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Our Baby Naming Day Tradition

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Octavius 1 The Prudent Homemaker

This little boy is growing so fast! At his two-week appointment, he had gained over a pound. He now weighs 9 pounds 14 ounces!

I've been asked by many readers over the years about how we name our children. We started a tradition with our first of having a baby naming day about a week after each child was born.

With our first, we didn't have an ultrasound, so we never knew for certain what we were having. My midwife told me that some people believe that slower heartbeats are more common in boys, and faster ones in girls. She told us our heartbeat was a slower one, and I remember thinking it would either be a boy, or a really calm girl (it turned out to be the calm girl!) Not knowing for certain what we were having was a great help, frugally, for our first; our shower gifts were more practical ones, rather than just clothing, at a time when we didn't have the money to spare for all of the basic baby supplies.

My husband and I decided to have a date at a bookstore one night, looking through baby names together. We read through hundreds of names, suggesting different ones back and forth to one another, and also suggesting those we would never use, just for fun.

There was a man sitting near us, reading a book and hearing our exchange. He looked up after a while and said, "You guys take this pretty seriously, don't you?"

As it turned out, our first was a girl, and the names we had been considering for a boy were no good at all. 

My recovery from her birth was long, and our main concerns were helping me and learning to take care of the baby. Naming her was far from my mind.

She was born before Christmas, and my parents were coming for Christmas. My husband said to me on Christmas Eve, "It's Baby Naming Day!" We spent that day choosing a name. We started with our first rule then: No family names. My husband didn't want any hard feelings between family members if we chose names from one side of the family or the other.

I grabbed my Longman's Anthology of English Literature, hoping for some baby name inspiration. By chance, I came across this poem from William Blake:

Infant Joy
I have no name,
I am but two days old--
What shall I call thee?
I happy am
Joy is my name--
Sweet joy befall me!


Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old.
Sweet joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee


After going all the way through the book, skimming for name ideas, I still had nothing. I went back looking for words that I could use as a name instead, and this time around, I noticed a poem entitled,  "Winter."

Seeing it was December when she was born, we decided that this was an appropriate name.

Octavius Baby Feet The Prudent Homemaker

With our second, we didn't even discuss a name ahead of time. About a week after he was born, my husband again chose a day and declared it was baby naming day. We brought me a stack of papers he had printed online of baby names in alphabetical order and a pen. He said, "Circle any you like." I didn't circle anything until I got to the C's, and then the name jumped out at me from the page: "Cyrus." I called my husband in, and he liked it too. Baby naming day was quick and easy that time.

With our third, it wasn't quite so easy. By this time, we had decided that any names that were on the Social Security top 100 list were out of the running. My husband was one of 5 Steves in class as a child, and he didn't want our child to have that same experience. We went looking for scriptural names on baby naming day, (but they couldn't be on the top 100!) which is how we decided  my husband decided on Ezrom. There are a couple of variations of his name: "Esrom" and "Hebron", depending on where you look and what translation you are reading.  

Liberty, our fourth, was a different story. I had heard the name Liberty and liked it a lot, but my husband thought with our third that any names we mentioned ahead of time should be tossed (another odd "rule" we stuck in there), so I kept the name quiet until after she was born before I suggested it. I also liked the name Wren (I used to visit teach a young woman named Eliza Wren in college), and suggested it as well. Once we decided on Liberty, I suggested we use Wren as a middle name My husband suggested that we keep the name Wren in case we had another girl.

Our fifth was a girl, and so we actually had a name to start with when we had baby naming day (only 4 days after her birth). We talked about other names, including Lark, but in the end, Wren was her name.

For our sixth, we were down to 4 names, all variations of the same name! I don't remember all 4 now, but I do remember that it was odd how similar they were and that Elsa and Liesl were two of the 4. In the end, my husband told me to just pick one! That was hard, but I chose Elsa, never dreaming that a few years later everyone would be talking about Elsa in the context of a Disney princess.

For our seventh, I was again down to four names. I really liked the name Ruby, but my husband didn't. I called her Ruby for several days before our official baby naming day. In the end, I was also considering Poppy and Peony, plus another I no longer recall. I couldn't narrow it down and there was no way my husband wanted Ruby. I decided to look again, and I found a list of baby "nature" names online. "Ivory" was on that list, and like Cyrus' name, it jumped out at me. I suggested it to my husband, and he liked it--and baby naming day was done.

This last baby was the hardest to name. I joked about calling him Henry, since he was the eighth, but it was only a joke. ("Henry" is currently 29 on the U.S. list and 19 on the U.K. list). We went through several names, and I tried on each one for a few days before our baby naming day. The day we were planning for baby naming day this time was a Sunday, as we didn't have time to do a naming day on a weekday as we have in the past. Sunday I ended up with a terrible sinus headache, so we put it off a week. 

