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Friday, March 22, 2013

Baby Girl Falcon, Sister to Stella Grace

Valerie writes:
I have read every crevice of your blog as we try to find a name for our second daughter (and last child), due to arrive in late March/early April and I would be thrilled to the input of you and your fabulous readers.  We are stuck!

Our older daughter is Stella Grace and our last name is Falcon with an e at the end (sounds like Capone).  Naming Stella was easy for us, as it was a name that we had fallen in love with many years before we were finally able to get pregnant.  We loved the slight Italian feeling of it, and it's meaning of "star", and once we saw her little heartbeat flickering on the ultrasound and my husband offhandedly commented that it looked like a little star, we were sold and never looked back.  We did not realize at the time that it had/would become a popular name. 

We are having a harder time naming this little girl, I think because we don't have the same type of long term attachment to a name, or any sort of a meaningful connection or story to go with it that makes us feel like "Yes, this is it!"  Who knew that naming a daughter based solely on finding a "name we both love" could be so hard!?

I'd describe the name style that we are looking for as having an antique charm with classic sound, being familiar but not too common.  We'd like it to be a nice complement to Stella (but not too matchy) with a bonus for having some Italian roots in either the first or middle spot.  There are two names that continue to bubble to the top, but my husband and each love a different one more than the other. So we are trying to put them both to the side while we consider other names, as it's hard to imagine choosing a name that either of us is at all hesitant about.

Scarlett Noelle Falcon(e)-this is my top choice, and my husband really likes it, but isn't sold.  Our concerns (though minor): Is Scarlett too sexy? Is Stella and Scarlett too matchy?

Ivy Caprice Falcon(e)-this is my husbands top choice, and I like it, but don't love it. I am stuck on the concern that if Ivy becomes a more popular name she could end up being called Ivy F. (IVF) in school.  My husband thinks I'm crazy for being worried about this but I can't help it!

Other names we are currently considering:
Serena-my husbands current fave
Gianna nn Gia or GiGi
Corissa nn Cora (love that it has a tie to meaning heart in Italian, even if it's loose, as a way to connect it to Stella's star meaning). We are open to other ways to getting to Cora, or maybe just using Cora alone as well.  I love Coraline, but we struggle with the movie connection.
Caterina Patrice (an Italian version of our mom's names, Catherine and Patricia).  This has the meaning we are looking for, but we don't LOVE it, and don't think it's a great match with Stella

Names that we've considered, but taken off the table:
Emilia-I love, my husband does not like it
Luciana or Lucia-I love (and my middle name is Lucille), my husband does not like it
Seraphina-we both like, but don't like it's nicknames, especially Sera
Juliana-we have close friends who just used this

Please help us! You and your readers always give such fabulous advice, and we would be so grateful for a nudge in the right direction.  I promise to update with our decision and a picture once she arrives!

Thank you so much, 
An update since I last wrote:

We are both still feeling strongly about our first choices (mine: Scarlett, his now: Serena) but neither of us likes that it's not the top choice for both of us. We've continued to brainstorm other names, or other variations of names we've been considering, as well as pairing middle names to see if that helps us.  Nothing has emerged as a common favorite, and we're not sure now how to resolve the fact that we have different top choices. 

Here is our current list:
Scarlett Noelle-my first choice, my husbands 2nd choice. He struggles a bit with the "scar" part of the name
Serena (having a hard time with a middle.  I like Rose and Rae, as a one syllable "sounds" right to me, but my husband doesn't like either middle. Perhaps we'd go with Noelle here?)-my husbands 1st choice, my 3rd or 4th.
Caterina Patrice (versions of our Mom's names as I described below, a sentimental favorite that we've had on our list for years, but it's not our favorite name and we're not sure it flows with Stella)
Everly Noelle
Noelle Seraphina
Ivy Caprice-I still have my "IVF" concerns, and my husband has let go of the name now since he loves Serena.
Cora Noelle - I love Cora, Rich likes it. This has been my 2nd choice for a while, but it's a bit more complicated now as our good friends who love this name just had a miscarriage.  We had agreed to both be free to use it, but now I feel like it would be insensitive, especially since it's not our top choice. This is probably Rich's 3rd choice, but he said it's distant to Serena and Scarlett.

Is there any other feedback or info I can give you that would help you to help us? 

I think I'd like to start by making one long list of all the first-name candidates from both letters:


And now I'll start crossing off. First I would cross off Noelle, because Stella and Noelle are both "elle" names. (I think it would be a nice tie-in if used as the middle name.)

Then I'd cross off Ivy. I love the name, and I don't think children generally know what IVF is, and IVF isn't an insulting or negative thing, and I don't think the name Ivy is going to be common enough among your daughter's peers for their to be a high likelihood of more than one Ivy per class. But on the other hand, flukes can happen (there can be not one single Isabella in a classroom, but two Isadoras), and the IVF thing would bother me a little too even though I can mostly talk myself out of it, and anyway your husband has dropped it as his favorite so the motivation to make it work has faded.

Then I'd cross off Everly. I feel like it's an outlier among your other name choices. (It might work very well as a middle name, however.)

I would cross both Cora and Corissa off the list, out of sensitivity toward your friends.

