Baby Name Game (round 4), Clue #6

Clue #4

Clue #5

One thing you’ll note about our other girls’ names is that they all pay tribute to at least one family member (sometimes we’ve been able to squeeze multiple in there.  It helps when some family members share the same name!)

Clue #6: We do like to name our babies after family, both those living, and sometimes those we never knew from our family tree.  This baby will be no different.

Even though liking the name is obviously a first determinant for us, it is important to us that our girls feel a sense of legacy in their names.  We hope that whenever they take a careful look at their given names, they will realize that they come from a line that is much bigger than our own family of 6.  And that this realization will be a source of both comfort and empowerment.

I’ve said/complained before that this name was more of a challenge for us because we did not go into the pregnancy with ideas already generated (other than the ever-revolving Notes section on my phone, plainly entitled “names”).  The night we found out we were pregnant, we sat down with our big family Bible and poured over both of our family trees.  One of the people we had talked about honoring was my grandpa, who’s name is Erwin.  Not exactly a crowd-pleasing name, right?  My sister suggested us using Winn/Wynn, which N really liked, but I had just known someone to use that name and also didn’t love any longer names for Winn (you know me and nicknames).  After some further mulling over, we did, somewhat haphazardly, find a way to still pay tribute to him.  And this lucky little girl’s name will also pay tribute to one other family member, yet to be (formally) named.

Four clues left,


Clue #7

Pineapple of my eye

Eight months.  We’ve arrived at the final month of pregnancy and I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the concept that we have another baby, another daughter, another LIFE coming into our family..  N and I keep remarking how quickly this pregnancy has flown by, and it feels truer than ever before. Since we didn’t have months of planning it beforehand, and only the knowledge of it already a month into it, it has felt short by all standards.  Regardless, here we are.  In those ways, I think Surprise Babies are definitely the way to go.

February is the shortest month, which means we only have four more weeks left until our due date!   This is the month I begin to meet with my doctor weekly, prep for labor and delivery, and wake up every day wondering if today is the day? Meanwhile baby is the size of a pineapple & fattening up for birth while maturing her lungs and brain.  I hope she lands somewhere close to #1 & 2’s birth weights (8lbs, 10&11ozs), and slightly less than Sib’s (9lbs, 2oz).

Considering I’ve gained the same this time as the first two girls, it looks likely, but you never know.  (for some reason, I gained a few more pounds with Sib. Some of that was just pounds, but some of it was also water weight. I swelled really badly the last month with her. Thankfully, I’ve avoided that so far with this one. Also avoided heartburn and had it the worst with Sib…?  Insomnia, on the other hand, has been so bad…pregnancy roulette, a “fun” game each time!)

N and I were saying just this morning how maybe this will be the baby we “actually get to enjoy”.  Having MG was a wonderful, love-intoxicating experience, but we also didn’t know what we were doing and missed out on some enjoyable moments simply because she was our first.  With both Bea and Sib, we highly anticipated their arrivals and sought to enjoy them as much as possible, but we also moved with both of them when they were each still under 6 months (and each move brought a new job, new house, and it’s own share of hardships).  We also bought a new car and a new house in Sibby’s first year of life, i.e. not exactly peaceful times.  But this baby, with this one we are already settled, have no major life changes on the horizon, and no large expenses to make in order to fit her into her life.  Maybe this will be our redemption baby.

As predicted in an earlier monthly post, January is the month where everything finally came together for this baby.  After a December focusing on the holidays, plus weeks of sickness, January was a breath of fresh air.  We had a, somewhat unexpected, but still wonderful ten day break from school, as ice and snow fell at just the right times surrounding MLK weekend.  N was off for much of that time and built her crib.  He also helped me purge closets and storage spaces, and we got Sib moved up and into her new room (to eventually be a shared nursery).

We were supposed to take our babymoon over MLK weekend, with the promise of an extra day off, but the ice and snow pushed our plans back one week.  It turned out to be a great weekend away anyway, as we saved money on the hotel alone (i.e. not a holiday weekend), and the weather pushed up into the upper 60’s, which gave us plenty of incentive to explore Atlanta by foot.

