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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Castle, Sibling to Conrad and Nolan

Lindsay writes:
We could use some help. Our due date is February 7th but I will most likely be induced up to two weeks before that date. Our last name sounds like Castle. I have two sons, Conrad and Nolan. We are not finding out the baby's sex so we'll need names for both a boy and a girl. My husband and I have different tastes for names, and it's been really hard coming up with something we both like.
For boys he likes old, common names and the one,s he likes are usually associated within his family somewhere. Examples: Jack (his grandpa), Henry (another grandpa) and Max (great grandpa!). My favorite name by a long shot this time around is Beckett. Hubby thinks it doesn't sound like a 'real' name. I thought it was perfect because his give name is 'Buck' and since I refuse to do a junior Beckett has three of the same letters. Anway, some others on my list are Atticus, Arthur, Magnus, Mathias, Abel and Hendrik. I also considered naming him Hendrik and having Henry as the nn. The middle name will be after my husband's father who has passed away, David.

As for girls I like Harper, Hazel, Briar, Everly, Verity and Vanora. I want to honor one or two people with her middle name. My dear friend that passed, Sheryl, for sure. And possibly hubby's mother Janis. I'd like to go with either Sheryl or a combination of the two. I was thinking Sheris. I'm concerned about Hazel Castle with the same sound at the end of each name. And I don't want anything that's up and coming with popularity so that might cut out Harper. (Nolan became waaay more popular than I ever thought it would.) My husband has only suggested one girl name that really surprised me-Basil. We were cooking and he said it sounds like a nice name. I think he's more open to unusual girl names.

I'm on the same boat with the idea that thinking since baby is getting his last name I should get a strong say in baby's name. Especially with the boy name since the mn is after his dad too. I would highly appreciate your expertise.


I wrote to you a few months back in need of help for baby names. Since then, we have evolved a bit and I wanted to update you.

For a boy, we will take Hendrik, Beckett and Arthur to the hospital with us and decide from there. We are both satisfied with all three of these options if we have a little boy, and the middle name will either be David or Henry.

Our main problem is with girls' names. We've finally come up with a middle name, thank goodness. My options for people to honor are named Sheryl, Mary Lou and Janis, so I came up with Meryl Jane. I've decided that two middle names is okay with me and if we have another girl in the future I will do the same for her.

For first names my favorite was Harper...but I took if off the list due to popularity rising (esp. in our state). I prefer uncommon names, and I learned with Nolan's name how fast some can rise. He's six years old and it wasn't very common then...but there are quite a few around now. I hardly ever hear Conrad's name, which is something I love about his name.

On our narrowed down/reinvented list consists of:

My husband and I like all five of these names, but his favorite is Albany while mine is Juniper. I still have tiny reservations with each of these names though. Does Albany Castle sound too much like a place? Can you see Juniper on a grown woman? Is Penelope getting too popular? Will people be able to say/spell Hermione? And is Matilda going to be associated with the movie/Heath Ledger's daughter constantly?

I'd love your opinion on these and maybe some new suggestions that fit our style. I don't like repeating initials so C and N names are out. Also, I like there to be a natural nickname that goes with name that doesn't fall into the popular category....for example, we would call Matilda "Tillie" instead of "Mattie" or "Maddie". Someone had suggested Felicity for us but the only nickname I can come up with is Fliss which we wouldn't be able to use (last name of an ex) and I don't like Lissy. I also think I prefer the three syllable names over the four syllable names which might be making me a little more hesitant about Penelope.

I look forward to reading your suggestions!

I see that you're getting into February and I'm getting so excited to see what you have to say.

Just thought I'd send over a few more names that we've been considering though DH is not overly excited about them....yet. It usually takes a couple weeks of repeatedly hearing a name before it sounds 'normal' to him.

Oh and I thought I had the middle name narrowed down to Meryl Jane but have since changed my mind...the middle names will now be Meryl Lane...not a huge difference but something to note.

Added to our girls list are:

I think the front runners are Matilda, Albany and Winslet for me....Albany for DH.
I hope this is not too confusing and you can seem this together with my last emails :)

Thanks Again!

I think with a surname that sounds like Castle, I would eliminate all place names and surnames: Albany Castle, Galway Castle, Winslet Castle all sound exactly like tourist attractions to me. I would in fact suggest going as far as you're willing to go on the side of established, easily-recognizable-as-names names: a name like Margaret Castle clues us that we may be looking at a person's name in a way Verbena Castle does not.

