This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Baby Girl ___ Evenia Woodward

Dawn writes:
My partner and I (two women) are having our first child in May, the 17th to be precise...and we cannot decide on a baby name. We know that she is a girl, or so they tell us...and that she is crazy active! The only things we are pretty set on are her middle name, which will be Evenia and her last name which will be Woodward...we do not want to name her Bridgette as it is our dog's name. We are also trying to stay away from the names that end in the eee sound that is so popular like Katie, Jenny, Chelsea...those types of names.

We have narrowed it down to five names...but could be easily swayed if something better came along...the five are:
Grayson (her mother's maiden name)
Emmerson (my favorite uncle's middle name)
Lorelei (from the Gilmore Girls, not a family name)
Layla (also not a family name but we dig it)
Annalice (which seems to keep popping up in our daily lives and so we sort of feel like it's a sign. Also it's a great combo of my partner's Grandmother's names Ann and Alice).
I'm also a fan of Lily and Georgia...LOL
Help us please!

I lean immediately in the direction of Annalice: I love it already, and you have good feelings about it, and it has family-name connections. But I would spell it Annalise: I know it compromises the Alice part of it, but every time I see Annalice, all I see is LICE.

A digression: I have noticed a certain problem when working with Anna-blend names. It is a delicate problem to bring up, and it is not one that I want the search engines finding when searchers are searching for something quite different. And so let me bring it up this way. If you are starting a name with "Anna" and you are going to combine it with something starting in L, keep in mine that "Annal" bears a resemblance to things considered retentive. It is especially important not to, for example, drop that second N, as an actual acquaintance of mine did, spelling her daughter's name Analyn. It's a really pretty name, but it makes me think of that episode of Arrested Development where David Cross's character wants to be known as an "analrapist" (combining the words "analyst" and "therapist"). WATCH THOSE WORD BLENDS, is what I'm saying. Especially if we are going to work with ice or lice. End digression.

It is also wise, I think, to take initials into account, which is why when I think of it, I put initials after suggestions. In this case, where we have "EW" for the second two initials, some initials to be aware of are: DEW, EEW, FEW, HEW, JEW, MEW, NEW, PEW, and SEW. For me, this eliminates Emmerson. (Side note: if our firstborn had been a girl, we almost certainly would have named him, or rather her, Emerson. True story.)

I would also eliminate Grayson. The girls already have way more names to choose from than the boys, and in general they should keep their cute little hands off the few good boy names remaining, or else those of us with many boys to name are going to LOSE OUR MINDS.

Lily is a great girl name, but to me it pales in comparison to some of your other choices.

This narrows it down to:

Annalise Evenia Woodward (AEW)
Lorelei Evenia Woodward (LEW)
Layla Evenia Woodward (LEW)
Georgia Evenia Woodward (GEW)

My favorite from those four is Georgia. I love the sound of Georgia Woodward. And for an active little sprite, I like the high energy levels of a name like Lorelei. But with your reasons for using Annalise, I think Annalise is still in the lead.

That doesn't mean there isn't room to consult The Baby Name Wizard. Her sister-name ideas for Annalise are Lisbeth, Julianne, Arabella, Mariel, and Renata. Sister-names for Georgia are Charlotte, Lucy, Josephine, Virginia, and Violet. The only one of those ten I'd add to the list is Josephine (Josephine Woodward is almost as good as Georgia Woodward), but the initials need to be considered.

Plus, I'm totally lying, because I would also add Arabella. I love that name. I can't picture using it ("Arabella, find your shoes," "Arabella, feed the cat"), but I love it. I would add it just so I could keep looking at it.

My friend Mairzy says:
You've got several good options, all of which would serve a girl well. Just choose your favorite.

My personal preference is to avoid names like Grayson and Emmerson for girls. There are so many girl names, and ever-fewer of the softer boy names (see: Reece, Avery, and the latest I came across, Vaughn), that it seems a shame to borrow any more. Grayson, additionally, will have to identify herself as a girl all her life. (I know at least two girl Emmerson/Emersons, so it's not as likely to be a problem with that name.)

