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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baby Twin Girls Bow-Lee-Ew

Amy writes:
I am pregnant with fraternal twin girls that are due in late February, although they might come earlier as apparently twins can do all kinds of unexpected things. Our last name is phonetically pronounced Bow-Lee-Ew and its background is French although neither of us speaks French.

My husband and I initially thought that naming twins would be easier because we get two kicks at the can so to speak. However, it has turned out to be much more difficult than we anticipated – at least for girls. Early on in the pregnancy, we mutually agreed with no tears, anger or resentment that if they were boys, the twins would be named Thomas and Grant. We love both names equally and would have had a difficult time picking one over the other if we were to have ended up with one girl and one boy. We like that these names compliment one another while retaining their individuality.

As you can see, we ended up on the other end of the spectrum without even one name that we can mutually agree upon. To make matters worse, we really want to find names that we feel as strongly about as Grant and Thomas. We want to love the names equally and feel that they are “right”. We really don’t want to pick one name that we love and another that fits with the name that we love.

To make matters worse, it appears that we have different naming styles when it comes to girls. I consider my naming style to be classic (and unfortunately I seem to like the popular names). My husband on the other hand seems to like names that were popular in the 80s and early 90s. I have struggled hard to try to merge the two styles and the only consistency that I can come up with is that my husband seems to like shorter names ending in ah or eeee and there are some classic names that can work with this. Unfortunately, I really prefer formal names that can be shortened to cuter nicknames. It is very important to me that the girls have names that would suit them as professionals, although I would love it if they had cutesy variations that they could use as children.

This brings us to the twin considerations. I really dislike rhyming names for twins. I would prefer the names to be similar lengths/syllables although choosing two different three syllable names (as an example) is not necessary. If one girl’s name can be shortened into a nickname, I feel that it is fairly important that the second name have a nickname as well. I would prefer that the names not begin with the same first letter although this would be less applicable if the names are otherwise dissimilar.

Finally (and this seems to be the biggest stumbling block of all) is the popularity factor. We have agreed on names that we “could” use. However, the names are both very very very popular right now. I don’t so much care about the girls knowing other girls with the same names, but what I would like to avoid is the names “dating” the girls. For example, the name Jennifer dates to the 1970s to me and the name Linda to the 1950s. I guess what I am saying is that I would really prefer the names to be timeless and this is perhaps the most important criterion of all to me.

Based on the above, I am sure that you have come to the conclusion that I am anal-retentive and obsessive about this topic (both true) and for that I apologize.

With that disclaimer out of the way, the names that my husband and I agree would work are Emily and Sophie.

Other names on my list that my husband dislikes because he calls them “old lady names” are: Catherine (Cate), Josephine (Josie), Eleanor (Nora), Clara and Eliza. Other names that he has vetoed for celebrity connections or other unknown reasons include Ellery, Elodie, Calista (Callie), Isla, Rachel, Maya and Tessa. Oh, he also vetoed Violet as well which made me cry. Names that I love, but have vetoed myself due to the trendy factor are Charlotte and Abigail.

Names on his list that I have vetoed include Cleo, Justine, Maureen, Bailey, Kayla, Bree and Dawn. I do like his suggestion of Chloe, but dislike that it is commonly used as a dog’s name and is so popular where we live.

The name Norah is appealing to both of us although I do wish that it had a nickname variant. My husband is also coming around to my suggestion of Hillary although I don’t want him to choose it just to avoid talking about the issue any further. We are also both ok with Tabitha and Meredith. Sabrina is also on the mutual list, but I don’t love it and we do know of a baby who has the first name Sabrina and shares our last name.

Names we would be uncomfortable using due to friend/family/pet connections include Lily, Audrey, Mia, Rose and Olivia.


Some questions for you and your readers …

1. Are Emily and Sophie “trendy” popular names that will someday date the girls to the 2010s or are they classics that are just more popular for the time being?

2. Are there any alternatives to Emily and Sophie that are classic but less popular? (Note – I have a hunch that my husband dislikes names like Ellery and Elodie because he has never heard of them before and thus thinks they are weird.)

3. Do Norah and Hillary work together? Are there any other names that would work with Norah or Hillary? Do any of the other names that remain on our mutual lists work with Norah or Hillary?

4. Are there other names that are like Norah and Hillary (e.g. somewhat classic, but not overwhelmingly popular)?

Suggestions are truly welcome as I want these girls to come into the world with names that we feel as great about as Thomas and Grant. Thank you for reading what is probably the longest inquiry you have received thus far.