From your list my favorite candidates are Verity, Juniper, Matilda, and Penelope. Right now it's difficult to picture Juniper on a grown woman, but that's only because it's a new name this generation: names like Madison and Caden are difficult to picture on grown-ups, too, but when this generation of kids grows up those'll be perfectly ordinary mom and dad names.

The Harry Potter books/movies have dramatically improved the general population's ability to spell and pronounce the name Hermione---but I think Hermione is far more associated with Harry Potter than Matilda is with the movie or with Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger's daughter. I think the same of Winslet: the association with Kate Winslet is the ONLY association most of us have with that name, unlike the name Matilda which has a variety of associations.

I recommend the Social Security baby names site for monitoring popularity, since that aspect is important to you. The names we've used for our children "catch our ears" the way other names don't---so using a name can make it seem as if the name is suddenly EVERYWHERE, when it didn't seem that way before. The name Nolan is a perfect example: it's made only a slow and small increase in popularity (#175 in 2003; #122 in 2009), but it feels to you as if it's skyrocketed. Looking at the actual rate of popularity increase (nationally and by state) can be reassuring ("Oh, I'm just noticing it more because it's on our list") or can give you a heads up ("Holy cow, apparently everyone else likes Penelope too!!").

And indeed, everyone else does like Penelope, so I'm taking that off my finalist list of four: I think the increasing popularity will bother you. That leaves Verity, Juniper, and Matilda, and I think Matilda is the most recognizable as a name, so that makes it my first choice. Matilda Meryl Lane Castle. I would also vote for returning to Jane instead of Lane, to cut down on the noun problem.

I'm trying to make a list of other candidates to consider, but here's the problem I'm running into: the names I think would go well with your style (names like Avalon, Azalea, Clover, Emerald, Fable, Harlowe, Langston, Magnolia, Padgett, Paisley, Story, Tilden, Winslow, Yeardley) are names I don't want to pair with Castle. And so then I'm inclined to look for more "established-name-y names" like Matilda, but I'm not sure those names (Adelaide, Alice, Eloise, Frances, Henrietta, Ramona) are ones you'd necessarily like. In short, I see the problem you're facing!

Maybe Lorelei? It's uncommon, yet recognizable as a name. It's nice with Castle. It's nice with Conrad and Nolan. Lorelei Meryl Lane Castle.

Or Imogen: Imogen Meryl Lane Castle; Conrad, Nolan, and Imogen.

Name update! Lindsay writes:
Baby Castle has arrived! And she's a GIRL!

She was born on Wednesday at 3:40 a.m. during our massive snowstorm leaving no way to make it to the hospital on time. She was delivered by her daddy and grandma in our bathroom!

When it came down to it, our mutual favorites ended up being Albany and Juniper. Since we decided to definitely use Jane in the middle (in honor of the grandma that helped bring her into this world!) we decided on Juniper because we liked the alliteration and the nicknames to boot. Loryl after my mom and dear friend. Jane after my mother-in-law.
Thanks to everyone here who gave me feedback and helped me through the naming process! I appreciated everyone's comments.

Here is our sweet baby, Juniper Loryl Jane:


Saly said...

This is a tough one!! I really like Matilda for a girl in your case though, and Swistle's suggestion of Imogen is a good one too.

I wanted to point something out about Beckett though, which may not matter to you but would be a dealbreaker for me--the TV show Castle- Rick Castle's police detective partner is Kate Beckett. You might hear Castle and Beckett references if you go that way.

Best of luck with your new baby!!!!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I really like Matilda and also Swistle's suggestion of Ramona! Very cute. What about using Meryl as the first name? It's unusual but very pretty.

Christine said...

My favorite of your names is Matilda, but find it a little off with Meryl Lane (or Jane, if you switch back). Ramona however? swoon!

I agree that you probably want something that is recognizable as a Name rather than a place/thing/surname or color with a last name that sounds like Castle.

Some suggestions:
and one that probably isn't your style, but hey who knows:

I also like the suggestion of just going with Meryl Lane. I think in fact it just might be perfect!

Good luck!

The Mrs. said...

Can't tell you how wonderful the name 'Verbena Meryl Lane Castle' sounds! So excellent!

