Nova's hair has been doing this fun mohawk thing lately. It's super cute, but since she likes her hair out of her face and it's getting longer, we decided to grab her some Goody Self Hinge Barrettes from King Soopers yesterday. We also grabbed some mini Goody Snap Clips, since both were part of a BOGO sale. But we haven't tried those yet. Enjoy Nova's cute smile and playful poses in these cute baby photos of her wearing her first baby barrette hairstyle.
Picking a name for your baby is an important decision. Choosing between baby names is a meaningful moment in parenting that will remain a treasured memory. It’s something that will represent that baby their whole life. The name-choosing process can bring the first feelings of parenthood to the forefront for expectant parents, especially if it occurs during the first pregnancy. Something about finalizing the name finalizes the fact that a child exists because of you and you will now be a parent. I've had the joy and privilege of experiencing this five times. Here’s how the names were chosen each of my children.
The Naming Process
For each of my subsequent baby girls, I wanted their names to be unique. In fact, their names are so unique that it's possible no one else has them - at least not exactly as they are. I put a ton of time and effort into choosing the names for my girls, composing most of their names myself, including the meanings for each one.
The names needed to include French and/or Native American influences. The first names needed to be very unique and the middle names needed to be simpler, in case the girls wished to use an easier name as they grew older. One has chosen to use her middle name with friends.
I spent entire months of each of the first two pregnancies combining letters to form possible names, keeping note of my favorites, eliminating name after name as time went on to eventually come up with the final choices. Ironically, with my second daughter, after all that work, I changed a couple letters last minute as I was filling out the paperwork for the birth certificate. It just came to me to change it for some reason.
However, with the fifth child (fourth girl), my partner (Richard Rowell) and I varied slightly by choosing something that is an existing name, but is very unique. We wanted a unisex name that still had the French and Native American influence. I narrowed the choices down to a list of several and sent it to him, not telling him which name I had in mind. He actually favored the same name. So, we went with that.
To me, there is no one like any of them and I wanted the kids’ names to reflect that. Names should reflect each person’s individuality, rather than going along with the crowd. They should not be copied, but should instead come from the heart. As the kids have grown older, it’s been fun to watch their personalities develop into exactly what the meanings of their names are. They have made me even more of a believer in baby name choice being such an important decision.
With my son, I had different thoughts. He was originally going to be a junior, simply because he was the only boy and that was special to his father (my partner at the time). But, that didn't happen. On the day of his birth, I all of a sudden got a change of heart in this baby’s name. I said to him, “I want to name him after your father”. He agreed. Two months later, his father passed away very unexpectedly. I now feel like that was not only an instinct of motherhood, but some sort of sign when I got that change of heart on the name.
The Final Names & Their Meanings
KaShayonay Amber [Kuh - Shy - Uh - Nay; Am - Ber] - KaShayonay is my first daughter. Her name means patient, kind, loving, ambitious, beautiful, strong-willed, and stylish. The spelling and pronunciation are influenced by both French and Native American languages. The middle name Amber refers to the gemstone, which is similar to the color her eyes are sometimes (they change colors). I felt it went along with the stylish and beautiful definitions. She does love fashion and is very creative. Interestingly, all of the meanings did end up fitting her personality.
Tiala Chérie [Tee - Ah - Luh; Shay - Ree (Fr.) or Shuh - Ree (En.)] - Tiala is the second born. Her name means cheerful, sweet, helpful, kind, loving, and strong-willed. The spelling/pronunciation of this name has origins in both Native American and French languages. Chérie is French for dear or sweetheart, which goes along with her sweet and helpful aspects.
Ajaléa Naté [Ah - Zhuh - Lay - Uh; Nuh - Tay ] - Ajaléa is the third-born child and third daughter. Her name means strong-willed and stubborn, creative, loving, kind-hearted, and helpful. The spelling and pronunciation is again influenced by Native American and French languages. Her middle name is French-influenced and means creative and strong. She is definitely both. (Hear the Zh sound)
Nathaniel DeWayne - Nathaniel is the fourth-born and goes by Nathan for short and never Nate. Nathaniel means “gift from God”. I’m not religious and this name was simply to carry on his grandfather’s legacy. However, I do feel he is a gift from the universe. Curiously, this is also a French name. DeWayne is his father’s middle name and means “wagon maker,” which goes along with his creative nature.
Nova Skye - Nova is the fifth and is still growing in the womb, as we speak. Her name also has Native American and French roots. In English, Latin, and French, Nova means “new”. In Native American, it means “chasing butterflies”. We also chose it for the starry phenomena known as a supernova. Because of the starry connection, we chose Skye to go along with Nova. The meaning of Skye is obvious. It is a variation of the word sky. We will have to wait and see if her personality matches these definitions in the exact manner those of her siblings have.
Bonus Tips From An Experienced Mom
Sometimes life can take you on a rollercoaster ride you didn't ask to be on. But, whether you know it at the time or not, it all happens for a reason. Life is a rollercoaster, but the ride is worth it. Look at our past two years as an example. They’ve been a dark tunnel of nightmares at times. But there's always been a light at the end, even though I didn't know there would be at the time.
My life partner and co-owner of this very media company (Richard Rowell) was in the middle of the battle of his life (literally) at this time last year. You see, he was fighting cancer - a massive tumor in the form of mediastinal seminoma. We never knew if he'd get through it. It was both uplifting and devastating to watch him fight for his life. I was so afraid I would lose him.