We ate so much delicious food that we had to pace ourselves to actually be able to enjoy each meal (i.e. not eating dinner until about 8:30pm).  Also included in this trip was a quintessential IKEA run, giving us the finishing touches for the nursery.

Way back in October when I bought the baby’s carseat, I bought it during a deal that would give me a $100 Buy, Buy, Baby gift card to use in the future.  I finally received that and used it to buy some essentials like bottles, pacis, and clean, white newborn onesies (to be embroidered, of course!).  We are fully stocked on diapers for the first six weeks or so, and thanks to my sister and her help today, freezer meals as well.

Finally, I got the newborn/0-3mo clothes out of storage and they are sorted, washed, and hung.  Added to these are my own stash that I’ve personally made, thanks to tons of creative and physical energy this month (I don’t know why it’s lasted so long with this pregnancy, but I’m enjoying it while it’s here!)

It seemed with Sib I never truly got the nesting bug, at least not to the measure I’ve had it this month (maybe that’s because God was saving it for when I would truly need it–AFTER she was born).  But I’ve been so happy being able to scratch it over and over as we check these little things off our list as we prepare.

Though not physically speaking, I feel like she could come tomorrow and I would be ready for her.  That feels so good.  This pregnancy has me constantly flip flopping between two opposite, but equally strong emotions.  One is “this has gone by too fast”. And the other being, “I hope she hurries up because I can’t wait to meet her”.  That is the running theme of this pregnancy.  It plagues me constantly.

The crazy thing is, she’s going to complicate our little routine-oriented life so much. I’ll be tied to a feeding schedule every three or so hours.  I’ll be working around naps and won’t be able to just pick up and go anymore.  And I’ll have an extra little body to dress, tend to, and tote around; one that is 100% dependent on me.  But oh, I can’t wait to meet her.  And I’m so tired of being large and pregnant. So tired.  It’s hard to savor something in the moment that isn’t exactly enjoyable, but i know in just a few short weeks, I’ll look back with fondness to this small season of prepping.  I also know I will wail as she crosses each milestone, knowing it is my last time to raise my own.  So I’m ready, but not in a hurry, if that makes sense.

This baby to come and I, we are bonded together right now.  Completely physically bonded. But our emotional connection has not yet begun.  That will begin in the days that we meet her and learn her personality.  We’ve made physical provision for her in our house, but we do not have emotional provision for her yet.  There is mystery surrounding her story and how she will enter our life.  There is a blank space in my mind when I try to picture her.  I do not know and love her like I do my other three.  There are no endearing mannerisms of hers I know, nor physical attributes I remark over.  Not yet.  But I do so look forward to falling in love with her the same way I did with the others.

One more month…and counting.


Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #5

Clue #3

Clue #4

I mentioned in Clue #3 that Evelyn is a name I fell in love with and strongly considered for this baby.  I still love it, despite the fact that it is REALLY popular right now and only seems to be trending upward. Ultimately, we decided to go with a different name (for several different reasons, as mentioned in the other clues), and

Clue #5: Both of this baby’s first and second names could be considered vintage/classic

This girl’s first & second names that we chose instead were both really popular in the early 1900’s but have tapered off a bit. In line with our other girls’ given names, though, they are considered “classic” so even when they are not peaking in the top 10, they are names every generation will be very familiar with and, I believe, age well (Which is important to me).

Hint: Since these are both classic names, we have met a few people through the years that have both of these names as given first names.  Neither of us ever had a student with either of these names though.  One name tends to lend itself more to a white-haired generation, and the other to a young (think baby) generation.

Halfway there…


Clue #6


Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #4

Clue #2

Clue #3

If you’ve followed along for any length of time with our baby names, you know that we like to give “classic” names (i.e. super common and some would even say boring!) to our darling daughters.  We like that these names span the bridge of time and wear well at different ages (at least so *we* think).  We also like the flexibility they will HOPEFULLY give our girls in their future job markets as they will have names befitting a schoolteacher, hairdresser, lawyer, nurse, author, or anything in between.