Her nickname could be 'Bea'. Bea Castle... darling!

'Gweneria Meryl Lane Castle'... Gwen Castle... love that, too!

You've got good stuff going here.

I was all set to stump for 'Magnus', but I see in your updates that it didn't make the cut. Doesn't 'Magnus David Castle' radiate total masculinity? (Conrad, Nolan, & Magnus). I hope he's an 'Arthur' if he's not a 'Magnus'.

I am really digging your taste in names!

All the best to you five! Can't wait to hear the little one's moniker!

beyond said...

I think that Swistle is right on the money, regarding place names and surnames.
I love Mathilda for you! Conrad, Nolan and Mathilda, a very good fit. I also like Hermione very much. (And Ottilie, so unique and still very recognizable.) Or Meryl in the first name slot?!?
I also suggest: Calliope, Irena, Lenora.
Good luck!

Jenn said...

I agree with going with Meryl Jane as the first name!
I like Matilda but I don't think it goes with Meryl Jane for the middle name. Some other ideas that are old fashioned/unusual yet established names:

Wilhelmina (though I'd spell it more phonetically Willamina) - nicknames like Willa or Mina, or even Billie


Lindsay said...

Hi Ladies, and thank you all for your suggestions so far! Our name is hard, isn't it. I love nature/surnames and can't use them. I'm really leaning towards Matilda...DH is still leaning towards Albany. Lorelei is def. our style but my mom is Lori and I think it's too close. The change from Jane to Lane was so that her initial is included in the name. I considered Meryl as the first name but don't like the repeating sounds at the ends of Meryl and Castle.
Lenora: is name this a tongue twister with Nolan?
Imogen: like! Nickname Immy? Don't want Gen or Jen.
What drew me to Gweneira was the meaning...since it's a winter baby and there will most likely be snow on the ground.
Ramona is lacking for me for some reason. I think it's the moan sound I don't like.
Verbena: 'naturey' and still uncommon...and one vote for yes....who else thinks we could pull it off? Bea is good, Vera or even Beni could work too.
Dorothy: Dorothy Castle. Makes me think of Wizard of Oz :P
Magnus: it's still you never know!
Beckett: I amazingly have not ever seen this show but have had one other person mention this. I figure the show will come and go...and from what I gather it wouldn't be a negative association so I'm ok since I love the name.

Swistle: out of the established names I like Eloise the best. Just have a fear of her becoming another Elle, Ella, Ellie. Same goes for Adelaide=Addy and with so many Addisons I just can't do it. Matilda would have the same issue but Tilly or Tildy solves that problem fairly easily. And of course I love the names that don't pair well with Castle! Haha :)

Patricia said...

I think Matilda is darling and like Swistle's suggestion of going back to Jane as part of her middle name:

Matilda Meryl Jane Castle

Very fine name!

(And if you want a nn for her, Tilda and/or Tilly are very cute -- and very British.)

Patricia said...

Lindsay, I noticed your post above after writing mine. I'm wondering if you're trying to include too many people in your daughter's middle name(s). SHE may not be able to recall who she's named after! And it may dilute the honor for those included in the two names -- in some way or another but not exactly anyone's name -- to be one of several people those names represent. (I don't know if I could consider a middle name after me/honoring me if just my first initial were included). I'm trying to keep straight who you want to honor:
Your first letter --
Sheryl, your friend who has passed away and possibly Janis, your husband's mother;
Second letter --
Mary Lou added; mn - Meryl (Sheryl, Mary Lou) Jane (Janis)
Third letter and above -- Meryl Lane, adding the L for Lori, your mom. Is Janis, you MIL, no longer included in the mn?

Why not Matilda Sheryl or Matilda Meryl, and name the baby after your dear friend or your dear friend Sheryl and Mary Lou. (BTW, Meryl Streep's given name is Mary Louise.) But if you use two middle names, Jane and Lane really are worlds apart -- not just one letter difference: Jane, classic girl's name; Lane, surname often used as a boy's first name. Matilda Jane is darling on it's own -- maybe
Matilda Jane Sheryl (or Meryl) Castle?

I think Matilda is a super choice for your daughter.

Brooke said...

Swistle, I really needed the reassurance you provided for the name Nolan. If we had found out we were having a boy earlier this week, I would have REALLY needed it. Alas, we're having a girl. Our girl pick has made a similar slow climb and I feel better about it now : )

StephLove said...

