What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

A lot of people have been asking me recently how we chose names for our children, and what factors will go into choosing the name for our newest addition, so I thought it might be fun to blog about it!  Truthfully, I have always found the naming process really stressful.  I know it should be fun, but I feel like choosing the right name is so important and so I feel that burden of responsibility.

I’ve never been hung up on selecting names that actually have deep significant meaning, although I do always check what the historic meanings of the names are.  However, I do care about family ties to names, traditions, and also any special meaning I connect to a name personally.

It’s fair to say that I’ve also always been a fan of classic names – I like trendy names, but have never been drawn to them for my own children.  I wanted my children to have names that would stand the test of time.  As teachers, Jeff and I also have the added struggle of associating certain names with certain students… which can be good and bad! So that is something that often plays into how we feel about names.

After we named our first child, it was important to me that our other children had names that had a similar feel.  I know this isn’t important to everyone, but for me, I wanted all of my kids to have names that flowed together.

Additionally, because we have always waited until the delivery to find out the gender of our babies, with each pregnancy we have had to decide on two names – one for a girl, and one for a boy, to ensure our bases are all covered!  However, we have almost never gone back to the names we had selected for previous babies, as we typically find ourselves drawn to something new or different with each pregnancy, although I still think the similar vibe of the names we’ve chosen for each child is evident.

Continue reading if you’re interested in how we named each of our kids and what their names mean to us!

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Isla Deanne –

When I was pregnant with Isla, in 2011, I was really drawn to simple and classic names, like Emma and Ava.  However, I had several friends who had babies around the same time who used these names, so I wanted something that had a similar feel, but was still different.  I first heard the name “Isla” from the movie actress, Isla Fisher.  I remember actually googling how to pronounce the name to make sure I was pronouncing it correctly – thankfully, I loved the pronunciation (Eye-La), and so we decided to go ahead with that for the first name.  “Isla” is traditionally a Scottish name meaning “island”, although this didn’t really play a role in our choosing of the name. When we chose the name, it was still very uncommon, and a lot of people commented on how unique it was – despite the fact that it’s in fact a very old name!  However, within a couple of years of our Isla being born, it became a very popular name, and we now know of several little Isla’s.

The middle name “Deanne” was selected because it is my mom’s middle name, and also my middle name, so I loved the significance of passing my middle name on to my first born daughter, just as my mom passed in on to me – her firstborn daughter.  Deanne is  a variant of the name Diane, and means “divine”.

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Benson Jeffrey

I always struggle with boys names far more than with girls names; I’m not sure why this is, but I do find naming boys so much more difficult.  Because we already had an Isla, I wanted a name that would compliment it, sticking with the “short, simple, and classic” trend we started with our firstborn.  We tossed around a lot of different names,  but couldn’t seem to agree for quite some time.  We finally agreed that we liked the name “Ben”, but we wanted to give him options when he was older by giving him a slightly longer name.  The obvious choice was “Benjamin”, but again, we knew several Benjamin’s, so when we came across the name “Benson”, we knew it was the perfect way for us to have our own little Ben in a slightly less traditional way.  The name “Benson” is actually traditionally a surname, and it’s no surprise that the actual meaning is “Son of Ben”.  However, the name Ben is a family name on my mom’s side of the family, so it held special meaning in that it can be passed on to another generation.

As far as Ben’s middle name, no surprise here either, but he was named after my husband.  We had originally selected a different middle name, but a few days before Ben was born, Jeff asked if we could just his name as the middle name, and of course, I was ok with that.   “Jeffrey” is a German name that means “pledge of peace”, which I actually love for our sweet boy, who has become such a balm for my mamas soul.

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Molly Blythe

Molly’s name makes me smile every time I say it.  It took us awhile to settle on her name, and in fact, we didn’t choose it officially until a few weeks before she was born.  We have both always loved the name Molly, but for some reason, it never made the top of our list with previous children.  When we were first married, we vacationed to Bali and we stayed at a resort where another family from Australia was staying – they had a little one named Molly, and we both loved it when we heard it, and attributed it to this darling little girl we saw playing in the pool everyday.  I think our hesitancy in using the name earlier on had more to do with our belief that the name was too common – however, I have come to realize that while the name Molly is familiar to everyone, it’s actually not that common. “Molly” is actually a Hebrew name, which means “bitter”, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the meaning of the name itself, for us, it wasn’t enough of an issue not to use the name.