This is going to be another obvious clue, both because of our naming history but also because I teased it last time.

With that being said, because of our desire to be unique,

Clue #4: This baby will have a creative nickname mined from her given name

We have chosen to give all of our girls more un-common nicknames.  This baby will follow suit.  Some of their nicknames are more loosely taken than others, but we have found that people will call your child what you ask them to. And even with school starting and lots of formal papers to fill out, so far the nickname vs. formal name has never really been an issue.

We also like names that have a variety of nicknames to pull from because it gives our girls lots of naming flexibility in the future.  Or, they could always revert back to their formal name should they get tired of explaining the nickname.  Either is fine with us.  Because our girls’ nicknames are more unique and their first names are more common, I like that they have the versatility to change them down the road if they like one over the other…Or if they prefer a more common nickname.  Essentially we have given our babies names at birth but with a small bit of flexibility to age with them.

A small hint…Both her first name and nickname have a different starting letter than all of our first names and nicknames.  This was a challenge I took upon myself, and one I was willing to give up if the right name didn’t strike us (or struck us as starting with an E or something), but I am just a little more satisfied with her name knowing it doesn’t share a common first letter with any of the rest of us.

I was really drawn to names that are variants of Mary…Marion, Marin, and like I said last time, names that started with an E.  I also found myself having to say nicknames next to all our other nicknames so that I didn’t have any that were too matchy-matchy.  I found myself trying out names that had -by or -ena in them before realizing we already had that.  I’m also a sucker for names with -v’s in them, i.e. Evy.

But we found our unicorn despite these limits and that’s one of the main reasons I kept coming back to it, despite trying on a bunch of others for size.  Only about 6-ish more weeks until the big reveal!  Hang in there…


Clue #5


Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #3

Clue #1

Clue #2

Gender neutral names are super hot right now, and are one of the growing current trends in baby names (at least according to, my favorite online naming source)  I like some of those names and I can appreciate the parents who don’t want their daughter (say in her resume) to be discriminated against simply because of her name.

That being said,

Clue #3: we once again chose two very obviously feminine names for our baby’s remaining two names.  

Both of these names have a history of nearly 100% femininity and we can’t see either ever making the leap over to the boy’s side (though I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would see the day that James was given to so many little girls…).  We picked very feminine names for our other three girls, and we will continue that trend to our fourth.

Since this is my final round of baby names, I will let you in on a few of my favorites, now crossed off of our list forever. For a while, I did like Evelyn (one of those 100% female names today which actually has a history of being commonly given to males), and also considered Edith (another name shared with males back in the 19th century)  Evelyn would have been nicknamed Evy but I didn’t like that it rhymed with “heavy”.  Edith I didn’t care for as much as our other girls’ first names, but I did like Edy as a nickname (rhymes with needy).  I didn’t like that both of these names shared a first letter with Sib’s given name, though that was something I was willing to overlook if we couldn’t find anything else we were in love with.

Suffice it to say, we scratched both of those when we came up with daughter #4’s name, as we found something that suited us better and met all of our criteria 100%.  Two final hints I will leave you with

  1. both of those nickames I listed above require a pronunciation guide (much like our first and sometimes second daughters’ nicknames).  This baby’s nickname pronunciation should be obvious to all who encounter it.
  2. Though both of her given names will be strongly feminine, one of her names has a common male counterpart (i.e. Stephen/Stephanie)


Clue #4

Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #2


                                                                      Clue #1

So as I said last week, this baby will have three given names, followed by our last name.  That means she will have two middle names, with the second one being more of a “stick it on there because it looks/sounds pretty”, versus something she will forever be legally documenting.  All of our girls have the same formula for their names and this means

Clue #2, Baby Surprise’s second middle name will be a color name

Yes, we did this on a whim with our first, but it stuck for the second and we like that all of our girls will have this, both as a conversation piece and also as a common thread amongst them.  Why a color name?  Well, there’s no good answer to that.  I have some artistic background (and that’s mostly where I’ve come across the color names we’ve used previously, in oil paint sets and the like) and N appreciates and has a deep love for art.  So I guess you could say it harkens back to that.  A slight nod to our interests.

