This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Boy Hiltz

Margaret writes:
We're expecting our second little boy Sept 18th. Both my husband and I like classic, clearly strong/male names. We had chosen our first sons name, Henry Matthew, years ago and are very happy with our choice (despite the names growing popularity). Our last name is Hiltz.

While we'd both like something a little different we seem to easily agree on the basic traditionals - some of our mutal favorites include Thomas, James, Oliver and Peter. I love these names but (unlike my hubby) fear that they may be too popular or expected (especially the first three). I'd prefer to stay out of the top 100 names. My top picks include Theodore Grant (nn Theo), Simon, Edward (nn Ned), Calvin (nn Cal, concerned that this sounds awkward with our last name). Meanwhile hubby adores Montgomery (nn Monty).

We'd like to include a family name for the middle just as we did with our first son. We'd like to use Edward, Hagan, or I'd especially love to honor my father (Garnet Aubrey) by using the middle name Grant. Any other name suggestions stemming from my fathers name?

We seem to have landed on Peter Edward but I fear that eventually he may be called Pete (which I can't bear)! I'd also really like to honor my father but don't love the combo Peter Grant. Any help/suggestions would be much appreciated -thanks!

Do you like the combination Peter Garnet? I'd be in favor of using your dad's actual name to honor him, and I also think Grant is a little choppy with the surname Hiltz.

If you strongly dislike the nickname Pete, I think best to stay away from the name Peter. This is definitely an era where nicknames can be more easily avoided---but they do still happen, and Baby Peter himself might choose later on to be called Pete.

The name Henry, as you already know, is increasing in popularity. Because you'd rather it didn't, you might this time want to choose instead a name that was decreasing in popularity. On the other hand, it's worth considering the opposite option: deliberately choosing a name that coordinates in popularity (commonness and also rising/falling status) with Henry. Picture a set of parents in the 1970s naming their two sons Nicholas and Terry, both names in the Top 100---but the name Nicholas was rising in popularity and the name Terry was falling. The brother names end up sounding not very coordinated a few decades later, and do we perhaps feel a teeny bit sorry for Terry?

And of course Oliver is one of my favorite names, so I hate to see it taken out of the running. I think Henry Matthew and Oliver Garnet is GREAT. (I also love Henry Matthew and Simon Garnet, but I'm assuming since it's not on the mutual list it's not a strong candidate.) Let's have a poll over to the right for your mutual favorites. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (160 votes total):
Thomas: 22 votes, roughly 14%
James: 36 votes, roughly 23%
Oliver: 76 votes, roughly 48%
Peter: 26 votes, roughly 16%

Name Update!

Update on "Baby Boy, Brother to Samuel Atticus"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Baby Girl, Sister to Kendal Essa

Michal writes:
My dilemma is on the naming of my second child. I am due with a baby girl on Sept 20th. Our first daughter is Kendal Essa. Her middle name is after my grandmother and great grandmother - it is a version of Essie. We named her Kendal because it is not very common and had the 'al' similar to my name Michal. And we felt the first and middle went really well together.

For our second child, I am kind of at a loss. I loved the name Maria Angeline but my husband hates it. We liked Ella Marie but then our neighbor named their dog Ella and then a new neighbor has a daughter Ella.

Our top two right now are Aprilia Ryan and Siena Ryan. Her middle name is after her father - Jonryan. Our criteria is to have a somewhat unique first name and then a middle name is reserved for naming after a family member. My husband loves Aprilia and I like it, but not really sold on her being called April for short. My husband isn't sold on Siena.

Any other thoughts/suggestions?

I wonder if you'd like Averil? It's unusual but familiar, like Kendal, and it has a similar level of no-frill. Kendal and Averil. That's my top choice; here's my whole list (since I saw Marie and Angeline above, I'm assuming the middle name Ryan isn't a sure thing):

Hollis (Holly)
Linden (Lindy)

Name update 11-02-2009! Michal writes:
Thank you everyone for your comments! We ended up naming our little girl Natalie Ryan. I love her name and she is a wonderful little girl. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Powers, Sibling to Poppy and Paisley

Shelby writes:
Here is our issue:
I am a proud mama to 2 little girls, Poppy (Penelope) Isabella and Paisley Savannah. Our last name is Powers. Well, we are now expecting baby number 3 in September and I cannot decide whether to go with another P name or not if this is a girl. I don't want their names to sound cheesy, and I definitely gravitate toward P names because I love the double P sound in the first and last names, particularly for female names. Do you think a 3rd daughter will feel "left out" if we don't use a p name? This is most definitely our last child.
So far, names in the running for a girl are:
1. Piper (my husband loves this name)
2. Posey
3. Mariposa and call her Posey
4. Phoebe
Do you have any non-P name suggestions that go well with Poppy and Paisley?
If the baby is a boy, his name will probably be Theo Caspian Powers, which I love.

I think if I were you I'd stick with a P name for a third girl. I like Piper best of your options because I think it's the best in the line-up: Posey is so similar in sound to Paisley when said out loud (I found myself swapping the sounds: Paisy and Posely), and Phoebe suddenly feels like it SHOULD be pronounced with a P sound instead of an F sound. Other P names to consider:

Padget Powers. Poppy, Paisley, and Padget.

Patience Powers. Poppy, Paisley, and Patience.

Persia Powers. Poppy, Paisley, and Persia.

Philippa Powers. Poppy, Paisley, and Pippa.

Peyton Powers. Poppy, Paisley, and Peyton.

Polly Powers. Poppy, Paisley, and Polly. (This might be too close to Poppy---but it helps that Poppy is actually Penelope: Penelope, Paisley, and Polly.)

