The Das Schmidt Haus Baby Name Game

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

An ancient history professor went to the hospital to be with his wife as she gave birth to their first child. While the baby was born, the professor’s expression never changed. The child was put in the arms of his mother. Still the professor’s countenance never changed. The family moved from the delivery room to the post delivery room. Still the man’s face didn’t change; it remained bland. A nurse noticed this and asked him to go into the hall while they examined the baby.

In the hall she asked the professor, thoughtfully, “What name will you give the baby?” He replied, “Theophilus.”

“My, that’s a long name for such a little baby. Why did you name him that?” she asked.

“Because he’s ‘the-awfules’ looking baby I’ve ever seen.”

{crowd groan!} {how could he say that?} {that’s not even funny!!}

Now what on earth would possess me to share ‘that-awfules’ joke ever written? Well, I’m talking baby names today. Hold it, don’t get too excited, no announcement forthcoming. My buddy Kathryn has an awesome baby name link-up here, and I’m simply joining the fun.

So what are the stories behind the Das Schmidt Haus names? Let’s start with our firstborn, Lucy Ann.

Lucy Ann Schmidt

I woke up around 4:00 AM on August 31, 2009, and I just knew I was going to have a baby that day. Contractions indicated labor was imminent, but not quite immediate. So what does a rational person do in that moment? Of course, go to Panera and enjoy a cup of coffee and a light meal. So there Joel and I sat, in the far-corner booth, enjoying one last meal as a family of two. Every now and then the contractions intensified, resulting in some grimacing and shifting in my seat, along with a few stares and raised eyebrows from fellow Panera patrons. The whole experience was thrilling, really. We were excited yet anxious, prepared yet clueless.

We headed back home and packed our bags for the hospital. Sure enough, just a few hours later, the contractions progressed and labor was now immediate. It all went rather smoothly and a little after 2:00 in the morning, I labored our first-born into this world. It was September 1, 2009 — Labor Day. I labored on Labor Day. I love that story.

We didn’t find out the baby’s gender, and I was convinced she was a he. So convinced that the first thing out of my mouth after her delivery was, “Is it a boy?” “Nope pretty sure this is a girl!” the doctor exclaimed.

Remember the movie I am Sam with Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer? I fell in love with the character Lucy played by Dakota Fanning. I was smitten with her blond hair, blue eyes, big smile, and infectious laugh. So smitten that I decided right then and there after watching the movie, and I wasn’t even married at the time, that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Lucy. And so I did. Joel jokes that he never had a say in her name. It’s true, he didn’t. He had to agree to that name in our marriage vows. :)

Movie story aside, our firstborn’s patron is virgin and martyr St. Lucy, whose name means light. And our Lucy certainly is a little firecracker who has brought much excitement into our lives. My life was truly illuminated the moment I saw her. Now If Lucy would have been a boy, her name might have been Jonah. Speaking of boys…

Jude and Lisa

Dateline: Christmas, 2011. We had been hit with one major and unexpected home improvement fix after another. Finances were very tight that year, so Joel and I decided to not buy gifts for one another. Instead we elected to do something crazy. Crazy for us equals opening up an envelope with a photo of the baby’s ultrasound photo in it and gender revealed. At that point in the pregnancy, the baby was already 35-weeks. Not sure what motivated me to know at that point in the game, but in hindsight I’m glad I did.

It's a boyUpon opening the envelope and learning our babe was a boy, I cried. Not in a ‘oh-I’m-so-excited-to-be-the-mom-of-a-son’ kind of cry. It was more of a ‘I-have-no-idea-how-to-mother-a-boy’ kind of scared cry. So so silly, woman. My friend Pat Gohn snapped me out of it when she said, “Mary had a son. You’ll be just fine. Lean on her.” And so I did, and I quickly got over my fears and embraced the idea of all-things-blue.

So now to the names. Joel comes from a family of boys, each whose name begins with J: Jon, Joel, Jason. We wanted to carry on the J-theme, but J’s are also popular on my side. Jacob, Jeremiah, James, Jerry, Jared, Jack, and Justin are already taken. We also wanted to name our son after a patron saint, so the pool narrowed more. Had Lucy been a boy, she might have been named Jonah. But that name didn’t feel right for this son.

And that son, boy was he a whopper. My doctors were very concerned about his rapid growth and monitored it closely. Sciatica had nearly immobilized me, and I was on my back for most of the last month. And as we marched through January, I was desperate to have that baby. Desperate! Enter St. Jude, also known as Jude Thaddaeus, a brother of St. James the Lesser, a relative of Jesus, and one of the twelve apostles. Also the patron of desperate cases. Jude was perfect. I began praying a novena and on the ninth day, I delivered him — 10 pounds, 7.7 ounces, measuring 21 3/4 inches long. Two years later, I’m still recovering! His middle name, Leonard, is after my dad, and it’s an honor to carry on his name. Now had Jude been a girl, he might have been an Elizabeth (Lizzy) Ann.

Now with a Lucy and Jude, people often asked us if we were Beatles fans, naming our kids after two of their popular songs. The ongoing joke was that if we named our third Eleanor Rigby, then they’d know for sure. Speaking of our third…

Lydia AnnLydia Ann. Turns out we aren’t that into the Beatles. Saints on the other hand? Well that’s how we play our name game. We went back to not discovering the baby’s gender with Baby #3. This pregnancy was more like Lucy’s, and I felt really healthy throughout. Because of that, Joel was convinced it was a girl. Lucy was convinced, too, if only because she so badly desired a little sister.

Maybe you’ve noticed a nice little Das Schmidt Haus chemical formula developing: J2L2. Joel and Jude … Lisa and Lucy. We didn’t really plan it, but now we like it. So we started listing out J’s for boys and L’s for girls. The name Lydia continually entered our life in fun ways — waitresses named Lydia, a couple of women named Lydia began frequenting this blog and commenting (and we rarely receive comments, so we noticed!), Pope Benedict mentioned Lydia by name in his final apostolic letter. Lydia is St. Paul’s first convert and our family has really experienced major conversion these last two years. Boy names? Well, we were debating the names John and Joseph in the delivery room, minutes before the baby was born. Thank Heaven Lydia turned out to be a girl; had she been a boy, we might still be debating! Lydia’s middle name is Ann. So is mine. Lucy, my mom, sister, grandma, aunts, great aunts, first, second and third cousins also share that middle name. It’s a namesake going back several generations, and I’m going to keep it rolling with my girls.

So now our family’s current chemical formula is J2L3 — a fun way to sign our letters and cards! But there are two more souls to mention here.


Luke and Jane, the two babies we never were able to hold in our arms. We lost them both to miscarriage; one was a twin to Lucy, and the other was our first pregnancy about a year before Lucy was born. We named them during our diocese’s Infant Loss and Memorial Mass. The photo here is from Mercy Hospital’s A Walk to Remember event that Joel helps out with each year.

Only God knows, but maybe we’ll have another opportunity to play the name game? If so, given I’ve revealed our playbook here, you’ll probably figure out the baby’s name well before we announce one here! And now I kind of want to have another one just to play the game … :)

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