Least you think we will use something like Blue, Scarlett, or Violet, let me warn you first, though:

1) This color name is in a different color family than the others we’ve used before. This was important to me even though I found myself, once again, drawn to so many shades of blue, green, and purple and their prettily named variants. I would rather the girls each have their own shade.

Truthfully, I initially had my sights set on Marigold. This satisfied the equation since it is a yellowy-orange color, not one of the named above.  I also like that it had Downton Abbey ties, which is silly, but all of our girls so far, have had a piece of their name featured on the show.  but…

2) N really wanted us to use something that wasn’t so obvious. Since we often explain our girls’ names to people and then have to explain what color their color names actually describe, he wanted this baby to have her own illustrious but inconspicuous name.  He went on a hunt and came up with a short list to present to me (a first for both of us).  One name on there stuck out and long story short, it won.

It satisfies both criteria: different from the other colors we’ve chosen and uncommon enough that we have to tell people what color family it is from. (plus it sounds good with her name, which, of course was our unnamed third criteria).

So there you go.  Another piece of the convoluted puzzle as to how we come up with our babies’ names.  This one a shout-out to dad, who for the first time ever, both suggested and partially named one of our girls.


Clue #3

Asparagus Spear me the details

Well surprise, Surprise, we have come upon another month, month seven.  I’m about 31.5 weeks and we are down to the final countdown.  10, 9, 8…single digits from here on out.  It just struck me yesterday that I will only write two more of these.  And that’s IF I make it all the way to my due date (which seems more than likely given my history, but a pregnant girl can hope–for just a few days early, right??)

Baby Surprise is the size of an asparagus stalk (really??) and growing bigger/fatter each day. This is an important season of brain growth and lung development for her, as well as packing on the pounds to be as ready as possible for birth.  She is still not a very active baby, but when she is, it is very noticeable.  Her movements are a lot more forceful now that she’s bigger, and I can also feel the more subtle ones as well.  Standing up has become a new dread, because as soon as I do, all of the pressure from her little body and extra fluid goes right to my bladder.  Not a good time of year to also have a cold, let me just say that.

I do believe she is head down now, based on where I can feel her most forcefully.  Occasionally she goes somewhat diagonal, head pointing to my left hand side, a favorite position for all my babies.

In a moment of candidness the other night, I was attempting to tell MG how I always get a little sad following the close of Christmas and the beginning of a new year. But then I realized that I have one VERY exciting thing to look forward to and it is just around the corner.  Sadness squashed.

This is a great time of year to be large and pregnant because winter has finally arrived and in many ways, I have found it refreshing.  I rarely find myself cold these days (well, indoors), an improbability if you look at my past history.  Skin, as a whole, is covered up and pools are closed so it is easy to hide beneath a large sweater and jeans that feel like pajamas.  There are treats in abundance right now, and seeing as how I passed my second GD test, I am able to enjoy them without counting the cost of every single one. There have been many retellings of the Christmas story, each one a boon to pregnant women and the stirring up of the emotional mirth as it relates to being a mom, having a baby, giving birth.

The only downfall, as I see it, is the sickness going around.  And this year it has been especially bad.  The flu, strep, stomach bugs, and all kinds of mysterious upper respiratory junk is going around and this month alone, we’ve had fevers, coughs, and a terrible amount of mucous.  MG brought it home first and true to form, about a week later, I found myself feeling like I was going to die (or at least wishing someone would come and put me out of my misery).  Ten o-clock at night, after a day of prepping for Christmas activity and talking all day, my throat feeling like cut glass every time I spoke or cough, my voice baritone with congestion, I found myself violently shaking from chills, unable to even sleep for about two hours as this precipitated into a fever.  The fever thankfully, for myself and the baby, only lasted for about 24 hours and never got above 101, but it cost me my extended family Christmas that I was looking forward to and bought me a recovery day on the couch in an empty house.