My two favorites are Padget and Philippa: Padget because I only recently heard of that name and I think it's adorbs, and Philippa because I like the way she can draw attention to the P sound with Pippa, or downplay it with the F sound of Philippa.

Name update 09-17-2009! Shelby writes:
We have an update -- our little boy, Theo Caspian, was born on September 14th!! He's a healthy, beautiful little boy and everyone is doing great. Thank you all for the great suggestions!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baby Girl Yarns

Jill writes:
My husband and I are expecting baby #2 (a girl!) who is due September 10. He and I, along with our first daughter, Jenna Elizabeth, share the same initials including middle initials. We can't decide if we want to continue with this or not. I'm leaning toward not using another J name because I don't want people to confuse our kids. We like names that are "normal," somewhat traditional, but under-used. We're not fans of super trendy names like Grace, Claire, Ellie, Isabel, etc.

Our top picks for J names are:
Joni Ellis (Joni for my husband's grandmother, Joan)

Or top picks for non-J names are:
Callie Sue (Sue for my husband's mother)
Lyndie Sue

And.... that's about all we've got! We're definitely coming up short this time around. Can you help??

P.S. Our last name rhymes with Yarns.

If you DO continue with J names, here are some possibilities:

Joely Elena
Jorie Emeline
Josie Ellis
Joy Emerson
June Ellery

If you DON'T continue with J names, here are some possibilities:

April Sue
Cara Sue
Claudia Sue
Ellis Joan
Holly Sue
Laurel Sue
Libby Sue
Marissa Joan
Molly Sue
Robin Sue
Romy Sue
Sukie Joan

And what I want most to know is whether everyone thinks they should stick with J names or not, so let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (190 votes total):
Stick with J names: 125 votes, roughly 66%
Switch to another letter: 65 votes, roughly 34%

Name update 10-02-2009! Jill writes:
Just a quick update on our JEB dilemma....

We decided not to go with another J name and named our daughter Callie Sue. She was born 09-08-09!

Thanks for the help,


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baby Name to Consider: Abelson

Time for another "Name I Feel Like I Made Up, But Likely Didn't: Abelson. It's not even in my book of 50,001 baby names, which stretches ("Must! reach! 50,000! mark!") to include such names as Eleven and Eccentricity and Ecru.

The name Abel is so great: strong but gentle, and a pleasing word association with "able". Plus, he was the nice brother of the Cain and Abel scandal. Unfortunately, the Cain-'n'-Abel thing is kind of hard to beat, nice brother or not---especially for someone who has a brother. The "Am I my brother's keeper?" joke is likely to get old.

How about THIS, though: Abelson. It's got the Abel part, plus it's a surname name. It has the sound of a name of old standing (even though I'm pretty sure it isn't), rather than of a modern invented name. It's strongly boyish, but without sounding overly tough-guy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Baby Boy Stanline

Diane writes:
Hoping you can help us out. I am pregnant with a boy. Definitely a boy. And we have no ideas about what to name him. I tend to like classic, Old Testament sorts of names and have suggested Jacob, Samuel, Ezra and Lucas (which isn't really Old Testament, but has the same feeling.) I also like Hunter and Thaddeus.

Hunter is a variation on an old family name.
My husband has pretty much vetoed all my choices outright, except for Lucas and Hunter (both of which he said "weren't terrible")

Other things to note:
Our daughter is Claire Barbara - her first name is one we both liked and Barbara was an aunt of my husband's who passed away.
I was thinking I might like to honor my cousin Nan, who passed away just shy of three years ago.
Our last name is Germanic and rhymes with Stanline.

My husband was a veto-er, too. What I did was have HIM come up with a list. Then I laughed and laughed, because it was all names of Cool Kids From High School. Soon we were making progress. Not, uh, EASY progress, but progress.

That's where I might start in this case, too: asking your husband for HIS list. That might give a better idea of the meeting place between what you like and what he likes. Failing that, we'll start with your preference for Old Testamenty names, combined with the names on his Not Terrible list: Lucas and Hunter.

The Baby Name Wizard has a specific list for Old Testament names, which certainly gives us a good start. What I did was look at each name and think, "Does this seem like someone who thought Lucas and Hunter were Not Terrible would also think this name was Not Terrible?" My conclusion: "Hey, he chose the only two names on your list that didn't sound Old Testamenty. He doesn't like Old Testamenty names." I changed my focus: Old Testament names that don't sound quite so Old Testamenty.

Asher Stanline
Caleb Stanline
Ethan Stanline
Jared Stanline
Joel Stanline
Joshua Stanline
Nathan Stanline
Reuben Stanline
Simon Stanline
Zachary Stanline

None of these just CALL OUT to me as the solution to the situation, though. If he doesn't like Jacob and Samuel, he probably won't like Caleb and Joel. If you're thinking Samuel and Ezra, I suspect Nathan and Ethan won't satisfy.

Would anyone else like to try?

Name update 05-31-2010! Diane writes:
Hi Swistle - I don't know if I ever updated you, or your readers about what we decided to name our baby, nearly nine months ago.

Benjamin Colin. It meshes nicely with his big sister's name, Claire Barbara.

We were undecided about right up until the end. Then as I was lying there, in the throes of labor I started thinking about the names in my head. And talking to the unborn one (oversharing? Maybe. But whatevs.) I decided then and there, that his name was Ben. So I told my husband so.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Nothing Seems Good

Jessica writes:
My husband and I need help!
We are expecting our first born, due 9/6.
It is a boy. My husband is from India, I am American, and our last name begins with M.

