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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl, Sibling to Holiday Phoenix

Jenna writes:
We are adopting a baby, but we don’t have a due date… yet. It could be anywhere from next week to February. Not so helpful, huh?
Our last name rhymes with “fire”.
We have a daughter whose name is ‘Holiday Phoenix’ (most people call her ‘Holly’, but she is wildly proud of all her name). To us, it is the perfect girl name… unusual, happy, and has a nature-y (and tame) nickname.
For boys, we like ‘Daryle’, ‘Gus’, ‘Samuel’ (the only case of an open adoption in the Bible except for Moses, and ‘Moses’ isn’t an option), and ‘Oscar’ (not a possibility, though, with the whole ‘Fire’ aspect). For the most part, my husband likes men’s names that don’t have nicknames (‘Sam’ is the obvious exception). The only two boy middle names we’ll consider are ‘Holmes’ (family name) and ‘Dean’ (family name). And we aren’t fans of boy names that begin with the letter ‘B’. (We don’t want ‘Dean’ for a first name because we’ve recently known it as a girl’s name).
For girls, we like the name ‘Serenity’ (‘Wren’ for a nickname). We’ve recently discarded ‘Liberty’ (‘Libby’ for short) because we found out that there’s already one at our daughter’s school—and my father-in-law had a very difficult time with a Libby. A good friend just had a baby girl named ‘Story’ (which we both adore… especially with the nickname ‘Rhee’). Middle names for a girl are ‘Valentine’ and ‘June’ (both have a sweet tale behind them). For a long time, ‘Valentine’ was a nice first name choice (with ‘Valley’ for a short name), but ‘Val’ is unappealing to us. We’re all about the full name/nickname combo with a girl.
Thank you SO MUCH for your help.

If it doesn't have to be a BIBLICAL adoption (and if it does, you could add Jesus to that list), I found a list of famous adoptions. The trouble is that most of the names are either common names you'll likely have already considered (David or Thomas for Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's and of an adoption foundation; Alexander for Alexander the Great; Charles for Charles Dickins; Steven for Steve Jobs; James for James Michner; John for John Audubon) or quite unusual (Michner for James Michner; Audubon for John Audubon)---and it's a lonnnnng list. I think you'd just have to look through it and see if anything caught your eye.

If you like Oscar but want to avoid hot dog advertising jingles, I wonder if you'd like the name Otto? It's unusual, it's a palindrome, it's nicknameless. Unless your surname sounds like Buyer, in which case I wonder if Otto Buyer sounds like someone shopping for a car.

If you like Gus and Sam, I wonder if you'd like Wade? Cal? Beck? Mack?

All right, enough talk about boy names, let's tackle the girl name. Ideally we need a noun name with a mainstream nickname.

A name I wouldn't have expected to like but DO like is Epiphany. I first-and-only encountered it in a book by Haven Kimmel called The Solace of Leaving Early. By the end of the book I was thinking, "You know, actually that is a BEAUTIFUL name." Its meaning is excellent: a sudden insight or enlightenment, with connotations of it being a positive experience. It has a name-like sound, similar to names such as Stephanie. The "mainstream nickname" part is where we get stuck. Eppie? Pip?

Gossamer would be a pretty name, but again there's a nickname problem. Gussie? Sammie?

Poetry, but for a nickname? Ack. Stuck. Poe?

Fidelity: so name-like, but no good nickname! Fifi? Della?

Memory, same problem. Nightingale, same problem. Finally, same problem. Morning, same problem.

A less-used month name such as January, September, or December would be nice, but yet again: no good nicknames.

My 5-year-old Elizabeth says the best girl name in the whole world is Windiest. Winnie would be a cute nickname.

Allegro (a musical term that means to play it all perky and lively), with the nickname Ally.

Maybe Serendipity, with the nickname Sera/Sara?

Minuet (Minnie).

Aviary (Ava).

Celestial (Celeste).

Ability (Abby).

Magnolia (Maggie).

Calico (Callie).

Serenade (Sera).

The more I look for names, the more I feel the perfection of the name Holiday. How did you find it? Do the same thing again, because you have a knack!

Here are my top choices:
  • Epiphany June or Epiphany Valentine, with the nickname Pip or Pippi
  • Minuet Valentine, with the nickname Minnie
  • Serenade Valentine, with the nickname Sera

Name update 08-31-2010! Jenna writes:
Our son was born last week! His whole adoption story happened in the month of August, so we were this close to naming him August and just calling him Gus (thanks to the poster who suggested it!). But when we realized that August was a ‘dual gender’ name, we decided to cut to the chase and go with the nickname as his official name. So Gus Holmes “Fire” is the newest addition to our family. Thanks, Swistle!


Lise said...

One of the prettiest girls' names I've ever heard was Cadence Grace, Cady for short.

Abby@AppMtn said...

For a girl, how about Fable Valentine? Or Clarity Valentine? Serenity is nice, too - though I also like Seren, a Welsh name meaning star.

And I do like Otto.

Fran said...