That leaves us with:


One thing I've noticed about a second child's name is that it can give spin to the first child's name. If a couple has a child named, say, Esther, it's difficult to tell yet how to take that name: is it more of a biblical/devout choice, or is it more of a hipster choice, or is it a family name, or WHAT? The second child's name can tell us more information: a little sister named Ruth tells us one thing, and a little sister named Matilda tells us another.

Stella is for me a name like Esther: I can picture taking it a few different ways. The name Scarlett clicks with the name Stella for me, I think because of the movie association (Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire, respectively, plus the additional impact of the actress Scarlett Johansson). For me, using Scarlett puts a red-lipstick/Hollywood spin on both names.

With Gianna and Caterina, the name Stella instead spins more Italian: strong and pretty.

With Cora, the name Stella would have spun a different way: still strong, still pretty, but more sweet/vintage.

With Serena, the word-name aspect is brought to my attention. (I might also have noticed it with Cora.)

And so on. The names on your list all work very well with Stella, I think---but in quite different ways. One exercise that might help you narrow things down is to talk about what kind of images you get when you picture each of the possible sister pairs. Which set can you most easily imagine as Your Family?

I thought perhaps in this next paragraph I'd say which was my own favorite name from your list---but I'm finding it very difficult to choose. When I did the exercise where I pretended to cross off each name in turn, the one that gave me the most pain was Caterina. I think it's beautiful; I love it with Stella; I love it with your surname. Most of all, I love that Caterina Patrice would honor both grandmothers in one shot. Imagine the happy weeping! And each girl would have a special story about her name.

I was reading over your letters again to see if I could figure out which name was your joint favorite, but what seems to be the overall theme is that none of the names strike both of you as being just right. Perhaps we'd have more luck looking for names that are similar to the ones on your list.

Let's look at Scarlett, for example. Violet, Charlotte, and Skyler are all similar, though of course quite different in style.

Calista also seems similar to me. Stella and Calista. They do share several sounds, maybe too many sounds. I'm picturing introducing them ("This is Stella, and this is Calista") and sometimes the pairing seems to have too many sounds in common and sometimes it just seems very well coordinated.

Now I've gotten distracted by the Italian section of The Baby Name Wizard, while looking to see if Calista is by any chance Italian (it's Latin, so sort of pre-Italian, and also Greek). Oh! Oh oh oh! What about BIANCA? I love that name, and I think it goes beautifully with Stella! Stella and Bianca! Oh, I want to go back in time and have two girls and use those names! Stella Grace and Bianca Noelle.

Or Claudia. One of my favorite girl names was Claudia; it was unfortunate that Paul had a Significant Claudia in his past. (She was a very nice girl, but he still didn't want to use the name for a daughter.) Stella and Claudia.

Or Elena is lovely, and somewhat similar to Serena. Stella and Elena. The Oxford Dictionary of First Names says that the meaning of the name is uncertain but may be connected with the words "ray" and "sunbeam"---what a nice coordinating meaning with Stella's! But again, perhaps they have too many sounds in common.

Selena is similar to Serena, and may mean "moon." Or the spelling Celina may tie it more to the meaning "celestial." (The Oxford Dictionary of First Names says both names are of uncertain origin.)

Carys would be pretty. Stella and Carys. It does make me think of Stella Maris, but that's not negative.

Or Geneva: a little like Serena, a little like Gianna. Stella and Geneva.

With Serena, I like the idea of the middle name Noelle. I also like Celeste or Corinne. Or to coordinate with Grace, I like Kate or May or Pearl. Oh, or Joy! I love Serena Joy, unless that's getting a little too wordy.

I see I never answered if I thought Stella and Scarlett were too matchy. I think if you were planning more children, I might worry that the combination would make you feel like you had to choose something equally well-coordinated for a third child; because you're stopping at two, I don't think they're too matchy.

It's true that it may come down to one of you liking the name more than the other does. I think that must in fact be typical: I think it's less common for both parents to love a name equally. Sometimes retrospect takes care of these things: if one parent loves the name almost as much as the other does, it may feel to them later on as if they always loved the name just as much.

One way to make things feel more balanced is this: let the preference tip the other direction for the middle name. So for example, if you end up choosing your husband's favorite of Serena, perhaps the middle name could be one of your favorites such as Luciana or Rose or Scarlett.

[We've moved! Comments left on this post after 03/26-2013 won't be transferred to the new blog. You can go to the post's new location to leave a comment.]


Wendy said...

I LOVE Caterina Patrice. LOVE. Awesome. And I love that she could have all sorts of fun and excellent nicknames. Cat! Cate! Catie! Rina! Reece!

I know you axed Juliana, but how about Giuliana nn Gigi?

And I know this is off topic... but the Stella/Scarlett discussion made me think of it. As the mom of 2 little girls, I am so thankful my girls have different first initials. I think this would be diluted if I had (or was going to have) more children, or if I had a girl and a boy. But despite my best efforts, we have a lot of things where both girls have the same item and they need to be labeled. Especially when the little one was really little and couldn't read her name, she knew that the one with the A on it was hers.

Best wishes to you!

Matti said...

With Cora, Corinne, and Serena in your list, how about Corinna?

Lauren said...

I love swistle's suggestion of Bianca—it sounds to me as exactly what you're looking for, with Italian ties but familiar to the American ear and unusual-ish. Some others that also have the same feel to me:
Daphne, which is Greek rather than Italian, also has a similar feel

Anonymous said...