We have not agreed on any single name, and I've gotten to the point where I don't even know what I like anymore, but I seem to dislike everything!! It is a mess!!

My husband really liked Adrian and Milan, but I really dislike Adrian and am so-so on Milan. I liked Soren and Ethan, and my husband seems to lean towards Ethan too. But we aren't sold on any of them. And have no ideas for a middle name either. Help!

Anyway, any ideas would be MUCH APPRECIATED!!

I think Ethan is a wonderful name. One of my friends used it for her son, and it has worn very well on him. I like how flexible it is: an Ethan can be an intellectual, an athlete, a theater guy, a workshop guy, quiet or clownish, awkward or cool---and the name continues to work.

What I like to do when I have only one or two ideas is start surfing The Baby Name Wizard. (I'm linking to the Amazon copy here, and I have HEARD that Amazon has used up the first edition and is now sending the second---but I don't think I'd count on it, given our bad experience with Amazon, and given that they've changed the product picture back to the first edition. I found my copy at a local bookstore.)

I do it like this: Starting with the name Ethan, I'd look at the suggested brother names, which in this case are Caleb, Isaac, Dylan, Jonah, and Mason. Any of those that I liked, I'd go look at THEIR suggested brother names. So let's say I like both Caleb and Isaac. I'd add Caleb and Isaac to my list, and go look at THEIR brother names. Caleb: Gabriel, Cole, Connor, Elijah, Noah. Isaac: Caleb, Samuel, Noah, Lucas, Seth. And I like Gabriel and Lucas, so I add those to my list and go look at THEIR brother names: Noah, Elijah, Caleb, Dominic, Julian, Zachary, Noah, Simon, Nathaniel, Gabriel.

Let's say none of those catch my eye, so I've dead-ended. I might go back to the original Ethan Brothers list and think, "Well, I don't LIKE-like the name Mason, but it's more the flavor of what I like about Ethan than the Noah/Elijah stuff is." So then I'd go to Mason, and find HIS brothers: Spencer, Logan, Riley, Parker, Carson. I like Riley and Carson, so I add them to my list and look up THEIR brothers: Parker, Reid, Logan, Brady, Donovan, Riley, Carter, Owen, Holden, Jackson. So I add Reid and Owen to my list, and look up THEIR brothers, and so it goes until I have a nice big list.

You don't have to LOVE a name or even be seriously considering it to add it to the list---just add anything that you think, "Huh! Yeah, that's pretty okay! I don't hate that!" You can work on this together, or each of you can work on it separately and compare notes (that's a good way to handle a co-parent who is shooting down your suggestions seemingly for no other reason than that you suggested it), or one parent can work on it and the other one can pick favorites from that list and/or cross out the ones that aren't up for consideration.

The other great thing about The Baby Name Wizard is that it comes with a free turnip-twaddler if you call now, supplies are limited so don't wait! after awhile you may start to notice that the names you like fall into one of the book's categories. For example, Lucas is in the New Classics category and the Biblical category, and Riley is in Last Names First, Celtic, and Androgynous. Owen is in Antique Charm and Celtic; Caleb is in Antique Charm and Biblical; Isaac is in Antique Charm and Biblical. Well, so pretty soon you might go to the back of the book and look at whole CATEGORIES of names: Antique Charm, Biblical, Celtic, etc.

Another idea, particularly if you don't own a copy of TBNW, is to poke around in your family tree. In my own experience, using family names has been surprisingly satisfying: the name seems "fine" at first but then rapidly grows on me, and its family significance greatly contributes to that. Everyone wants to know the baby's name, and it feels good to say, "His name is William---it's after my grandfather."

Does anyone else have good tips for finding a baby name when nothing seems good?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baby Girl, Sister to Kaia and Kaybrie

Stephanie writes:
hi there! i'm due with baby #3. my due date is september 6/09. i already have 2 daughters and my ultrasound tech 'thought' it was another girl. not like we're surprised, but anyhow, we are having many, many issues trying to find a good name this time. my two other daughters have the names Kaia Faith and Kaybrie Joy. we weren't planning on the 'k' theme with the first two, just happened to like those names that started with 'k'. i think we'd like to avoid the 'k' names this time around b/c i don't think i want to have my daughter's being the KKK (kwim?). i have always LOVED the name Brynn. it's one of my absolute favorite names and i would love to use it, however, it doesn't fit with our middle name of Grace. we want to use Grace as our middle name this time b/c it 'goes with' Faith and Joy that we used before for the girls. ack! so... here's the conditions...
1. feel like i need at least a 2 syllable name to go with the middle name Grace.
2. avoiding names that start with 'k'.
3. want something unique and different (not common but not totally crazy and out there -- see my daughter's names)
4. avoiding names that also start with 't' and also avoiding names that end in 'son' b/c i don't like the way they sound with our last name.

i have a huge list of names that i already like but just can't seem to pick that 'perfect' name, if you know what i mean. here's a few of my favs for you to deliberate over:
-Hadley (my husband really likes this one but i worry it's too masculine compared to my daughters' girly names)
-Payton (again, too masculine? maybe b/c the other spelling of it we'd use as a 2nd name for a boy)
-Brynley or Brynnley or Brynly (i like the sound of this name especially b/c i can shorten it to Brynn when she's older, which i love, but i just don't like any of the spellings for it. help!)
-Paige (not 2 syllables but love the name)

i guess that's it for now. i hope to get a few good suggestions and comments. i'm just starting to freak out b/c baby is due SO soon and both other times i was a week early.

thanks in advance,

(incidentally if this baby turns out to surprise us and be a boy, we already have a name picked out and it was SO easy to choose -- Drew Peyton. what's up with that? not fair!!)