Felicity is nice with nn possiblities of Lissy or Filly.
Felicity Jane sound sbetter to my ear than Felicity Valentine

sarah said...

I knew a girl named Weatherly. She didn't like it and went by the nn Lee Ann (her middle name was Ann). I always thought Weatherly was a cool name, and Lee is a neat mainstream nickname. Along the same lines, you could use Waverly, or any other -ly word you like.

Anonymous said...

For a girl I love Story and Fable, and had also once considered Cadence.

I've always loved the name Sam for a boy.

Paula said...

No suggestions, but I laughed out loud at your Jesus remark!!

Anonymous said...

i knew i liked you, swistle. and then you go and mention one of my favorite books, the solace of leaving early. know i'm SURE we should be friends in real life. (and not in a stalkerish, internet freak way.)

Swistle said...

Anon- That book made me add kind of a lot of names to my Like list!

beyond said...

From you list I love Samuel and Wren. Other suggestions
for a boy: Forest, Lyndon, Storm, Wiley
for a girl: Fable and Felicity (already mentioned above), Gemma, Honoree, Joyce (or Joy), Prudence, Serena
Good luck; can't wait to hear good news!

Alison aka Baby B said...

My great-grandmother's middle name was Azalea, but instead of saying it "Uh-zale-e-uh" like the flower, it was "Az-uh-lee."

I read the book The Host and one of the main characters name is Wanderer, nn Wanda. Wanderer is quite pretty, I don't like Wanda (association with someone). You could use Wendy too.

Other names:
Verity. She could go be Vera or Vee.
Sonnet. I think Sonny or Nettie would be cute nns.

Babies on the brain. said...

I knew a girl named Remembrance nn Mem, which could also work for Memory. Just a thought.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Ooh, I like Verity, Cadence (I know a Cadence nn Cady in real life) and Allegra (not Allegro (masculine ending)).

For a boy, how about Auburn, August (nn Gus, although maybe your hubby will veto that), Van, Colby, or Dash?

Jenn said...

Since you like June already what about
Juniper, nn June?
Willow, nn Willa
Amaryllis, nn Amy or even Rylie?
Amity, nn Amy
Bliss (can't think of a nn)
Truth or True

Megan said...

Holiday is a great name!

I love the suggestion of Juniper, nn June. How about Sunshine, nn Sunny?

stellafide said...

Holden Dean.
Beckett Holmes. (nn Beck)

Haven Valentine.
Juniper Valentine. (nn June)
Lyric June or Lyric Valentine.
Willow Valentine or Willow June.
You have neat taste! May your adoption be blessed!

Jess said...

Oooh, what an interesting post. I wish you the best. I hear that adoption is a heart-wrenching process, but it will be worth it once you hold your little bundle of joy in your arms, I'm sure.

((Nevaeh)) - Heaven spelled backwards. Nev as a nickname.

((Blythe)) - happy, carefree. It doesn't lend itself easily to a nn, tho.

((Sojourner)) or ((Sojourn)) - Gives the feeling of traveling and anticipation, just like Holiday.

Of your list, I love Serenity with Wren as a nn. Of Swistle's list, I love Epiphany June.

For a boy, I understand your hesitation of using Moses. I like the name ((Niles)) or ((Nile)). This suggests the story of Moses without seeming to shout "We adopted!" or "We're super religous!" Plus it's a name that's nickname proof.

Good luck!

M.Amanda said...

I like Calico. It made me think of a similar name: Caliope. Not sure if I spelled that correctly, but the sound of it is just lovely and fun.

Farrell said...

Boys: I love Niles. Also, If I were to ever have a boy, I would name him Samuel, so obviously I love that choice!

Girl: Sapphire (nn Sapphie).
Also, nickname for January: Jani.
I also like commenter stellafide on "((Sojourner)) or ((Sojourn)) - Gives the feeling of traveling and anticipation, just like Holiday. "

and I also like swistle's suggestions:
Calico (Callie).

Serenade (Sera).

I used to love the name Celeste but everybody said it sounded like a stripper name.

BEST of luck in your adoption!

Erin said...

Fun! For girls I like (and second from above)

Juniper (nn Junie)
Cadence (nn Cady)
Allegra (nn Ally)
Haven (but I can't think of a nn)
January (nn Jana? love this after I heard of January Jones)
Magnolia (nn Maggie)
Calico (nn Callie)

and of my own:
Waverly (no good nn for these two)
Charity (nn Cherry?)
Trinity (nn Trina?)
Honor (Nora)
Genesis (Gen, Genna)
Infinity (IDK, but cool)
Constance (Conny)
Charisma (Chari)

Music names
Elegy (Ellie)
Harmony (no nickname...
Melody (nn Mel)
Sonata/Sonatina (nn Tina)
Viola (just V? Vi?)
Lyric (Lyra?)

But I really like the above posters suggestions of Juniper and Cadence the most, and I love month names too. My favorite would be January or November, nn Nova.

And geez, do I even have room for boys?
And I like Swistle's suggetion of Otto a lot.

Carolyn said...

I like Corinthia, nn Cora, Cory
It makes me think of the biblical passage (Love is patient, love is kind)

Katie said...