I love Cora with Stella, but I can understand how it might feel a little insensitive towards your friends. Maybe something like Cordelia or Corinne would work?

Since Stella has such a great story/meaning behind it, perhaps you should look into names with similar meanings? Luna seems a little to obvious/matchy, but Selena works-Phoebe also has a connection to the moon. Or a subtle, star related name like Astra, Astrid, Lyra or Maia?

Jen said...

Cora, Scarlett, and Stella were all on our short list if we had had a girl. I think they are all lovely together. Another on our list that seems to fit with these was Josephine.

I would personally choose Scarlett since it seems to be as close to what both of you want (it's your first choice and his second choice). I think sometimes it's only luck that both parties can agree on a first choice. So maybe give him first choice on the middle?

Amie said...

What about Iva Caprice. That fixes the IVF thing. That is a classic name that is rather uncommon. Stella and Iva are a cute sibling pair!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered Fiona or Camille? they both pair well with Stella.

Stella and Fiona
Stella and Camille

I actually think Camille sounds great with it (nn. Milly). Love that!

Scarlett is a really adorable name but i think i personally would want my children to have different initials. (not just for practical reasons--i also think of names with the same initials being a little too matchy, but that is just my personal preference). I love Swistle's suggestions (Bianca and Calista sound cute together) and they make me think of Felicity. I think Felicity would go well with Stella.

I understand searching for a name with lots of meaning since Stella has a name with so much meaning, but i think you should save your letter to swistle for the baby book. the fact that you went so far as to write a letter to a "name expert" for help and get opinions from people all over the world shows you put a lot of thought and meaning into this baby's name. Something sweet for her to read about as she gets older (and also something special for a second child).

Shelby said...

I suggest Ginevra for to complement Stella in the vintage-y Italian style or Corisande with the nickname Cora.

Teej said...

I think Swistle's theory about the second child's name giving a spin to the first child's name is SO FASCINATING. It is something I never considered beore, but it seems like it would be true. And I think Swistle's assessment that Scarlett spins Stella towards "hollywood" is interesting...and something that would probably make me personally move away from that sibling pairing.

My favorite from the letter writer's favorites is Caterina. But my overall favorite for the new baby is Swistle's suggestion of Bianca. Love it with Stella. so cute.

Jenny Grace said...

To me, the word Caprice has a negative connotation that would be prohibitive, although it is very pretty.

Angela said...

What about Gemma?
It seems similar to Guiliana but matches Stella's spunk and energy. Nameberry says that the name is Italian. Gemma Rose is awesome. Gemma Rose and Stella Grace.

Brigid said...

Caterina Patrice would be the perfect name...if you and your husband loved it.

Ivy Noelle is rather sweet, and fits how I read the "Stella Grace" style.

Livia is an Italian name that I love--feels familiar, belongs to an actress I like, descends from a different name than Olivia (it's an old name, not made up or a variation)

Ginevra is a beautiful name.
Gemma is as well, and feels similar to Stella in its familiarity and attitude.

Viviana (I could see Ivy as a nickname for that)

You've got a star, do you want a Luna? ;)

Best of luck!

Unknown said...

What about Sienna? Another S name...since I don't think you're too worried about alliteration since Scarlett and Serena are favorite choices.

Unknown said...

Another name similar to to Celina would be Celeste...Stella and Celeste would have similar connestions to the sky as well as similar sounds within the name.

StephLove said...

I do like Ivy and don't really see the IVF thing as a problem, but if it's not at the top of your husband's list any more and it was never at the top of yours, I guess it doesn't matter.

I like Caterina, Gianna and Serena for you. Not Serena Joy, though-- that's a character from the Handmaid's Tale and not a nice one. And speaking of literature, I was all set to jump on the Bianca bandwagon when Swistle suggested it then I remembered it's Blanche in another language and you probably don't want a Stella and a Blanche.

Violet and Gemma were nice suggestions. How about Alice?

Megan said...

Someone beat me to Gemma! Love it!
Gemma Noelle and Stella Grace.

Lady Falcon said...

Original poster here to say THANK YOU to each of you for your thoughts and suggestions so far. It's so helpful to hear objective perspectives, especially as we feel like it's hard at this point to get any fresh perspectives.

I'm very intrigued by Swistle's thoughts on how much the 2nd name informs the meaning and context of the firstborn. So true! We'll need to ponder that and see if it helps to move us in a certain direction.

I think our hesitation on Caterina Patrice is that we passed it over our first time around when we named Stella, so perhaps it just feels stale now. I also wasn't sure it was a good pairing with Stella, so it's nice to hear that so many of you think they go nicely together.

I also really like Bianca, Celeste and Celina. I'm off to show this to my husband and I'll be back to post again later!

Thank you again for all of your insights.

P.S. Does anyone else think that Scarlett has a vintage but now fresh charm to it like Stella, or is the sultry Hollywood vibe just so much stronger? I don't know how I feel about giving that feel to a baby/little girls name.

Anonymous said...

Bianca Noelle = White Christmas, approximately. (Not sure if that would be a problem but thought I should point it out.) I do think Bianca works beautifully with your surname and with Stella.

As to the original poster's comment here: I go back and forth on Scarlett in the same way as you do. I imagine that if you love the name and gave it to a real live person, you'd see it really differently not long after - it would be "her" name more prominently than "oh, like Scarlett Johansson" I think. (I ultimately wouldn't be able to handle the possibility of the nickname "Scar", which knocks it out of contention for me anyway.)