I wonder---are you flexible about the middle name? Because if you'd consider other virtue names that go with Faith and Joy, we might be able to find a multi-syllable one that goes with your first name favorite of Brynn. This sort of thing:

Brynn Charity
Brynn Honor
Brynn Mercy
Brynn Patience
Brynn Prudence
Brynn Verity

None of those sound as good to me as your Brynley Grace option, though. My favorite spelling is Brinley: Brinley Grace.

You could also use Brynna: Brynna Grace.

You mention liking the name Paige and wishing it were more than one syllable; I wonder if you would like the name Paisley? Paisley Grace.

I like Hadley and think of it as cutely tomboyish but still primarily feminine---probably because of the name Haley. Same with the name Payton/Peyton---probably because I'm watching One Tree Hill (with main female character Peyton Sawyer).

Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (211 votes total):
Ayla: 7 votes, roughly 3%
Hadley: 16 votes, roughly 8%
Payton: 2 votes, roughly 1%
Juliet: 21 votes, roughly 10%
Ainsley: 24 votes, roughly 11%
Brinley: 61 votes, roughly 29%
Brynna: 63 votes, roughly 30%
Paisley: 17 votes, roughly 8%

Name update 04-08-2010! Stephanie writes:
i was due sept 6th with a girl and i really wanted to use brynn as a name or a variation on it. you gave me so many options and for that, i thank you. in the end, i allowed my husband the honor of naming our baby and with much consideration... and 2 hours AFTER her birth, she was finally named Hadley Grace. she was 6 lbs 14 oz and was born september 8/09. two days after her due date. she is the perfect fit to our family, a sweet little sister for Kaia and Kaybrie. thanks again for all your help.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baby Girl or Boy Stewart

Lindsay writes:
We are stumped with a name for our little one. Since we don't know what we are having we need to narrow down our name selection for a boy and girl. Here are the names we have so far:

Leah Grace
Abigail Elizabeth
Abigail Jo
Kate Elizabeth
Corrine Elizabeth
Cora Elizabeth
Ruby Elizabeth
Ruth (Ruthie) Elizabeth

Jesse Michael
Liam Michael (although I don't know if the double m sounds good?)
Cael Michael
Grant Michael
Garrett Michael

A little bit of information for the above names: 1) I never really cared for my own middle name of Jo. My mom and I have Jo for our middle names. I am hesistant to carry on Jo as a middle name since I didn't start liking my middle name until several years ago. 2) Elizabeth is the middle name for two very important people in our family. 3) Michael is my husband's first name. I have always wanted to carry his name down to our first child but it's not a must have. 4) My husband's father passed away some time ago and would love to honor him through one of his names (George Henderson) but I am just not feeling it. 5) Our last name is Stewart.

Thoughts on what sounds the best for a boy and girl name?

My favorite of your girl names is Cora: Cora Elizabeth Stewart. I also love Ruth(ie), but like less the repeating "oo" sound with your surname. (This is one of those totally subjective things where the very next person would say they loved the way the repeating sound tied the names together.)

My favorite of your boy names is harder to choose. I like the names that end in T, but not as much with a surname ending in T (Grant Stewart, Garrett Stewart) (again, the very next person would say they liked it for that very reason). I like Cael, but it's almost the same as the second syllable of Michael.

I love the idea of using your father-in-law's name. My mom knows a family where the boy is George, called Geordie (Jordy), and it's made us both about ten times more fond of the name George. George Henderson Stewart, called Geordie, is one of the best names I've ever heard of.

Here are a few more boy name suggestions:

Callum Michael Stewart
Calvin Michael Stewart
Gavin Michael Stewart
Griffin Michael Stewart
Ian Michael Stewart
Leo Michael Stewart
Owen Michael Stewart
Reid Michael Stewart

Let's have two polls over to the right, one for girl names and one for boy names. [Polls closed; see results below.]

Poll results, girl names (191 votes total):
Leah Grace: 28 votes, roughly 15%
Abigail Elizabeth: 18 votes, roughly 9%
Abigail Jo: 10 votes, roughly 5%
Kate Elizabeth: 18 votes, roughly 9%
Corrine Elizabeth: 24 votes, roughly 13%
Cora Elizabeth: 59 votes, roughly 31%
Ruby Elizabeth: 26 votes, roughly 14%
Ruth Elizabeth: 8 votes, roughly 4%

Poll results, boy names (175 votes total):
Jesse: 9 votes, roughly 5%
Liam: 18 votes, roughly 10%
Cael: 8 votes, roughly 5%
Grant: 17 votes, roughly 10%
Garrett: 5 votes, roughly 3%
Callum: 20 votes, roughly 11%
Calvin: 13 votes, roughly 7%
Gavin: 16 votes, roughly 9%
Griffin: 16 votes, roughly 9%
Ian: 8 votes, roughly 5%
Leo: 11 votes, roughly 6%
Owen: 17 votes, roughly 10%
Reid: 17 votes, roughly 10%

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Looking for Meaningful Names

Jennifer writes:
My husband and I cannot choose a name for our baby girl. She is due August 23rd, and will be our fourth child. We have one son and two daughters. There will be 8 years age difference between our present youngest and the new baby. This time around, we are having great difficulty in choosing a name. We think of something, but have a problem commiting to it.

Our children's names are common names. Dylan, Emma, and Abbey. However, they have some significance to us. Dylan is my husband's middle name and a nod to Bob Dylan. Emma was a name I had been in love with for years (she was named before its surge in popularity), and Abbey is from the Beatles' Abbey Road. Their middle names each have something to do with nature- Dylan Trout, Emma Rose, Abbey Rain. Again, these have some significance to us, Trout from a book title, Rose was a grandmother's name, and Rain shortened from the word rainbow in another book title.