Molly’s middle name, Blythe, is actually inspired by a novel I was reading when I was pregnant with her.  There was a character in the story named “Juniper Blythe”, and I absolutely loved the way the name sounded.  When I tried it out with Molly, it just clicked – to me, Molly Blythe sounds like the name of a storybook character, and as an English teacher, I love the tie of the name to literature.  I also absolutely love the meaning of the name Blyth, which is an English name meaning “happy and carefree”.  This is our little one to a tee – and thankfully it not balances out the meaning of her first name, but also gives us a new family name unique to our little unit.


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Baby #4

If you’ve noticed any sort of pattern in our name selections, then you might have some ideas of the types of names that we love and are considering for our newest babe – classic, simple, traditional, short, simple, sweet.  These are all words I would use to describe our name style.

We have a few that we are considering right now for each gender, but with two expectant sisters, and several expectant friends, it remains to be seen what we will end up selecting!  Although I no longer have the same qualms about using names that others have used, I still personally wouldn’t choose the same name that a family member or close personal friend has chosen, simply due to the confusion that can cause when everyone is together!

However, because we still aren’t 100% settled, I would LOVE some baby name suggestions for both a girl and a boy that you think would fit our family trend! What perfect name combo would you add to our mix of little people?!


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Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

For those of you who have been following along for awhile, you may remember my post from last fall outlining my capsule wardrobe for the season, along with information about what a capsule wardrobe is, and the benefits of having one.  You can read more about that here.

As a quick reminder, a capsule wardrobe is basically a seasonal wardrobe made up of a set number of items, specifically chosen to be mixed and matched to form a variety of combinations.  The guiding principles are really minimalizing, budgeting, mixing/matching, and de-cluttering.

I am a huge fan of capsule wardrobes because they have simplified my life, made my shopping more intentional, helped me to better budget, and also de-cluttered my closet so that I’m not left looking at a million items and yet thinking, “I have nothing to wear”, every single day.

I had intended to post my winter capsule wardrobe, but to be honest, I basically just swapped out a few items from my fall wardrobe and kept several of the staples the same, so it didn’t seem to warrant a whole new post.  However, being that it’s spring, and the summer season is upon us, I decided to re-vamp … on top of that, I’m also pregnant!  So, this will be my first ever “maternity capsule wardrobe”, and I wanted to share it with you.

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To be honest, creating a maternity capsule wardrobe has actually been easier than creating a regular, seasonal wardrobe.  I think the reason for that is because with pregnancy being for a relatively short season of life, I don’t often go crazy buying maternity clothing anyway, since I know I won’t get much wear out of it in the future.  This is especially true for me now with baby #4, knowing that this will be my last pregnancy.

That being said, I love fashion, and I firmly believe that one of the best ways to feel good about yourself – especially in pregnancy – is to like the way you look, and to feel comfortable.  I have shared before on my Instagram posts that although I know how blessed I am to be able to have children biologically, I do struggle with the physical changes that accompany pregnancy, so for me, having a wardrobe that I feel great in goes a long way to having a more positive self-image throughout the experience.

The most difficult aspect of creating a maternity capsule was considering which sizes to purchase in the items I decided were essential to purchase– because I don’t want to have to buy these items more than once.  So, it’s important to remember that your baby bump is going to keep growing, and if budget is your main concern, try and buy items in materials that will grow with you.

A couple of other tips and tricks for putting together your maternity wardrobe:

  • Choose neutral basics
  • Layering pieces are a great way to get the most bang for your buck, and often transition from season to season (ie: kimonos, cardigans, leggings, etc).
  • Invest in a couple great pairs of maternity jeans/pants; there are a range of waistbands you can find for your greatest comfort.
  • You can often get away with buying pieces that aren’t actually “maternity” items, depending on the style, fit, and fabric – so it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a great maternity selection where you live.
  • Make sure you invest in some quality UNDERWEAR! This might seem really silly, but I am not kidding you – being comfortable underneath your clothing goes a long way to how you’ll feel in your new maternity styles.