Would Charlotte be an OK alternative to Scarlett?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone mentioned Carlotta yet?

Anonymous said...

Allegra or Bianca

Caroline said...

Tess or Tessa, maybe?

Tessa Noelle
Tessa Caprice

Kim said...

Stella Grace is such a pretty name, and Scarlet does sound cute with it, but I understand what your husband means about the nn problem.

Out of the names suggested I think either Bianca or Claudia would match perfectly with Stella. Both strong sounding names, that don't really have nicknames, just like Stella.

I'd also like to suggest Monica, Danica and Nicola. Danica also means 'morning star' if you like the star theme.

Francesca is also a lovely name.

I think my favorite is Claudia. Claudia Jane perhaps?

Good luck!

Rita said...

My favourite by far is Caterina - so unusual & pretty, works great with Stella, plus the Italian and family connections. My only concern is that the gorgeous Italian pronunciation would be butchered by most English-speakers (to many open vowells!) and she'd get called "Cat-rina" or "Cat-uh-rina" - or possibly Cat, Cate or Catie for simplicity (are you comfortable with nicknames?).

Other sugestions:

Anonymous said...

I read a blogger whose daughters are Stella and Bianca. I also know a little girl named Scarlett that goes by Carly. I think Letty is a cute nickname for Scarlett. I love Ivy and wish there was a way to get around the IVF. Maybe have a teacher use IVC if needed, or IC, might be 'cool' when she is older to have IC as a nickname? I also love Caterina, and that she would have both grand parents names. I didn't think of the hollywood connection until Swistle mentioned it. I thought more vintage. And Scarlett is my favorite of all your possibilities.

Kim Again said...

What about Rosanna?

Carina and Diana are nice too.

Stella and Rosanna
Stella and Carina
Stella and Diana

Rosanna Mae
Carina Noelle
Diana Ivy

What about Cara pn Car-ah? Cara Noelle?

All the best!

KC said...

Eliana pn Ellie-ah-na is pretty. It is used in Italy with the meaning 'sun'. Another star name.

Stella Grace and Eliana Noelle

Eliana Kate and Eliana Jane are good too.


Anonymous said...

Some suggestions:


Megz said...

I think Scarlet is fine as a baby name, and know one in real life so think it is probably a name on the rise.

The only issue I see is that I would probably slip up when saying their names and say Scella and Starlet instead (which gives even more of a Hollywood spin to the name).

I really like Selena or Selene for you with both the similarity to Serena and the Moon meaning.

Would you consider Caprice Ivy instead of Ivy Caprice. I like that Caprice is kind-of a combination of Caterina and Patrice.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

When you cant figure out exactly what you want, perhaps start by figuring out what you DONT want. (this worked for naming our last daughter!)

One thing that ticks out to me to coordinate with Stella, I would want a name that is no more than one syllable different. So 1 2, or 3, but not 4. That's just me!

I would like a name that either starts with S OR ends with A, but not both. Serena + Stella = matchy in a way I do not like.

Perhaps try to group your almost-not-quites and see which set seems better. Do you like the way Stella sounds with S start names, A end names, or names with L somewhere best?

If you really want to go back to the drawing board, I would look at L names. I like the idea of names flowing by picking up the end of an older sibling name. That's why the various versions of Lucy appeal to me, although I understand its not quite your name.

Lacey, Lydia, or Elaine or Elouise?

I love Scarlett and Elena.

Myra said...

I love Serena! Scarlett is a very, very close second. I don't think you'd have to worry about Scar as a nickname at all. I'm also digging Bianca. All of them sound fantastic with Stella and with Falcon(e).

Anonymous said...

I think Scarlett,nn Carly is adorable.

Are you thinking of possibly having more children? If so, Scarlett and Stella might be very close and difficult to 'match'.

I thiink Caterina is very beautiful and has a similar classic & sultry sound that Stella does. It is my favorite of your options.

I think Gianna and Stella become *very* obviously Italian - if that is what you want,then sure. go for it, but I personally like the more subtle Caterina & Scarlett.

Serena is also very nice, but a bit too matchy with Stella. It shares too many letters and sounds in my opinion.

I like that Stella is an old-school, vintage sounding name that doesn't sound stuffy and is making a comeback.

Similar names to me are:


I have to say, I love the sound of Stella Grace and Juliet Rose.

Would Catia or Catricia be a name that you could use to honor both grandmothers? Or Catriona (not Italian , I know). I think Caprice also does the trick.

Sia or Pia Caterina could also be a way to honor Patricia Katherine.

Pia and Stella sound so cute together!

Jess said...

I'm so happy that Swistle suggested Bianca and Selena. I love Bianca. I really like the suggestion of Francesca as well. Here are my favorite combos:

- Stella Grace and Francesca Noelle.
- Stella Grace and Bianca Alethea (truth)
- Stella Grace and Francesca Joy.

I think that Bianca Cate would also be nice, but I would have a hard time picking between grandmothers.

Patricia said...

Caterina Patrice is lovely, unusual, Italianate, and would give your second daughter her own very special naming story. And of course, your moms would be delighted!. Creating the Italian-sounding name Caterina Patrice from Catherine and Patricia is brilliant and seems perfect for your younger daughter. My only suggestion is that you use consider Catrina Patrice so her first name isn't so much longer in syllables than Stella.