We would like to find a name for this baby that has some significance to us, but seem to have run out of ideas. We would like for the first name to have 2 syllables and the middle to have 1, but are willing to forgo this for a good name. Our last name is 2 syllables and begins with a B. We also like names that won't typically be shortened to a nickname.

First names that at least one of us has liked: Maggie, Ellie, Callie, Audrey, Betsy, Charlie, Sadie and Robyn. We really have no names that both of us have agreed upon.
Middle name ideas we've had are: Sage, Reed, Ruby, and Wren. Nothing that really has significance to us.

Any new name suggestions or thoughts on names we've liked are much appreciated! Thanks so much!

New suggestions will be tricky, because we don't know what names would be meaningful. We can, however, discuss ways to FIND meaningful names.

1. Stand in front of your bookshelf. Look at each title, each author; think of the characters in each book.

2. Go to a room in your house. Stand in the middle and turn slowly, looking at everything in the room. Maybe a print on the wall will remind you of the artist you like, or a knick-knack will remind you of a trip you took. Sift through those memories for names.

3. Think about the places you've lived together: towns, counties, states. Think of places you've gone together: coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants. Think of places you grew up, places you've gone on vacation together, places you'd like to go. Any good location names?

4. Look through your CDs and DVDs for artist/actor/character names.

5. Look at a family tree for first names and for surname names.

6. Think of your friends over the years, considering their first names and surnames.

7. Think of the people who've been important to you over the years: teachers, doctors, church and community members. Consider their first names and surnames.

8. Think of the places that were important to you in your childhood: schools and churches and parks sometimes have pretty names.

9. Think of famous people you've respected and liked: artists and actors and scientists and authors and politicians. Think of causes you feel favorably toward, and the people involved with them. Historical figures are good for this too.

10. Think of the books you liked as a child, and look for author names and character names.

Since this baby is much younger than her three siblings, I wonder if you might find a meaningful name by allowing the older children to help name her? Any name they chose would have meaning by merit of them choosing it. Or maybe there are name ideas in things that mean something to you as a family, or would have significance to your older children. Dae is a one-syllable middle name made from the other children's first initials, for example; perhaps Day would make a pretty nature-y middle name. Or maybe the children would like to name the baby after someone important to them.

Most likely none of these will be meaningful, but here are some 2-syllable names I think go well with your first three:


Does anyone have other suggestions for finding a meaningful name?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl Van Allen

Amy writes:
I'm due August 24 with my second child. We've chosen not to find out the gender. Our two-year-old daughter is named Caroline Stella and our last name is van Allen.

For boys, our top choice is John. At first, I was worried it was too plain or too Kennedy next to Caroline, but I've been looking through past posts of yours and saw you've already addressed the John and Caroline issue, so I guess it's not too much of a problem! If we go with John, we're stuck on a middle name - we like strong, classic names but want something a little more distinctive to go with John. We've considered John Benjamin and John William, but neither of those seem right to us. Any ideas?

For girls, we are tentatively considering Margaret, with the occasional nickname Maggie. We're not quite sure about a middle name, either. Right now, my husband loves Julia, which I like. We've also considered (for first or middle names): Penelope, Abigail, Camilla, and Jacqueline. Any other ideas would be gratefully appreciated. :)

We find middle names so hard! With Caroline, we picked her middle name when we were actually in the delivery room - I'm hoping we'll reach an agreement soon this time around!

I think middle names are an excellent opportunity to kiss up to someone you know and love, so I'd start with family names (both first names and surnames) if I were you: a father or grandfather or brother? a mother's or grandmother's maiden name? an uncle or friend? It's also a good place for the name of an author or philosopher or political figure or actor or artist or scientist you like.

So that's where I'd go if I were in need of a middle name, but that makes for a pretty sparse post since I don't know what names would be on that list. Here are some other possibilities to consider:

John Caleb van Allen
John David van Allen
John Edmund van Allen
John Edward van Allen
John Frederick van Allen
John Harris van Allen
John Henry van Allen
John Isaac van Allen
John Wesley van Allen

For a girl, my two favorite combinations using your list are:
Margaret Camilla van Allen
Julia Margaret van Allen

Some more ideas:

Beatrice Joy van Allen
Charlotte Mae van Allen
Charlotte Mary van Allen
Eleanor Joy van allen
Georgia Faith van Allen
Georgia Ruth van Allen
Josephine Frances van Allen
Lillian Margaret van Allen
Lillian Ruth van Allen
Lydia Mae van Allen
Lydia Winifred van Allen
Rosemary Adele van Allen
Rosemary Grace van Allen

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Baby Girl Schott

Ashley writes:
I am due with baby #2 at the end of August and my husband and I are having a really hard time agreeing on a name. Our son was born 6 weeks early, and it's looking like this baby will come early too, so we are running out of time! We know we are having a girl, and we like names that start with the letter R. Our 2 yr. old son's name is Riley, and it took FOREVER to agree on his name. As in, we sat in the hospital staring at him for awhile before I finally gave in and let my husband pick Riley. I really liked Landon or Camden, but he wouldn't go for either of those. Naturally, since I pretty much let him decide on our son's name, I feel that I should get to name this baby. At the same time, I still harbor a little bitterness about not being *IN LOVE* with the name Riley, and I'd hate to have him feel that way about our daughter's name. I would really like for us BOTH to love the name we choose. Anyway, I'm finding that there aren't a lot of girl's names that start with the letter R. We'd like something a little different, but not weird. We don't like Rachel, Renee, Robin, Rose, etc. I was in love with the name Reagan, but he hates it, particularly the association with former President Ronald Reagan. We both like the name River, but are unsure since it's mostly a "boys" name. He wants to spell it differently (ex. Ryver, Riever) but I think this is a horrible idea. I think we should stick to spelling it the way it's meant to be spelled. I'm also having a hard time deciding on a middle name. We want it to be a family name, and have narrowed it down to Margaret (both of our deceased grandmothers), Michelle (my sister, and we are very close), or Lavergne (his deceased grandfather). So what do you think about River for a girl? And what about the middle name? We are totally open to new suggestions for a first name, but are not really flexible on the middle names, aside from the ones I've listed. Baby's last name is Schott, pronounced Shot.