For this maternity capsule, I decided to increase my total number of items to 42 instead of 40, just given the fact that I want this to basically be one wardrobe that will span across two seasons.  I’m due in October, so technically I guess that’s entering the fall season as well, but I’m not going to buy myself fall clothes for the very end of a pregnancy; instead I will probably put together a “post-baby-body” fall/winter capsule.

For this spring/summer wardrobe I was really drawn to solid, neutral colours, with some pops of floral, classic stripes, and a range of textures that feel great.  I also incorporated a few pieces that can be worn both in a professional setting, and also paired with more casual pieces, since I’m still working.  I am also obsessed with dresses this season, and I find them to be one of the most comfortable things to wear during pregnancy; most of my previous pregnancies have been in the winter months, so I’ve never worn dresses the way I am planning to in this pregnancy.  Additionally, although I ended up packing away the majority of my “regular” clothing, I did keep a few pieces from my regular wardrobe to incorporate into this maternity capsule.

So, without further ado, here are my picks for my spring/summer maternity capsule wardrobe:

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Items in wardrobe listed by category with links provided when possible.  


Floral Dress (Gap), Black Tank Dress (Old Navy), Striped Dress (Pink Blush – Comparable), Fitted Turquoise Dress (Pink Blush), Mauve Maxi Dress (Pink Blush), Black Romper (Flexi-Lexi Fitness)


Distressed “Bounceback” Jeans (Motherhood Maternity), Skinny Jeans (Jessica Simpson), Distressed Faded Jeans (Motherhood Maternity), Denim Overalls (Gap), Black Leggings (Lululemon), Black Pants (Gap), Denim Shorts (Jessica Simpson), Cargo Drawstring Shorts (Jessica Simpson)  (Still on the hunt for a pair of black shorts and a pair of joggers!)


Black Tank-top (H&M), White Tank-top (Gap), Grey Tank-top (Gap), Grey Tee (Artizia), Pink Tank-top (Gap), White Tee (Babaton), Black Tee (Aritzia), Denim Button-Up (Gap), Striped Button-Up (Community – Comparable), Oxford Button-Up (Gap)


Oversized Cardigan (Aritzia), Navy Floral Kimono (Pink Blush Comparable), Yellow Sash Kimono (American Eagle Outfitters), Lace-Trimmed Kimono (Spank), Crochet Kimono (American Eagle Outfitters Comparable), Long Marl-Grey Cardigan (Banana Republic)


Denim Jacket (Guess), Oversized Coat (Aritzia Comparable), Pink Boyfriend Blazer (Dynamite)


Steve Madden Flats (Town Shoes); Adidas Stan Smith White Runners (Aritzia), Birkenstock Sandals (Town Shoes), Grey Dress Flats (Franco Sarto – Comparable), Black Slip-Ons (Gap), Cognac Sandals (Gap), White Woven Mules (Gap)


So there you have it!  I may swap out a couple of the more professional pieces for one or two more casual items once the summer rolls around, if needed.  Every pregnancy is different, and it’s hard to know how the body will grow and change, so I’m going to give myself some flexibility in this wardrobe if I grow out of pieces too quickly.  However, I think I’ve made some smart choices, and hopefully this wardrobe will do well until baby #4 arrives in fall!  What are your must-have maternity items?!

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What’s one more…Baby #4!

What’s one more…Baby #4!


“How do you know when you’re done?”

I think this is a pretty common question women – and maybe just families in general – wonder about.  When do you know that you’re done having babies, and that your family is complete?  I’m in a ladies group that meets once a month, and at our last outing, we were actually discussing this very topic.  As a group of 12 women, we are across the spectrum when it comes to life experiences, careers, family goals, etc, so it’s always fun to discuss big topics when there are so many perspectives.