But he did it. As of his last scan, he is still cancer free. And now, we have a miracle of a baby on the way right now. You see, with the form of cancer he had, coupled with the chemotherapy he received, there was minimal chance of us ever being able to conceive.
We did just that and so far, our unborn child is happy and healthy and thriving. We just found out she's a girl and we've named her Nova Skye. Rollercoaster. Down, now up. This is his first and my fifth. We didn't ask for any of what we've been handed and he certainly didn't deserve that fight. But that's what life has handed us and I believe there is a reason.
Perhaps the reason is our unborn child. Perhaps it's something bigger - something us as a family (or that child alone) is meant to do. Who knows? But what I do know is that life is a huge rollercoaster and we have to take it as it comes because there is always a reason for everything in the circle of life.
Aside from Rich's health scare, we've had other bumps, some big and some small. But we've held each other together through the winds and downhill dives. We keep each other climbing and our love has never been an issue, not once.
Very recently, I've had to take more time off from my non-content job than we can afford, due to me having severe pain (the baby is fine and I'm under care of good doctors). But, sometimes we have to listen to our bodies, instead of our wallets. My OB doctor agreed.
We're working together to find more work content-wise in order to make it up and I'm crazy enough to have faith it will will work. It will because it has to and because I'm a stubborn ass and refuse to give up. And obviously, so is Rich. After all, he did kick cancer’s sorry butt.
There's a reason Rich and I met. There's a reason we have this baby, despite all that's going on.
Some people are judging, saying we aren't in the best position for this right now. I honestly don't care what they think. It's irrelevant because it only matters what we think and what we do to get back on top of that hill.
Others are being extremely supportive and I've cried happy tears over some of the things people have done, such as helping with our Amazon baby registry. We created it for ourselves and never expected so much help. But at least a dozen people have purchased one or two things each and a few people are sending used items. Of course we'll have to do the bulk of it ourselves - and rightly so. But it feels good to know there are people who care. Everything helps, especially right now.
As with anything in life, there will be ups and downs and it will be one hell of a ride. But we are up for the challenge. And we deserve that light at the end of this bumpy dark tunnel. And I will make darn well sure we get it, no matter what. Our family of 6 ½ deserves it.
Getting My Baby to Sleep Through The Night
I always loved the one-on-one time spent with each one of my kids as they were babies, crying at one o'clock, then two, then three, then four, and so on. Even so, one of the most accomplished parenthood moments is getting a baby to sleep through the night. My personal method is to establish a routine from the get-go. Here’s how.
In the beginning, I always respond to the baby's every needs because, as a newborn, the baby is crying for a reason. As the baby gets older, I try to minimize response time. It's important always to check because even if baby has eaten and has been changed, there still may be a problem.
Baby could have gas, want the pacifier, or even just have an itch. One of the challenges of parenting (that gets easier over time) is figuring out what that need is. A baby whose needs are met is more likely to get a comfortable sleep.
With my first child, I made the mistake of turning on lights, playing toys with her, and much more. This led to her thinking that night time was play time. I quickly learned that to turn that attitude around, I had to change the night time routine.
One thing I always did from then on with all the children was to keep lights and other distractions to a minimum when tending to baby at night. The point is to make night time sort of boring, while still attending to baby's needs. This lets baby know that nighttime is a time for sleep and there isn't much else going on that is worth staying up for.
Cuddling is, of course, fine. You don’t want to be unloving or cold. You just want to be sure Baby knows it’s time to relax when the lights are out.
The first night that each child slept all the way through was one of those moments in parenting that isn't easily forgotten. Motherhood is awesome, but there are times where it can drain all your energy. Infancy certainly is one of those times, especially before a baby sleeps the whole night through.
The relief from an actual full night of sleep is like bliss to a parent, not only because they can sleep. But, the main benefit is knowing you have taught your baby a valuable and healthy lesson that will be beneficial throughout their life.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
The back-to-school supplies were ready. They were even inside the backpack arranged perfectly. Outfits were picked out and arranged for the first week back. But that week never happened. My then unborn had other plans for us on what should have been my oldest daughter's venture back inside school doors for another year. But instead that day was a nightmare for her because she didn't get to go.
Rewind to about a week prior. I had explained to my OB doctor that I was very uncomfortable lately. It's no wonder. I was already dilated. But not by much - not enough to consider it labor. But I walked around like that for a week. My due date was fast approaching. But due to my condition, my OB ordered an induction right on the day my oldest was supposed to go back to school. In all honesty, I was hoping the baby would come before that day. But of course, she was a stubborn one.
In our family, we believe that birthing is an event for all to share. So, no way was a sibling going to miss the birth of the baby. Off to the hospital we went. My daughter was quite disappointed that she needed to save the backpack for school. But her eyes lit up as she heard me call her school and tell them she had the best excuse ever for not being there the first day. The school actually gave her a week for leeway.
Because the labor sped up, but then slowed down again, it was a nightmare wait for us all. Even the doctor did not expect it would take so long, especially since I am notorious for speedy deliveries. Once all the waiting was over and the baby was finally there, my daughter's back-to-school nightmare was soon forgotten by her, as well as the rest of us. The so-called nightmare had turned into an almost nine pound pleasant dream.
My daughter returned back to school the following week and never missed a beat. She may have been the new girl after that point. But the new girl was pretty cool because boy did she have a story to tell. In the back to school rush, sometimes things don't go as planned. If this happens to you, use our story to remind you that some nightmares may not really be nightmares at all. They may just be a gigantic dream come true.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network