I like Arthur best from the boy list and Penelope, Matilda and Hermione from the final girl list.

Anonymous said...

I want to second putting Magnus back on the boy's list. Nolan, Conrad, and Magnus are an AWESOME sib set... Perfect even. I totally think Gus is a great NN for Magnus, and it's super cute.

For a girl, I can't help but llike Juniper the best. You have really fun taste in names and I love a lot of the suggestions...But I keep comming back to Juniper. Plus June is SUCH a cute NN. June Castle, Juniper Merly J/Lane Castle. I also LOVE Magnolia. It is my favorite guilty pleasure name, along with Paloma. My second choice out of your choices is Verbena. Once again, that Bea Castle would just be too cute.

Can't wait to hear what you have/decide1

Anonymous said...

I love Arthur, I think it goes so well with Nolan and Conrad. All names sound real, classic, masculine.

Of your girls' list my favorites are Penelope and Matilda. They have the same timeless feel as your boys' names. They also sound really nice with your last name.

What about Gwyneth instead of Gweneira? It has a similar meaning but is a bit more common, without being trendy.

Some other names you may like:

Juliet Meryl Lane
Vivienne Meryl Lane
Ramona Meryl Lane
Beatrice Meryl Lane - Bea, Bee, Trixie
Philippa Meryl Lane
Tallulah Meryl Lane
Verena Meryl Lane
Veriane Meryl Lane

Carolyn said...

What about mixing up the letters in Meryl and calling her Merly? I would suggest Merlyn as the full name, but that brings to mind the King Arthur legends and probably wouldn't work with the surname Castle.

I love Imogen, nn Immy. Familiar yet distinctive. What about Aurora nn Rory? or instead of Verbena, how about Vera?

Tracy H. said...

I suggested this name on a previous post, and I think the girls name Laken would work for you too. Otherwise I like Matilda.

Lindsay said...

I do like Aurora but have a friend that named her little guy Nolan, then went on to have a little girl named Aurora! And Merly is this old guy that has a miniature 'zoo' in our town, haha :)

Tracy-Laken is nms....and I don't want another name that ends in N.

Patricia-you are making me think of this middle name situation. I don't like Meryl and Castle next to eachother so I'll see what I come up with. I did have a thought that if we named her Juniper that would 'satisfy' honoring MIL and I could pick something else for the third name slot to honor Lori. I see what you mean though about honoring too many people. Then I have to ask myself how to decide...especially without hurting anyone's feelings :-O

I love the name Magnolia but it doesn't work for us-we call Nolan Noli sometimes and they sound too similar in my opinion.

Janelle said...

Lorelei Meryl Jane Castle is beautiful and gets my vote because it lets you honor all your friends and relatives. I think Lorelei for a mom Lori is a nice tribute but not so close that it gets confusing.

Otherwise, I love Matilda!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Lorelei is a cliff along the Rhine in Germany with castles all around. If you're not planning on travelling to Germany then probably not a big deal, just thought I'd mention it.

Arthur Castle brings to mind visions of King Arthur.

Of your boy names I like Beckett.
Would hubby like Bennett better, nn Ben?
Or Huck (also shares three letters with his name and is(?) a nn for Henry)?

I agree the middle name honours for a girl are confusing. Can you just name her Sheryl after your friend and leave it at that. I'm sure the grandmothers would understand and there would be no jealousy about one grandmother being honoured and the other one not.

Of your girl names I like Matilda best. Matilda Sheryl Castle.

If you're looking for more suggestions then I also like Rosemary for you as you like naturey names. Rosemary Castle.

Good luck

leah said...

Congratulations on your lovely baby and your unexpected homebirth!

Patricia said...

Oh my, what a story of your daughter's birth! Congratulations on the arrival of your lovely daughter -- and on finding a way to include the names of three very special women in your lives in her name.

Mere Mere said...

What a well-named group of children! I love all of your children's names. Congratulations on Juniper (and your fabulous naming taste)! Her entire name hits just the right note.

Jodi said...

Yay! How exciting that another little Juniper has entered the world! Our youngest (who will be two very soon) is Juniper Lucy and we love it even more now than when we chose it. Your little Juniper is just gorgeous. Love those serious eyes!