Reed (or Reid) might be a great name for a boy -- it has a Moses/adoption reference without being TOO Moses-y. And? No nickname! Plus, it's both a noun and a verb (Read). Holiday and Reed? Holly and Reid? Works well.

And Remembrence, nn Mem? Love it! Also loved the name Miriam, nn Mem, (Moses's sister) but we had a boy, instead.

It sounds like you're having more fun naming your child-to-be than most people. Good luck on finding the perfect name and PLEASE keep up posted when little Mr. or Miss comes along.

Magic27 said...

My daughter (who's 8) has a friend called Calypso, which is cute, and she's known as Callie by most of her friends...
For a boy, there are lots of good boy names in the Bible - Adam, Simon, Isaac...

Christine said...

I don't know if it works with your last name but how about Journey for a girl? Otherwise I like the month names Swistle mentioned.

For a boy I like Samuel the best.

Good luck! As a person with plans to adopt as well when the time comes I wish you nothing but the best and all the happiness in the world.

Shawna said...

Short for Gossamer would be Sam and short for Serenade could also be Wren.

Anonymous said...

I bet the parents were inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany's. In the novel, the main character's name was Holiday Golightly, nn Holly Golightly :)

I like the idea of using another vibrant word and giving a traditional nickname. What about Charisma nn Charys/Carys?

PipersMom2009 said...

From your list, I like Serenity with the nn "Wren". I think Wren is a beautiful sounding name, as is Serenity! From your boy list, I like Samuel.

StephLove said...

From your boy list I like Samuel Dean and there's a nice meaning behind it, too. I like Swistle's idea of looking at other names of famous adoptees as well, though.

Serenity June is lovely. If you would consider a variant of Valentine then Valentina gives you the nn Tina.

Another idea, if you would like a tie-in with Holiday is to compile a list of names associated with specific holidays or seasons and then choose one based on the baby's birth or adoption date --April, May, June, Summer, Autumn, Joy or Noelle for Christmas, Valentine for Valentine's day,etc. You could do this for a boy, too. August --nn Gus-- Patrick for St. Patrick's day, etc.

Or since a phoenix is a mythical bird, a bird name like Robin or Phoebe might be a good middle. Or back to boys, a Griffin is a mythical creature and a cool name, too. Griffin Dean is very nice.

Anonymous said...

I like Mimi as a nn for Memory, and Janie (jay-nee) for January.

Verity could be Vivi...


Anonymous said...

Perserverace, nickname Vera.

K said...


Epiphany Jane
Calico Valentine.

Otto Holmes.

Anonymous said...

my favorites for girls for you are: seriphena, lyric, isla, penelope, everleigh, harper, henley, piper, willow, kanah, veda, caronlina, colee, and averleigh.
for boys: otto, thor, sadler, teague, pax, miles, canaan, desmond, emmett, wyatt, forrest, gardner, jaxon.

Hawkeyegirl said...

I love Serenity (nn Wren is great!), Fable (nn Fay or Bell), Lyric (no good nn I can think of, but it's cute) and September (nn Ember, Berry, Emmie).

For a boy, I love Quest, Stone, Gray, Fox, Hawk, River and Forrest.

Holiday is just beautiful, by the way!

Frazzled Mom said...

As a nickname for Epiphany, perhaps Effie would work. I also like Pip or Pippa.

Megz said...

I think for a boys name, a surname/occupation name could work for you:

Hunter, Archer, Taylor, Millar, Smith, Farrier, etc

Or if you want a nature-y theme there's:

Rock, Clay, Hawk, Wolf

Personally I like either Hunter or Wolf.

For girls name, to me the perfect match for Holiday would be Summer with no nickname needed. Holly and Summer.
Summer June or Summer Valentine could either be a bit strange or a bit cool depending on your point of view.

The other name I think could be great is Cherish, nn Cherry. Holly and Cherry. Cherry June.

Good luck. What an interesting discussion. Love to hear how this one turns out.

Jenna said...

All of your suggestions are wonderful! We are slightly overwhelmed by the amount of names we never considered. We will certainly write back with the final name once our little one arrives. You all are so generous with your time and effort; thank you!
Ah, yes... and 'Holiday' got her name from a Jimmy Buffet song that became the mantra for our spontaneous family get-aways. She loves to sing it with us now when we wisk away for the day.

Anonymous said...

Great taste! :) I see someone already suggested Journey, who is one of my students, and I have another noun-name student (I mix them up when sleepy!): Trinity. Her nn is Trin, and it's sweet and pretty at once.
Best to your growing family!!!

Sabrina said...

I don't have much to add--there have been some really great suggestions.

But it immediately occurred to me that a possible nn for Epiphany (so pretty! and has a familiar name sound to it, like Swistle pointed out, "Stephanie", or as I hear, "Tiffany".

Anyhow: Epiphany nn Fanny.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

A nickname for Sojourner could be Jo-Jo. Holly and Jo-Jo.

Kelsey-Morgan said...

I personally like Ellary Valentine.