Annalice is hands-down my favorite, with family-name bonus points. As for the spelling, see Swistle's comments above. Annalise Evenia (I'm pronouncing it ee-VEN-ya) is quite the mouthful, but I knew of a Victoria Olivia who lived a happy, if polysyllabic, life.

You can see why Mairzy and I are friends: we came to our conclusions independently, but both of us are against losing more of the already-sparse boy names, and both of us prefer the Annalise spelling. Mairzy felt confident enough to refer to my "comments above"---without having seen what I'd written.

Time to vote. Go to the name poll at right, [poll closed; see below] and/or leave your name recommendations in the comment section.

[Poll results:
Annalise: 42 votes, roughly 48%
Lorelei: 16 votes, roughly 18%
Layla: 3 votes, roughly 3%
Georgia: 22 votes, roughly 25%
none of these: 4 votes, roughly 5%]

[Update! Dawn writes:
Hello there,

I wanted to update you and let you know how helpful your baby naming was for us...we were the post from Feb. 26th Baby Girl ____ Evenia Woodward.

We went with Georgia and we love it.

Thanks so much to you and your readers!

Dawn, Amelia, and Georgia :)



d e v a n said...

I love the name Lorelei! Emerson and Annalise are close seconds. Especially Annalise (agree on the spelling!) because it has special meaning to you.
I agreee on NO Grayson! I'm someone who is struggling to name a 3rd boy and had to strike down many names that were suddenly girl names. (but I also have a boy's name, so there you go.)
You might consider nicknames too, if you don't want Lorelei called Lori, Annalise called Ann or Anna or lise (though I liek those...)

Mairzy said...

I'm all with you on Arabella. I first discovered it when I read Dickens' "Pickwick Papers" (impressed yet?) and announced that I was going to name my daughter that. Instantly my oldest brother chanted, "Arabella - Hairy Belly!" which tarnished the charm a bit. I hope somebody else uses it, though. Just don't live anywhere near my brother.

AndreAnna said...

Ya know, normally I don't like the name Georgia but in this case, it just sounds so damn good with her name.

I'm also a fan of Annalise and there are a bunch of spellings, but i agree in the "lice" omission. In Germany (can you tell my name is German much??), where my family is from, it's rather common and spelled Anneliese and some pronounce is "on-na-lisa" with the added syllable at the end.

Which may be my favorite choice.t

Kate said...

Please don't use Grayson! Like Swistle said, let's keep that a boy name for all of us mommies/daddies that need to name our abundance of boys!! I vote for Annalise - very feminine sounding.

Mrs. M said...

I like georgia--gigi? I also like the lorelei and annalice/annalise. Although when I saw it spelled the way I wanted to pronounce it Ann-Alice which I really liked keeping the alice as opposed to changing it to the leese sound.

In the south we must consider how the initials look in a monogram!! :)

LoriD said...

My favourite of the bunch is Georgia. I like Annalise, only for the family significance, but otherwise find it a little "frilly" for my taste.

Bunny said...

Oh, I so love the Annalise, but I need a pronunciation guide for the middle name. I have been saying it (in my head): eh-VEEN-ia, but Mairzy had a different pronunciation. I don't like it as much pronounced with the short e, I much prefer the long e sound with the "ee" sound in "lise."

Linda said...

I have a Lorelei and have no regrets. That IS the appropriate spelling and if you're going for the GG reference it's spelled Lorelai. We get a lot of compliments, but be forewarned: misspellings and mispronounciations abound. No one wants to say or spell it correctly. Luckily, she is the type of kid who freely corrects people, including those (GRANDPA) who try to shorten it to Lori.

Anonymous said...

I voted Lorelei;it's so pretty and GG was my favorite show of all time. (Sidenote: a high school friend named her boy and girl, Luke and Lorelei!)

Arabella is also beautiful. I'd never heard of it until today.

Annalise is much nicer than Annalice (I read that in my mind as Anna Lice like Swistle). I personally know an Analiz, which I think is a pretty spelling.

Anonymous said...

I have a lovely friend named Annelise. If you're really concerned with the "Annal" thing.

Bethany said...

My first thought for baby Woodward was Charlotte...beautiful and flows well with Evenia!

That said, I also adore Loralei/Lorelei and Annalise/Annelise (the Annalice spelling made me think "lice" right away as well!)

may said...