Many of the women in our group have more than one child, some are just having their first, and some haven’t yet had children – and may not even want to.  Some women are still growing their families, and some feel that their families are complete, and are ready to move on to the next phase of life.  But we have all had to answer the same questions along the way… do I want kids?  If so, how many?  And – how will I know when I’m done?

It seems like a really cliché answer, but in my experience, truthfully – you will KNOW when you’re done.  Now, to be fair, in this case, I’m talking about women who have a choice in the matter.  I know there are many heartbreaking stories of people who have wanted to have babies, or to have large families, but for whatever reason, have not been able to do so.  In that case, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to come to terms with your hopes and dreams not lining up with the reality of your situation.  I know many couples that have chosen to grow their families in other ways when they have faced obstacles with biological childbearing, and I think everyone needs the freedom to figure out what works best for them and their family when it comes to having children.  But even in these cases, I think eventually, every family has to face the decision about whether or not they will continue to pursue adding children to their family unit, or be done.

For Jeff and I, we really thought our family was going to be complete once Molly arrived.  I had had a rough final trimester with her, and had actually been induced early to relieve strain on my heart (I have a congenital heart defect – which is another story for another day).  Although our journey to growing our family hasn’t been without loss and heartache, we felt really confident in those first months after Molly was born, that our family was complete.  We never did anything “permanent” to ensure that we wouldn’t have any more babies, but we did start to sell off baby items as Molly outgrew them, and spoke to others as though she would be our last.  I also began to look ahead to my future career goals, and took steps in that direction.

And yet – here we are – pregnant with baby #4!  So, when did it change?  And how did we go from “knowing” we were done, to “knowing” we wanted one more? To be honest, I think maybe the fact that we never took permanent action to prevent another pregnancy was the first sign that we, as a couple, weren’t actually 100% committed to the idea that we were finished growing our family; we just never felt comfortable taking the steps necessary to make it official.

Additionally, as Molly has grown, and I’ve watched her watch her older siblings, I’ve become convinced that she needs a little buddy of her own.  Don’t get me wrong – I think all sizes of families, and all age gaps, are wonderful and there is no “right” or “wrong” family unit. But for our family, the friendship that Isla and Ben share, being so close in age, was something I wanted for Molly – who is nearly four years younger than Ben.  It’s not that she doesn’t have a special relationship with her older siblings – and to be fair, I also wrestled somewhat with how it would impact Molly to go from being the clear baby of the family, to having another little person in her world competing for our time and energy. But at the end of the day, as the months went on,and Molly neared her first birthday, I really began to reconsider trying one more time for one more baby.

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I should also say, that this desire wasn’t just for Molly – but also for myself.  I am one of those women who loves to give birth, and the idea that I would never again go through the journey of pregnancy and childbirth was almost painful to think about.  To top it all off, Jeff and I are both from families of four siblings, and from the beginning we have always said we would have three or four children.  So – long story short – in my heart of hearts, I think the door was never really closed after Molly was born, and I think it was good for us as a family that we gave ourselves permission to consider all the possibilities, and then go with our hearts on the decision.

The main reason that I really think that you just KNOW when you are done, is because now that I’m pregnant with baby #4… I KNOW I am done.  I feel so certain this time around, and I’m trying to really embrace all of the “lasts” that this pregnancy holds for me.  I am not in mourning over the fact that this will be the last time I do this… I feel really content and secure in our decision.  It feels differently than my pregnancy with Molly – the finality of this experience is clear to me this time around.  It’s hard to explain, except to say, “I just know” that this will be the last time I am pregnant.

So… how will you know when you’re done having babies?  Lol… I’m not really sure this blog post has answered that question, outside of my own personal experience.  It’s a completely personal choice for every woman and family unit to make.  But if I would leave you with once piece of advice – don’t let anyone or anything pressure you to make the decision if you aren’t sure.  Take your time, chat with your spouse, consider all of your options and the many paths you can take to growing your family, as well as what you hope for your family unit, not just today, but in the future as well. Give yourself permission to feel all the feelings when it comes to your decision.  For me – I now know in my heart of hearts, that my family is complete.

I would love to hear how you came to this decision for your family, or if it’s a decision you are still making!  How did YOU know when you were done adding children to your family?

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