In the end, come the next Sunday (which we made our "official" baby naming day), I pretty much knew what I wanted and wasn't able to be swayed. I decided this name, and as he is the eighth, it's quite appropriate.

Everyone, welcome Octavius.

Baby 8 2 weeks The Prudent Homemaker

 Octavius Awake The Prudent Homemaker

Tagged in: Baby Motherhood
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Our New Arrival

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Our sweet baby arrived at 2:15 a.m. on Friday, May 6th.

Baby 8 The Prudent Homemaker

 At only 6 days past my due date, he was my earliest baby. (The others were all born between 42-44 weeks). He was also the biggest, weighing 8 pounds, 11 ounces (3,936 g). Like all of my others, he was born at home.

Recovery for both of us has been slow, as labor was not easy for either of us, but I am happy to say that we are both doing well. 

This is our eighth baby. We haven't chosen a name yet. We have a tradition of naming our baby after birth, and we're still looking for the right name. I did joke to my husband on Mother's Day that we could name him Henry, since he's the eighth!

I'll post another photo when we have a name.


Tagged in: Motherhood
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Anticipation Blackberry Flowers The Prudent Homemaker


Good things to come. . . .

 Anticipation Elderberry The Prudent Homemaker


Meyer Lemon Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

 Strawberry Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker


Anticipation Grapes The Prudent Homemaker

 Anticipation Peony The Prudent Homemaker


Baby Rattle The Prudent Homemaker

 Baby expected in a few weeks!


Tagged in: Motherhood The Garden
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Goodbye Mom

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I met my in-laws a few days before our wedding. My husband had found an apartment for us, which was mine alone for a month (he stayed with his brother) until we were married. We moved all of both of our things into it before we were married.
My in-laws asked to see the apartment that we had set up a couple of nights before the wedding.
"Tell me about your bust," my future mother-in-law said as we walked into one room.
I paused. WHAT had she just said? How was I supposed to answer that?
Thankfully, my husband was able to come to the rescue. "I made that," he said, looking at the bust of a woman's head that he had cast for himself as part of his work before he met me.
I sighed with relief.
That is how we met.
A few years later, they moved to Las Vegas permanently.
When my oldest was just 20 months old and my second child was just a month old, she taught me how to can peaches. I was amazed at how fast she canned. I still cannot can that fast! She set a high standard for me. That was 10 years ago.
She understood food storage; her own family lived on it for a year, too, when her husband was out of a job and my husband was a child. She was a frugal person.
She was always, always serving someone.
My mother-in-law passed away last night.
Goodbye, Mom. We sure love you.

Tagged in: Motherhood
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The Divinity of Motherhood

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On Sunday, July 1st, we blessed our baby at church.

In our church, babies are usually blessed on the first Sunday of the month, when we have fast and testimony meeting. Members of the congregation fast (go without food or drink) for 2 meals, and give the money that they would have spent on those meals to help feed the poor. The meeting during that Sunday is dedicated to the bearing of testimonies. Members of the congregation are invited to stand before everyone to bear their testimony of Jesus Christ, of His gospel, and other divine truths.

Our parents came to be with us for the baby blessing, so our children were divided between grandparents in the pews, rather than sitting next to us on this Sunday. This allowed me the opportunity to sit next to a young girl of 13. I noticed her staring at at the baby in my arms, and I wondered what she was thinking.

A little while later, she rose to bear her testimony, and to my surprise, I found out what she had been thinking.

She said that she was staring at our baby, and that she was thinking about the divinity of motherhood, and what an important role it will be for her to fulfill someday.

It was one of the most simple, most profound testimonies that I have ever heard.

Did you know that you testified of the importance of motherhood, simply by choosing to bear children?  I had never thought of it that way. Her words helped me to see the examples that we set, simply by choosing to give life to the spirits who are waiting to come to this earth.

I asked her if she wanted to hold the baby. She blinked back tears and said yes, and she held my sleeping infant in her arms for the rest of the meeting.

"Years ago, a son wrote to his mother and asked her what she did to successfully rear her children—all nineteen of them! She wrote him this reply:
The writing anything about my way of education I am much adverse to. It cannot, I think, be of service to anyone to know how I, who have lived such a retired life for so many years, used to employ my time and care in bringing up my own children. No one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my methods; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save souls of their children,which they think may be saved without so much ado; for that was my principal intention, however unskillfully and unsuccessfully managed.” (Franklin Wilder, Immortal Mother, New York: Vantage Press, 1966, p. 43; italics added.)
That mother was Susannah Wesley, and the son who wrote was John Wesley, one of the great reformers. Twenty years of the prime of life in the hopes of saving the souls of her children! Such a task required skill, competence, courage, intelligence, and ingenuity far above any career."

Motherhood is a divine calling. Your example influences others far beyond what you may ever know.

Tagged in: Motherhood
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