If I had a girl last May, we were pretty sure we were going to name her Annalise. I thought it was a name no one really used - but everyone on this blog loves it! It makes me reconsider for #2, even though we love the name. Is it the next Madison??

Anyway, of course I like Annalise, but I also like Charlotte and, believe it or not, Josephine. Jo or Josie are nice little girl names that bring to mind a cute, active little tomboy (like in "Little Women").

Stephanie G said...

This is TOO fun, as I'm a Name fanatic myself as well (I have no children yet, but I've had future names for my children, and back-ups in case I have more of one gender than expected, picked out for AGES).

I voted for Annalise, but I think there were a few good contenders in there. Woodward is a wicked last name to pair names with, if I do say so myself. It's strong, and I think it could handle many different styles of first name.

Swistle - do we get to find out what the baby's ended up being named? I do hope the parents will write back and let us know what they decided on!

Names are so fun. I'm a tad obsessed.

Swistle said...

Stephanie- I agree: that surname rocks. Yes, I'll update with the name when the parents update me. I updated the first entry with the chosen name already; unfortunately, I notice that when I updated the entry, it didn't re-show-up in Bloglines. I put "[Edited]" in the title, but that's the only way right now to tell if a name has been announced. I'll have to think about this and see if I can come up with a better way---maybe a sidebar link or something.

Kate said...

I love Annalise and agree completely with you on the spelling, I also think of lice when it is spelled with a C.

I just have to tell you, I really love this site. You and Mairzy should be professional baby namers.

Dawn said...

First off let me say that this is my post, I'm Dawn, and I appreciate you putting this up...I totally get the lice thing too and have been saying it over and over and maybe if my partner sees others mentioning it, she might actually take it into consideration...I love the comments, keep 'em coming! Thanks so much everyone!

Dawn said...

Hello again, it's me Dawn...can you tell I'm a little obsessed? LOL! One thing...the middle name is pronounced E-veen-ee-uh

Evenia :)

And yep, I'll write again to tell you what we choose...we are due on May 17th so it'll be awhile unless you guys convince us!

Jennda said...

Ok, I want to put my two cents in now as well...
I also was at first put off by Georgia followed by Evenia, but I like it the more I hear it in my head (chanting it at work might draw some strange looks). I do also like it preceding Woodward alone...very strong. I also like the nickname George for a girl. At the risk of alienating the name (opposite for me), I'm wondering if you're familiar with a lesser known show called Dead Like Me? The main character was named Georgia, and called George, and she rocked.

Annalise (how I would spell it) is a nice name and I like the meaning behind it. Lorelei seems too much to me. I've liked girls/women having nicknames that sounded boyish, like Jo, but consider not only the JEW initials, but also the length of's just a letter or two longer than others I prefer, but makes a difference to me nonetheless. Anything longer than 8 letters will not fit on many blocked forms...I know Jennifer was the max on many growing up!
I also love has many personal connections for me, (and, if i ever had a girl, I'd use it for her first or middle name). It also offers fun nicknames like Char, Charlie, Lotte (particularly German again)...
Hmm. How about Dawson? JK, was trying to come up with something that included part of your name since Evenia has some of your partner's name...and you like the 'son' ending!

Good luck girlies!

Sarah H. said...

Sorry if this was already covered, but my parents made a point of ensuring that Rachel, Grace and I would be hard to nickname. If that's an issue for you, keep in mind that "Annalise" will be "Anna," "Lise," or "Lisa" in practice, unless you beat it into people. I voted for it anyway, though!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Evenia has to be the middle name....

Evenia Woodward sounds just great!!!

Swistle said...

I think that a generation or two ago, it was true that you couldn't avoid a nickname: I had a friend named Elizabeth who almost had to make nickname-prevention her full-time job, and people would have thought you were crazy to call James "James." Now, it's completely different. If you have a James and you want him called Jim, you really have to work at it. An Elizabeth is Elizabeth, no trouble. If you want your William called Will, you have to say so again and again. I think unless things change back, an Annalise would be Annalise.