I think of River as a boy's name---and yet, there is no reason at all it shouldn't be a girl's name, and in fact if anything I think it works BETTER as a girl name. If you use it, I'm with you about the spelling: if nothing else because Ryver and Riever look like they'd be pronounced RY-ver and REE-ver, but also because it seems wise to limit the Unusual Situations to one per child. If you have to explain that it's a girl name AND that it's spelled differently AND that it's pronounced differently than it's spelled, I think you're going to lose your minds.

If you use River, I like River Lavergne best. River Michelle is my next favorite. Margaret gives some seriousness to the name but may be too startling a style change.

Some more R possibilities:

Rainey. Perhaps too sing-songy with Riley, which is too bad because it has a similar flavor to the name River while being more distinctly feminine. I think it works fine with any of the middle names, though again my top two would be Lavergne and Michelle.

Raphaela. Oh my goodness do I like this name. It's so pretty, but like many girl versions of boy names it has BACKBONE. I like it best with Lavergne: Raphaela Lavergne Schott.

Raven. Similar in style to River, but used more often for girls. I like it with either Lavergne or Michelle.

Reese. Androgynous, but Reese Witherspoon makes me think of this as the feminine spelling. Riley and Reese is a nice sibling set. I like Reese Margaret.

Rhonwen. Like Bronwen/Bronwyn. I like it with Margaret.

Romilly. I love this one, but I guess it shares too many sounds with Riley.

Romy. Adorable. Perhaps not use it with the middle name Michelle, because of the movie. Romy Lavergne is my favorite.

Rory. It really is too bad so many of these good R names share not only the first letter of Riley but also the last letter. I like Rory with any of the three middle names.

Rowan. Love it. Riley and Rowan. My favorite is Rowan Margaret.

Ruby. I like the way Riley and Ruby as a sibling set makes the name Riley seem more obviously a boy's name. I think it's good with all three middle names.

These are my favorite combinations:
River Lavergne Schott; Riley and River
Reese Margaret Schott; Riley and Reese
Romy Lavergne Schott; Riley and Romy
Rowan Margaret Schott; Riley and Rowan
Ruby Michelle Schott; Riley and Ruby

Let's have a poll over to the right [poll closed; see results below], and more combination ideas (and/or votes for names not on the poll) in the comments section.

Poll results (248 votes total):
River: 35 votes, roughly 14%
Reese: 55 votes, roughly 22%
Romy: 17 votes, roughly 7%
Rowan: 65 votes, roughly 26%
Ruby: 76 votes, roughly 31%

Name Updates!

Update on Baby Girl Oliver!
Update on Baby Girl or Boy Lieneck!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Allegra

F. writes:
We are expecting our second daughter and my husband and I have a hard time agreeing on girls' names. Our first daughter is Sophia (Sophie.) I knew it was a popular name but it was really the ONLY name we could both agree on... So... as excited as I was to hear that Sophie was getting a sister, I was also very anxious about finding another girl name!

I went through the Baby Name Wizard book and read out every single name I would consider and after my husband's veto, we are down to 7 possibilities (with 3 leading the pack)

Top Picks:

Allegra (Allie)
Allison (Allie)

Also Under Consideration:

Francesca (Frankie)
Charlotte (Charli)
Delaney (Laney)

Middle name is not set in stone, but will likely be Jane (for MIL) and our last name is two syllables, rhymes with Pagan.

Ideally, we'd like to find a name that sounds sophisticated but has a cute nickname she can use when she's younger. Name meaning is fairly important since the association with "wisdom" played a big role in choosing Sophia.

My husband really likes Allegra, and I do too, but I'm concerned about the allergy medication of the same name. Will this lead to teasing? Are we crazy for considering a name that has been hijacked by a pharmaceutical company? We like the musical connotations, the meaning (cheerful), and the way it sounds with our last name and our daughter's name (Sophia and Allegra, Sophie and Allie,) but I'm still worried.

You're welcome to make additional suggestions, but I've tried so many different names and these are really the only ones my husband likes... I doubt he's going to go for anything new.

Thank you so much for your help!

I love the name Allegra---and every time I want to suggest it, I back away because of the allergy medicine. I'm ANGRY at the company that stole it. Let's have a poll over to the right: Is the name Allegra too associated with allergy medication to be used for a baby? [Poll closed; see below for results.]

Poll results (337 votes total):

Yes: 174 votes, roughly 52%
No: 163 votes, roughly 48%

Name update 11-16-2009! F. writes:
We ended up naming our daughter Lucy. I love her name, but I regret not being gutsy enough to go with Allegra. Personally, I'd encourage anyone considering the name to go for it. No matter what name you choose some people will like it and others will hate it.