I have a granddaughter named Catrina, after hee mom Catherine. Catrina has always loved her name for its uniqueness. Her older sister's name is Sarah.

Catrina Patrice Falcon (e)

Stella Grace and Catrina Patrice

Sounds perfect to me!

Lady Falcone said...

Original poster here again, I am just soaking up all of your wonderful ideas! Thank you for your continued suggestions!

My husband and I talked over what was posted so far last night, and found it very interesting to talk about what it is that we love in the different names we've narrowed to, and how they bring context to Stella's name as a sibset. We're still a bit undecided about which "feel" we are going for.

If we are going for more of the vintage/hollywood feel with an Italian middle, then we'd lean towards:

Scarlett Noelle and Stella Grace
Ivy Caprice and Stella Grace

If we are going for a more Italian feel in the first name and emotional/meaning tie (grandmothers or Cora meaning heart in Latin to Stella's Italian star, then we'd lean towards:

Caterina Patrice and Stella Grace
Cora Noelle and Stella Grace

More pondering to do today! And by the way, even though my c-section is scheduled for 4/11, there are some early signs happening here that this "Little Lady Falcon" might be arriving sooner than that! So thank you again for helping us as she may need a name even sooner than we'd thought!

Patricia Ellen (whose first granddaughter was named Sarah Ellen) said...

PS In suggesting you use Catrina instead of Caterina, I was considering the suggestion above that you choose a name with no more than one syllable difference from Stella, thus a 1-3 syllable name. But rereading your emails, I see that you like Seraphina -- which also has 4 syllables -- so it seems that you and your husband are fine with longer names.

Thus, I want to revise my above suggestion of Catrina to sticking with the Italian Caterina which goes so well with your surname. "Catrina" could be her nickname if the name Caterina sometimes feels too long. ("Stella, Cat'rina, it's time to go.")

And the name Caterina Patrice certainly meets ALL of your hoped-for criteria:
"antique charm with classic sound"
"familiar but not too common"
"a nice complement to Stella (but not too matchy)"
"a bonus for having some Italian roots"

Caterina Patrice Falcon (e) seems so perfect in every way for your younger daughter!

Stella Grace and Caterina Patrice Falcon (e)
Stella and Caterina (Stella and "Cat'rina")

I hope you'll go with this beautiful name you and your husband created from your mother's names. You are fortunate to be able to name your daughter a name formed from your mothers' names. Many couples would like to do this, but they don't like the names enough or the names just don't work together.

Caterina Patrice is a name just as lovely and special as Stella Grace. And I'm sure you both will LOVE the name even more when it's your younger daughter's name and your mothers are so happy to be honored in this way, and others are complimenting you on the beautiful classic, timeless name you're chosen for your baby girl.

Anonymous said...

I tried to post this up yesterday but somehow it didn't save. Anyways, here's my thoughts:

If you want to go more with a feeling of ultra-feminine with a glam hollywood twist I absolutely love the combination of Stella and Scarlett. They look and sound great together. I love the they use similar letters throughout with similar patterns (the two 'L's and two 'T's) but are still not matchy-matchy and are their own separate, individual name.

If you want to go more italian, what about Giada. Stella and Giada. Both are feminine and strong. I like that they are very different yet both have similar sound endings. Gianna or Geneva sound good too.

Good picks. I think everyone is looking forward to an update once she is born! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of Livia, the name of a beautiful, smart, friend. And I see a couple others have too.

Cayt said...

I would avoid the middle name 'Joy' with Serena, Swistle, due to the hypocritical/antagonistic character Serena Joy in The Handmaid's Tale. It's a shame because it goes so well, but that book is taught in schools sometimes and I wouldn't risk it.

Patricia said...

Just one more post from me to point out how perfectly Caterina meets all of your criteria:

"antique charm with classic sound"
Caterina is the Italian form of one of the most classic female names, Catherine. Laura Wattenberg - "Baby Name Wizard" - describes the style of Catherine as "timeless", and while not classifying Caterina, she includes Catalina, the Spanish form of Catherine, in her Antique Charm" category. (Caterina is more rare than Catalina in the US, so that it doesn't appear in baby name references as often: SSA 2011 stats: Catalina - 437 girls given the name, rank #646: Caterina - only 36 American girls given the name, far from the SSA Top 1000.)

"familiar but not too common"
The statistics above show that Caterina certainly isn't very common, but it is familiar because it's a form of Catherine, which has been one of the two most used forms of that beloved classic name (the other being Katherine) in the English-speaking world for ...ever. SSA stats for 2011: Catherine: 1917 baby girls, rank #161. (And I noticed that while my spell-check doesn't recognize Catrina [19 baby girls given that name in 2011], it does recognize the name Caterina.)

"a nice complement to Stella (but not too matchy)"
I think Caterina fits that criteria, whereas Serena -- my distant second choice on the revised list Swistle came up with from your name lists -- is very match-y. I don't mind that and think Stella and Serena are darling together and fine with just two girls in the family (Stella, Serena, and Serephina might be a bit much), but Caterina would be a much better choice if you don't want the names too match-y.