These mysterious illnesses are always miserable, but imagine having this while you are pregnant, so there are literally no medicines you can take without severe warnings (and potentially harsh consequences), you must continue to monitor your baby throughout, making sure she is kicking around normally, and there are no comfortable positions as you may not recline on your back or stomach so that baby has enough blood flow and room to move.  Misery.

Anyway, the hope is that we will have an iron immune system for the rest of the pregnancy and first precarious months of the baby’s life, and I think we’ve earned it, too, with the amount of stomach bugs, colds, and coughs we faced in 2017.

On the horizon of this month, I see another chiropractor appointment (and because I FELL in a slippery parking lot this month {while holding Sib}, I’m hoping she can correct whatever damage I did in that), bi-weekly doctor appointments, a babymoon for just N and I, a LOT of sewing/prepping (or at least I am hopeful), and gathering the last of the baby items.  Oh, and we still haven’t transitioned Sib up to her new room but we’ve started the process of transforming the room and it feels so good.  January is the longest month of this pregnancy we have left, as February is just a short four weeks and then it’s baby month!

January is also always a purging month and I love to hop aboard that train after filling our house with sweets, Christmas decor, and lots of new toys. We’ve been selling a lot of unused items via Craigslist and marketplace and that is certainly something that scratches the nesting itch for me.  As soon as the Christmas decor came down, I felt an OVERWHELMING need to clean, organize, discard, and prepare. I spent the first few days of the year doing just that and it felt just as good as I imagined it.  I now feel like I can breathe, create, and continue to make way for this baby.  I’ve got my lists and I’m checking them off, twice!

There has been little sleep this month, but lots of rest, with a nearly three week Christmas break and lots of time at home with little sick ones.  Insomnia has plagued me hard, though not in the traditional sense.  If I get woken up in the night (other than to use the bathroom, of course, which still happens with great regularity), a fairly common probability with all the people that live here, it takes me no less than two hours to fall back asleep, sometimes more.

I’ve tried all the tricks in the book, thinking about nothing, thinking about every problem and solving them 100x over, breathing techniques, not looking at any screens or turning on any lights, relaxing, etc.  Frankly, I just lay there, eyes closed, often surprised when I have to visit the restroom throughout the duration, that another hour has passed.  It’s a costly problem to have when you have children hard-wired to wake up at a pre-determined early time every single day, but the only thing I can do to help it is to go to bed early and hope for the best.  So that is the continual plan for now.

Soon those awake hours will not result in a restful, prone position, but rocking and shushing for undetermined amounts of time. So I’ll count my blessings for now and pray that the next two months bring us a lot less sickness and more time enjoying our final moments as a family of five!


Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #1

If you haven’t already, check out our Intro to the Games here, first

It’s time to begin the clues and the first one should come to you with very little, well, surprise:

  1. This baby will have three given names, followed by our last name.

As I said previously, we have a little baby name box that we neatly try to fit all of our girls’ names into (and would-have-been-boys as well).  We didn’t start out thinking we would create our own baby naming guidebook (for ourselves), but after the first two were set just so, we wanted the third and fourth to feel a part of the group too.  Having three names to pick for EACH girl has been a little trying at times (especially towards the end), but also fun as it gives us a little bit more of a creative stretch.

In truth, almost no legal forms have ever asked for our girls’ second middle name; so in the eyes of the law, these names are nearly non-existent. BUT, we enjoy that each of our girls have the same formula to their names, a bond they can share over the years.

When they get married, they will almost certainly drop one, if not both, of their middle names.  But we like that they have the choice in that and which one they will keep going forward.  A theme you will see woven throughout is that we like to give our girls options.  Both N and I ALSO have two middle names as he was given two in the hospital (his parents couldn’t agree in the moment which one to use and therefore decided to go with both).  And I added my maiden name onto my legal name when I got married, in order to match, so technically I have two as well.

We are a family of four-namers, and we like it that way,


Clue #2

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