Thanks again for your help.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baby Girl, Sister to Hayden Claire

Lindsay writes:
I have seen some friends use your site, and I always love your suggestions so I thought I would try. We are pregnant with our second child, a girl, and we are due mid August. My little girl's name is Hayden Claire. My husband and I both like names that are "different", and by different I think I mean names that aren't used all the time. We are having a hard time finalizing a name for this little girl. We absolutely LOVE the name Anderson, and we would use the middle name Kate. We just LOVE it, and I know of 2 little girls that are named Anderson (neither of which I know personally.) However I also know of boys named Anderson, and I'm starting to second guess this choice wondering if it's too boy-ish. I also am big on no nicknames. Meaning if I wanted a little girl named Emmy I would name her that and not something that could be shortened to that. If I named my little girl Anderson I would NOT want her to be called Andy. Other names we are considering: Emerson Kate, Harper Kate, Merritt. I also like the name Madison Kate, but Madison is very popular! We liked the name Carrington, but I don't think I want a name that long. We also liked the name Ainsley, but I think it might be too "girly" to go with Hayden. I like the name Channing, but my husband isn't a huge fan. I would LOVE any and all name suggestions that you might have and your thoughts on the names that we have liked. Our little girls will be almost exactly 2 years apart so I really want their names to "flow" together. Thanks so much in advance for you help and advice!!!

I love the name Anderson, too, and I will mourn it if it goes girl. If baby names were stored in silos, the boy name silo would be about 1/4th full, and the girl name silo would need several supplementary silos and STILL be overflowing, so it makes me cringe to see buckets being carried from the boy name silo to the girl name silo. The girl name silo does not need this name; the boy name silo is desperate for it.

For that reason, I throw my support behind the name Emerson, which I think is very, very similar to Anderson, but which in my opinion has already moved fully to the girl silo. (The Baby Name Wizard disagrees with me and has it only in the boy name section.) Emerson Kate is adorable. Hayden and Emerson. YES.

A similar name is Emerin, or Emryn. Emryn Kate, Hayden and Emryn.

If you like Madison but find it too common, you could use Madigan. Madigan Kate, Hayden and Madigan.

Another suggestion: Kirby. Not with Kate, probably, but maybe with Jane. Kirby Jane, Hayden and Kirby. I am leaning toward this option because I think it is so cute.

Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (261 votes total):
Anderson: 12 votes, roughly 5%
Emerson: 124 votes, roughly 48%
Harper: 59 votes, roughly 23%
Merritt: 26 votes, roughly 10%
Emryn: 12 votes, roughly 5%
Madigan: 20 votes, roughly 8%
Kirby: 8 votes, roughly 3%

Name update from the comment section: "Just wanted to update ... She had the baby on Friday and named her AINSLEY KATE!!!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Blended Families

Liza writes:
I'm due August 18th with boy/girl twins & the husband and I are totally clueless on what to name them!

We're a blended family, both of us having children from previous relationships (he brought 3 children into our marriage while I brought 2) but when we married I chose to keep my last name at the request of my daughters (they didn't want Mommy to have a different last name than they have), & so for the twins (who are our only children together) we've decided to go the hyphenated last name route, even though our surnames are totally different (mine is Celtic & his is Spanish). So their last name will be Aberdeen-Flores.

Adding to the difficulty of finding names that sound good with our two last names is trying to decide on what style of name to go with. My 2 girls have very Celtic names, Brietta Wynne & Keelin Gilda. My husbands children all have very Spanish names. The boys are Alonzo Turi & Donzel Berto and the girl is Carlita Abril. So do we go Celtic for the twins? Spanish? One of each? One style for first names and the other for middle? None of the above? We're so confused!

Also, just to make things even harder, we want the twins names to sound good/go together. I'm not talking rhyming/matchy names or anything, but names of a similar style at least. Please help!

Just to give you an idea of our taste here is our (rather long) list of names that we like but can't decide on. Ideas/input/new suggestions much appreciated!

Names we've considered so far for the girl(a mix of Celtic and Spanish):

For the boy(another mix):

Names that are neither Celtic or Spanish for the girl:

And for the boy:

Any input as to what everyone thinks sounds best as twin names/with the last name(s) and what combinations sound best for first & middle names would be great, as would any other name suggestions y'all can think up for us!

Thanks again (& sorry this was so long)!

Blended families already include naming compromises, as you've found with the surname situation: roughly 1/3rd of your children will have one surname, roughly 1/3rd a different surname, and roughly 1/3rd yet another surname. I think it is okay to do the same with their first names.

Your husband's children's names are the result of adding his tastes to their mother's tastes. Your daughters' names are the result of adding your tastes to their father's tastes. If you and your husband now add your tastes to his, in the same way you did when naming the other children, I think you'll end up with names that gently coordinate with the other children's names without causing you to lose your minds looking for the names that will tie everyone together.

A useful exercise in this situation would be starting fresh and thinking, "If we DIDN'T have any children already, what names would we consider for the twins?"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Name Updates!

Update on Baby Boy ___ Earl Van Brimmer!
Update on Baby Boy McScottish!

Middle Name Challenge: Baby Girl Jane ___ Miller

Traci writes:
We're due with baby number four - our first girl! - on August 7th. Her brothers are Calvin David, Henry Butler, and Charles Fenn. (Cal's middle name is his Dad's first, the other two have family names that we loved.) Her first name is Jane. We've loved it forever and the boys already refer to her as Baby Jane or Janie. However, we cannot come up with a middle name!

My husband is absolutely adamant that if we are going to call her Jane, that will be her FIRST given name - none of this naming her something else and just calling her Jane. I had hoped to use a family name for her middle name like we did for the boys, but the rhythm is all wrong as a middle for Jane (not to mention the fact that our female family names are not entirely beautiful).