"a bonus for having some Italian roots"
Caterina IS Italian! Perfect! (And I like your choice of Patrice, the French (also a Romance language) form of Patrick/Patricia. Too, Patrice is a subtle match in ending sound/letters -ce - with Stella's middle name Grace.)

I also want to share my thoughts about your concerns with the name:

"Caterina Patrice (versions of our Mom's names as I described below, a sentimental favorite that we've had on our list for years, but it's not our favorite name and we're not sure it flows with Stella)"

I find the names Stella and Caterina DO flow well together and perfectly with your surname:
Stella and Caterina Falcon(e) (and with the option of sometimes using "Cat'rina" as a shorter form of Caterina: Stella and Catrina).

And the names Stella and Caterina are compatible in many ways without being overly match-y: both sound Italian when combined with your surname; both have antique charm; using Caterina with Stella removes any concerns you may have about Stella sounding too trendy. (Stella and Scarlett sound like the pairing of two currently popular names [SSA: #73 & #80] that both begin with S, but don't not have much else in common.)

You have such a special name story for Stella, and you would have an equally sweet name story for Caterina Patrice.

"Caterina Patrice (versions of our Mom's names...) a sentimental favorite that we've had on our list for years, but it's not our favorite name..."

Maybe when all is said and done, Caterina Patrice IS the favorite of you and your husband TOGETHER. There seem to be so many reasons for giving your daughter your "sentimental favorite", the name that has been on your list "for years", rather than trying so hard to come up with something else, perhaps rather randomly (maybe with some eventual name regret...), just a few weeks before your daughter is born.

I think you already have the perfect name for -your- baby, for Stella's younger sister.

Anonymous said...

"I think our hesitation on Caterina Patrice is that we passed it over our first time around when we named Stella, so perhaps it just feels stale now."

I don't think it matters at all that you had this name as a possibility for your first daughter and chose something different. Lots of parents name a second child of the same gender a name that was on their list for the first. Stella happened to appeal to you more when your first daughter was born, but now you have a second chance to use a name you've loved for a long time.

I've never come across anyone named Caterina or considering Caterina as their daughter's name and find the name new and exciting! There are SO MANY little Scarletts (and I agree with your husband's concerns about the word "scar" in that name) and I'm hearing Ivy a lot too.

I don't think Caterina will seem at all "stale" to you when you look at your baby daughter Caterina Patrice. And I'm sure it will sound fresh to others when they hear what you've named your baby.

Personally I find Caterina Patrice unique, but classic, and very cool. And it's a name that fits so well with your Italian surname and mothers named Catherine and Patricia.

Go for it!

Anonymous said...

We are also pregnant and I like the name Georgia (but my husband doesn't) and I recently heard about an Italian family with a baby named Giorgia (pronounced the same as Georgia). I thought this was really pretty and subtly Italian (we're not Italian, or else I would consider it myself!). I also think Giorgia would sound nice with Stella.

Anonymous said...

In your last post you saids that "If we are going for a more Italian feel in the first name and emotional/meaning tie (grandmothers or Cora meaning heart in Latin to Stella's Italian star, then we'd lean towards:

Caterina Patrice and Stella Grace
Cora Noelle and Stella Grace"

I don't think it would ever mean as much to Stella that her sister's name has a meaning similar to hers as it would mean to her grandmothers that this baby was named after them. Caterina Patrice goes very well with Stella Grace; you can point that out to Stella when she's older. But name your baby for your mothers. You've found a beautiful way to combine their names by using a variation of each name that gives your baby her own separate name too. Really, Caterina Patrice is too perfect for this daughter, for your family, to be passed over for any other name.

Marianna said...

I think that Scarlett is fine for a baby. It is very fresh and the more uncommon alternative to Charlotte which is rising in popularity. Also, there are some cute nicknames that can come from Scarlett - Scout, Carly, Letty, etc. I think that Stella and Scout are precious together!

rosamonte said...

I like Caterina (or Catalina) or Silvana as a sister for Stella. Antonia, Celia, Marina and Viviana would also be nice.

Patricia Ellen (whose first granddaughter was named Sarah Ellen) said...

Valerie, your letter and posts about naming your second daughter have reminded me of my one naming regret: that I didn't name one of our four daughters after my mother.

I would have liked to do so, but I didn't like either my mom's first or middle name (too out-dated I felt), and there were no variants in other languages to consider, had I even thought of that. So my husband and I named our first daughter after his aunt who raised him (a classic name which happened to be my favorite) and gave each of our other daughters the name I liked best at the time.

Years later I realized that I could have named one of them after my mom AND given that daughter a name I've always liked a lot (although never my most favorite) by combining the beginning letter of my mother's first name - E- with her middle name Millie: Emilie, the French spelling of Emily, which would have fit with our part-French ancestry and is of the classic style that I prefer. (Emilie even sounds like the beginning sound of my mom's name + Millie.) For many years -- and even more so after my mother's passing -- I've wished that I had thought of Emilie when we were naming our daughters. It would have made my mother very happy to have a granddaughter named after her. And I'm sure any of our daughters, who all loved their grandma very much, would have loved that connection with her. I still like each of my daughter's names, but Emilie would have been much more special.

It often doesn't work out to honor one's mother by using one of her names or a form of one of them. Many parents would like to do that but find their moms' names not that appealing, even as a middle name with a first name they love. But when it does work to use a mother's name or a 'fresh' version of one or both of their names -- as with your Caterina Patrice for your mothers Catherine and Patricia - it's so very special.