Alice said...

agree with the annalise spelling - as an alice myself, i still looked at "annalice" initially and pronounced it "ANN-ah-LISS" then went "hmm.. that doesn't sound right." Annalise is more intuitive to pronounce.

i also think, like swistle, that Georgia Woodward sounds LOVELY (and really, how often are you going to use a middle name? unless she gets in trouble a lot? :-)) and i think layla is gorgeous w/the names as well.

good luck!

Linda said...

I agree, Swistle. I think people are pretty good about using whatever name you use to introduce your child. If someone says to me, "This is my son, Benjamin," I would NEVER just call the kid Ben until I heard the parent use it. Some of the older generations will automatically nickname, but that's phasing out. My husband's grandpa is the only one who wanted to nickname Lorelei "Lori" and Charlotte "Char." Everyone else uses the full name with no issues.

Linda said...

Also, Jennda, I need to know why Lorelei is "too much." That made me laugh, because sometimes my Lorelei IS too much.

brenna said...

I love Annalise, it's my daughter's middle name. But we avoided all problems (anal and lice) by going with the traditional German spelling (ANNELIESE). But we considered Lorelei too. We ultimately decided against it because we didn't want her to become Lori.

Jen said...

hi there - friend of dawn's here adding two tidbits of information that she won't mind me sharing.

1. they have a cat named charlotte sooo yeah, charlotte's out. (as is max and raven but they're not in the running. ha.)

2. dawn was born in georgia.

#2 is one of the reasons i'm still gunning for georgia - plus, georgia woodward totally rocks, isn't too femme (and a girl being raised by two women may turn out less traditional, let's face it) and has some staying power as a grown up.

not that annalise doesn't, it just sounds like a little girl name to me...same with arabella.

okay - that's my vote/persuasive argument. back to making shower invites. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the name Annalise, its really pretty, also unique. Always go with the name that means the most to you and speaks to your heart!!!!!!!!!!!!

KHMcManama said...

Just throwing a wrench in ... With so many syllables in the middle and last names, why not consider a quick, chic first name, like:

Just a thought. Of the choices, I really like Annalise.

Anonymous said...

Sarah W. Here--I do have to say I love that everyone loves my (our) surname. I've always wanted it to be something else but to hear everyone say it rocks-I'm totally digging it now and I'm 28!! HAHAHA

Anyway, as the woodward baby's aunt with an 8 year old daughter who is named Maya (pronounced MYA) I find it completely hilarious that Dawn & Amelia are taking votes on a name. I love it. Pronunciation is a definite drawback to those wonderfully creative names, especially at the doctors office, dentist and school. Yes, SCHOOL!! Even the spelling will get jacked up no matter how much you beg and plead with the teacher's/principle's/professor's.

So, with that said, I like Layla, no problems with pronunciation there, unless someone is just plain dumb, but then my girlfriend immediately thought of Layla Ali-not a boxing fan but I know who she is.

So then there's Georgia-LOVE IT!!! If they don't take this name I will if I ever have another little girl, or maybe I'll take Layla-who knows.

Lorelei is awesome but it will also get the LORE LEE or LORA LAY called in the waiting room guaranteed.

Arabella is awesome but that's new-WTF-wasn't something talked about yesterday!! HAHAHA

And so on and so on. Ya'll just need to figure out what's gonna make you happy saying it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!

Oh yea, and I LOVE annalise too, Chelsea from "That's So Raven's" real name is Annalisa pronounced O-NNA-LISA

So the decision is ultimately yours, Maya currently goes by MY, MY MY or MAYA ANN, she hates MY MY. Good call from the person who said put the middle name with the first to make sure you will want to use it when your pissed!!


barnyardmama said...

Love Arabella--I wanted it for myself, but my Hub nixed it. We had a boy anyway.

I was kind of unsure about Georgia, but after hearing it with the middle and last name, I think it's my favorite.

Linda said...

Is there a comment limit? I may have surpassed it.

Just wanted to add that Georgia is a Gilmore Girls reference, too! Christopher and that girl from Twin Peaks had a little girl and named her Georgia, remember? They called her Gigi.

Anonymous said...

love the name georgia but consider the initals - gew - sounds more like goo! ugh!!
i vote for annalise, love names w/special meanings. congratulations!!

sorry about the anonymous but first time posting no time to set up acount.