Everything else that comes up as a pair for Jane is a first name, too - Mary Jane, Sarah Jane, Eliza Jane, etc. - since Jane has historically been a middle name. We're also getting a little guff from family and friends about "Plain" Jane, and a few people have even commented that girls don't really need middle names since their maiden name becomes their middle once they're married anyway. (I'd love to know people's thoughts on that!)

Anyway - I'd like a middle name that's maybe a little fanciful or flowery, that has a good rhythm after Jane and before our surname Miller, and/or maybe has a beautiful meaning since it won't be a family name. The only one that I've really loved so far is Lisette, so I'd like more ideas to toss around. Elizabeth is out because it's in reserve for another girl (if and when:)). Also - we've been living in Ukraine for a year and will be for the first year of her life, and she will be born in London, so maybe something with a Russian / Slavic or British flavor would work?


I am usually of the mind that there are different strokes for different folks, ESPECIALLY with baby names, and so I am trying VERY HARD to allow into my universe the "girls don't need a middle name" idea people are attempting to sell you. The option of taking the maiden name as a middle name after marriage is by no means universal---and in fact, neither is the option of taking a married name at all. Besides, around here we LIKE names, so we WANT to choose a middle name, and in fact sometimes TWO. So I suggest we dismiss this whole theory as silly and turn our minds to the more interesting task of choosing a middle name (or maybe two!) for Jane.

Here are a few possibilities (I left out options that would give monograms of JAM or JIM):

Jane Beatrice Miller
Jane Belinda Miller
Jane Callista Miller
Jane Carissa Miller
Jane Cecelia Miller
Jane Celeste Miller
Jane Cordelia Miller
Jane Corinne Miller
Jane Evangeline Miller
Jane Felicity Miller
Jane Linden Miller
Jane Mirabel Miller
Jane Miranda Miller
Jane Meredith Miller
Jane Penelope Miller
Jane Rosabel Miller
Jane Verity Miller
Jane Veronica Miller
Jane Victoria Miller
Jane Wilhelmina Miller

I especially like the meaning of Felicity, which is luck and happiness. Wilhelmina is the feminine form of the German form of William, if you follow that, and William means "resolute protection," which I like too. Evangeline means bearer of good news. Meredith means great ruler, and Carissa means grace. Belinda and Callista mean beautiful, and Beatrice means happy, and Cordelia means heart (or daughter of the sea, depending on whether you want it to be Latin or Celtic). Verity means truth, of course. Veronica means true image, and Victoria means, creatively, "victory." Mirabel means miraculous beautiful one, and Miranda means marvelous. Penelope means weaver---or, er, duck. Celeste means heavenly. (I got all the meanings from The Baby Name Bible, which is one of those total overkill name books that obviously had to strain super hard to come up with enough names to meet their "50,000+ baby names!" boast, and in fact would have been better off stopping around 20,000, but on the other hand it's sometimes handy to have such a book.)

Do you have any pretty surnames in your family tree? Those seem like they'd be nice with Jane, too.

Name update! Traci writes:
After all of our angst, we ended up naming her Jane Elizabeth - she was born in London, so her 5-year-old brother kept insisting that she should be named after the Queen of England. That made us smile, so we went for it. The middle names that came in close behind were Lisette and Ophelia. Both of which I still love. Maybe if I can talk us into one more baby. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Baby Girl While

Robin writes:
I am due with our first baby (a girl) in early August and my husband and I have been having a hard time finding a name. We're looking for something that is relatively uncommon but not weird or something that she will always have to spell for people. Our last name sounds like "while." We've come up with a long list of names but some of them seem too common, some names one or the other of us is not thrilled about, and a couple of others are closer to what we are looking for but are not quite right:

Too common: Grace, Sophie, Madeline

Only one of us likes: Sylvia, Olivia, Rachel, Annabelle, Cleo, Ella, Eloise, Josie, Lila, Mila, Sonia, Romy

Closer but not quite right: Macy (thanks, Baby Name Wizard book!), Sabrina, Miranda

We also like Natalie and Serena but they have been claimed by our siblings already.

So as you can see, we are all over the place! Please help!

The names Grace and Macy make me think of these possibilities:


The name Natalie makes me think of these possibilities


The name Miranda makes me think of these possibilities:


Name update! Robin writes:
Apologies about the very late baby name update for Baby Girl While (from August 2009) - have not been back to this site for a long time and then saw the post re One parent loves the name, the other is fine with it. That was pretty much our situation - I loved the name Sonia - it really clicked for me - but my husband was very meh about it. Going into the hospital we were thinking Sydney, because it was the only name we were both OK with, but neither of us loved it. But then I had a long, very difficult labor and delivery, and after the baby was born my husband turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, "you can pick the name!" I took a day or so to decide and ultimately did go with Sonia after assurances from him that he didn't hate it. As compromise, we used his grandmother's name, which I don't love, as her middle name.

Maybe it was a postpartum thing, but in the weeks afterwards, she just didn't seem like a "Sonia" and I had difficulty calling her that, and even thought about trying to change her name to Sydney. I think a big part of it was that I felt badly that my husband had not been excited about the name. Even now she just doesn't quite seem to fit her name, and I was surprised that a lot of people mispronounce it ("Sawn-ya"), and although we didn't want a super common name I feel badly that many people, especially little kids, seem very unfamiliar with it.

So, in summary - I wouldn't completely discount one of the parents not being thrilled about the name. It depends on the situation (my husband did care, a lot, about the name, although he is fine with it now), but presumably you married the person you did because you value their opinions, so it's probably a good idea to listen to them!