I like your naming style and can see the appeal of some of the other names you're considering. But I'm wondering if you name this baby a name that you feel you love more than Caterina right now, you will someday regret not giving her the name that you and your husband came up with some time ago -- your "sentimental favorite" that honors your mothers, while giving your daughter a beautiful and unique name that meets all of your naming preferences.

My best wishes to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Caterina Patrice seems perfect for your baby! But I also like the suggestion of Catalina, the Spanish form of Catherine. Since you have some reservations about using a name that was on the list for your 1st daughter's name, maybe Catalina Patrice would work better for you. Catalina has almost all the same qualities as Caterina, except for not being Italian. But since it comes from a Romance language too, it also sounds good with your last name. I think Stella and Catalina sound good together too with the repeating L's. Catalina has the cute nickname "Lina" also Catie and Cate like Caterina. My son, 4th grade, has a classmate named Catalina and she never goes by any nickname at school -- always called Catalina.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I was SO excited about the Stella & Bianca combination (it could swing so many ways in terms of a sibset ... hollywood or classic or chic... ahh! love!).

And while I'm still really excited, all of these posters above gave such great rationales for Caterina Patrice that I'm actually leaning toward that for you now .... nice job, posters ;)

Anonymous said...

Two years ago my friend named her daughter Nora Rose after her mother Rosalie Nora, who absolutely glows when she just happens to mention how her granddaughter got her name. Another friend named her daughter Evelyn after her -- the mother's -- grandma, and although that child "Evie" is now about 7 years old, great-grandma Evelyn hasn't tired of telling others that this great-granddaughter was named after her. These stories and others make me want to encourage you to stick with Caterina Patrice -- the joy that name will bring outweighs any other names that you're considering, especially since there isn't any other one name that you both love. With Stella you found a special name that spoke to both of you. You said you expect this baby to be your last child -- thus your last chance to use the other name that has stood out for you -- in a different way, but still very special way.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how similar a lot of the anonymous comments sound to some of the non-anonymous ones. Swistle, can you tell if they're all coming from the same IP address?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Swistle could set up a poll so the OP could see which of their names is favored by the majority of those who follow this blog. I've noticed that more people participate in a poll than post a comment. In her last post the OP said that they were leaning toward Scarlett Noelle, Ivy Caprice, Caterina Patrice or
Cora Noelle.

same Anonymous as last post said...

Such an interesting discussion. I reread Swistle's response to look more closely at her take on each of these names.
IVY - she would cross off because of concerns the girl might be in a class with another Ivy and be called Ivy F. (Sounds like IVF)
CORA - she said she would also eliminate out of sensitivity toward friends' loss of pregnancy (poster mentioned that these close friends loved the name Cora too)
SCARLETT - Swistle kept it on the list, but remarked that Scarlett with Stella puts "a red-lipstick/Hollywood spin on both names"
CATERINA - said "Stella spins more Italian" with it; also said that when she pretended to cross off a name -- one at a time --from the list of names that she had recommended from the parents' list (Scarlett, Serena, Caterina and Gianna) "the one that gave me the most pain was Caterina. I think it's beautiful; I love it with your surname. Most of all, I love that Caterina Patrice would honor both grandmothers in one shot. Imagine the weeping! And each girl would have a soecial story about her name."

Anonymous said...

Serena makes me think of Sabrina

Lady Falcon said...

Original poster back to also offer our take on the 4 names that remained for us after doing Swistle's crossing off exercise:

Ivy - My husband realized that it was more painful for him to cross this one off than Serena, and I can let go of the Ivy F concern to him to keep one of his top choices. We both like this name very much and it offers a similar feel and style to Scarlett.

Cora - We jointly realized that it was truly hard to cross this one off, too, as we love both the name and it's Latin meaning of heart. We also like how it's 2 syllable rhythm sounds with Stella. If we were to decide that this is ultimately our joint top choice, then we would of course first have a long, heartfelt conversation with our friends before ultimately choosing it for our daughter.

Scarlett - A name that we both love as a pairing with Stella, and for it's vintage yet fresh feel. We're still deciding how we feel about the hollywood spin of it. It doesn't have the emotional tie, but it is a name that we love both on it's own merit, and as a sibset of Stella and Scarlett. The meaning and Italian spin would come for us with her middle name (Noelle) and my Italian husbands LOVE for Christmas.

Caterina - A long time name love that is loaded with meaning as a version of our mom's names. So many of you love this choice for us as well for it's Italian feel and emotional connection. I do agree with one of the above posters comments that 4 syllable Caterina is a lot next to 2 syllable Stella, perhaps that's what made me think it doesn't "flow". My husband also does not like Cat and isn't crazy about Cate either. (he's not crazy about nicknames in general and likes how Stella's name isn't easily shortened) I love Cate and think Catie and Cat are darling as well.

Also, someone asked above if were are planning to have more children, and we aren't.

Thank you again for all of your heartfelt and thoughtful comments! They're really helping us to have a rich discussion in our house as we decide on our daughters name.

Patricia said...

Might Caterina with the nn Cara appeal to you? That would make it possible to use the name "that is loaded with meaning as a version of our mom's names" and also a name very close to Cora. Cara is from an Italian word meaning "beloved", so both the origin and meaning seem right for you. Stella and Cara are easy to say together, go well together, and would give your girls' names a definite Italian sound with your surname: Stella and Cara Falcon(e) Although your husband doesn't like nicknames, perhaps he might make this exception in order to use your mothers' names and yet end up with a shorter 'contracted' form of Caterina very similar to Cora.

Catarina Patrice "Cara"

And a few other observations: I've noticed that you've referred to Noelle -- and Caprice and Patrice -- as Italian, but every reference I've seen says they are all French or of French origin. It seems that the only authentically Italian name remaining on your list is Catarina.

I too wouldn't worry about the remote possibility of "Ivy F." And Ivy meets all of your objective naming preferences, but one (it's not Italian or Italian-related): style - antique charm; familiar but not common (SSA #266); compliments Stella but not too match-y.

Cora (SSA #204) meets the same criteria as Ivy . It's a nice name too, also with just two syllables so no shortening needed.

On the other hand Scarlett seems the furthest from your objective naming preferences, yet naming often turns out to be very subjective, and it's obvious that you like the name a lot. Scarlett IS cute with Stella.

And then there's Caterina Patrice, which objectively seems perfect for you. It meets every one of your naming preferences and has that amazing tie-in with both of your mothers' names. If only your husband was okay with nicknames! Italians might not feel a need to shorten the name, but we Americans seem to need a nickname for any name over 3 syllables and often even for those with fewer syllables. "Cara" seems like it could appeal to you. "Carina" or "Catrina" would be only 3 syllables. And like you, I love Cate and Catie. I'm wondering if your moms have any idea that you might name this baby after them? If they did and learned of your nickname dilemma with Caterina, I can imagine them coming up with every option they can think of! ;-) Now days parents are very creative with nicknames, and many no longer stick to the standard offerings. You could even use the given name Caterina and "Cora" as her everyday nickname.

It will be interesting to hear what you end up naming your baby.

Patricia said...

Another thought: you could go straight to Cara -- with the given name Cara Patrice. Although unusual, Cara is sometimes used as a form of Catherine. A quick online search turned up these examples:
"Catherine (Cara) R...-T...., Ph.D."
"Catherine M... D..., known as Cara"

Cara Patrice would honor your moms Catherine and Patricia and also be very close to Cora. Very compatible with Stella Grace: both first names have just two syllables and no nicknames, end in 'a' but start with different letters; sound good together; middle names are a subtle match with both ending in sound/letters 'ce'; each name just happens to have 11 letters. The full names of each sister would coordinate, but not be perceived as overly match-y. Cara is a known name but not overly popular - SSA #615. Cara's Italian connection would give an Italian aura to Stella in the sib set:

Stella Grace Falcon(e)
Cara Patrice Falcon(e)

Liz said...

I am dumbfounded at how similar my naming style is to the OP's. My husband and I are also Italian with an Italian last name, and we have an 11 month daughter named Stella! Stella Elizabeth, to be exact. We chose her name for many of the same reasons, and our list of other potential daughter names is almost exactly the same! So funny. In addition to the names you already have, some names that I love that you might also: Cecilia, Josefina, Carlotta, Nora (the latter also happens to be my maiden name). Good luck, happy naming, and please update us on your choice! I am particularly curious to see what you decide on :)

Patricia said...

Perhaps of interest, here's the lovely bride Cara - given name Catherine - mentioned above:
This Catherine "Cara" was most likely named after her mother Kate (whose given name is likely Catherine or Katherine).

Cara is a lovely name: its meaning - beloved, its sweet yet strong simplicity, its Italian connection for you. I'm hoping (for your mothers) that the name Cara appeals to you, either as a short form of Caterina or on it's own. I know you have three other names under consideration -- and they are all nice names. But none can ever be as special as the name that you lovingly created to honor both of your moms -- Caterina Patrice, which could be redesigned as Cara Patrice if you're finding that a shorter given name with no nickname appeals to you more with your older daughter's name.

Caterina Patrice Falcon(e) "Cara'
Cara Patrice Falcone(e)

either way, Stella and Cara

As Swistle so aptly stated, "Most of all, I love that Caterina Patrice [or Cara Patrice] would honor both grandmothers in one shot. Imagine the happy weeping! And each girl would have a special story about her name."

Anonymous said...

Ivy Caprice sounds pretty and might be the best choice for you. Your husband seems to have a strong attachment to Ivy and you said you like the name very much too. I really like your idea of naming your baby after your mothers and the name Caterina Patrice is beautiful. But even though that name has been on your list for years you seem hesitant to commit to it. Another poster pointed out that Caprice could represent the names CAterina and PatRICE, so you'd still be honoring your moms with the name Ivy Caprice.

Bonnie Jo said...

First name that popped into my mind was Genevieve. I think Stella and Genevieve sounds lovely together.

Also love Bianca I have a friend who is B for nn.

Other Italian girls names

Sophia - love this with Stella! Sophia and Stella!
Francesca- Stella and Frankie is cute
Rosa or Rosie love Stella and Rosie your little star and little rose
Maybe Angelica or Angelina

Lots of beautiful Italian names ending in Ella that I think have to be ruled out because of Stella like Gabriella or Daniella etc.

Italian names has been fun!

Bonnie Jo said...

Also Trina (Tree-Nah ) could be a good nickname for Caterina if you are not keen on Cat or Cate