I agree: Jennifer sounds like the '70s, Linda sounds like the '50s. But here's where I disagree: I don't think you should try to avoid that. Certainly, avoid trendiness spikes if possible (though it's not always possible), but names naturally rise and fall over the generations and I think it's a doomed goal to find a name that doesn't. Even a name like Elizabeth, which I consider the epitome of a timeless name, has nicknames that follow generational trends: Betty and Bess and Betsy, Liz and Beth, Libby---and now Ellie, which I resist because it's not a traditional nickname for Elizabeth but which my friend Mairzy says I must try to come to terms with because people are doing it anyway.

(As an aside, the name Linda was in the Top 100 from 1936 until 1978, and in the Top 10 from 1940 to 1965. And Jennifer was in the Top 100 from 1956 until 2008, and in the Top 10 from 1966 until 1991. ((Source: Social Security Administration.)) So Linda is actually more like a 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s name, and Jennifer is more like a 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s name. I'm not sure how this is relevant, except to say that time-stamping is complicated.)

Furthermore, have you ever read women's fashion magazines? They're constantly assuring us that we can buy a "timeless" blazer or a "timeless" skirt or "timeless" accessories that will be WELL WORTH the high price tag because we'll be able to wear them ALWAYS. And then the next year, some feature that seemed timeless, when it was in style, reveals itself to be not in fact timeless at all. It is the same with names. Right now people are saying they like "timeless" names---but these are names that one generation ago would have been kah-razy out of place among the Nicoles, Melissas and Michelles, and two generations ago even more out of place among the Barbaras and Deborahs and Susans. Names generally feel timeless to us when they come back into style after we no longer remember the generation that had them; it's not that they never belonged to a generation. And when a name is in style, as when a certain cut of blazer is in style, it's hard to believe it ever wasn't, or won't be.

So! Does it work if I tell you I release you from that requirement you're trying to meet? We don't know how the current crop of baby names will be remembered, or how firmly they will be bound to this generation of babies. Of course we CAN cut out names that are likely to be trendy, as long as we keep the word "trendy" (names like Madison, Kaylee, Cadence) separate from the words "popular" or "common" (names like Elizabeth, Emily, Sarah, Anna). And Emily, in the Top 100 since 1973 and in the Top 10 for nearly two decades so far (source: Social Security Administration), might be even trickier to time-stamp than Jennifer and Linda.

Which leads me to my second point, which is that there is no shame in liking common names, and in fact "common names" are generally a mix of the trendy names you'd like to avoid and the timeless names you're looking for. I don't think you should force yourself away from names you love just because they are more popular than you'd prefer---and anyway, you're cutting out names because of commonness when some of them are LESS common than names you're keeping. So can I also release you from that---from the obligation to find a name that isn't common, just because uncommon seems like it must be "better" somehow? If I could make one rule for baby-namers, it would be "Don't arbitrarily limit your options." There is no moral or ethical reason not to use Emily and Sophie if you love those names, and making up reasons you can't use them ("People might be able to guess the generation in which she was born!" and "Too many other people think it's a great name!") is going to leave you panicky and without any name candidates.

But to clarify: are you saying you both love and agree on Emily and Sophie, and it's only the popularity/time-stamping that bothers you? Or are you saying those are "fine" with both of you, and more like fallback choices? If the former, my work is done after I convince you not to make arbitrary and unnecessary rules (I have duct tape if I need it). If the latter, we need to keep looking.

[This second email came in when I was at this point:] Amy writes:
I just wanted to give you an update as I am now home from work and going a bit out of my mind. It seems that my husband and I have decided that Emily and Sophie are too popular though they are still on the shortlist.

We are also leaning towards Norah being one of the names. So, we are in the position that I really didn't want to be in which is loving one name and finding another to go with it. I still like the name Hillary but my husband is meh on it. He feels it is a name for a snobby girl. Fresh Prince of Belair anyone? In my class the snobs were Kellys and Karens so I don't get the snob reference, but even though he will let me use the name (he says it doesn't matter to him so much), but I really do want him to love the name.

What I like about Hillary is that it is strong yet feminine and also uncommon but recognizable. So another name that meets those characteristics would be great.

We are still tossing around the names Meredith, Tabitha and a few others from our list, but I am still searching for the name for Baby B as I have pretty much decided that Baby A will be Norah if we go with that.

Thanks in advance.

Need I emphasize again what a mistake I think it is to throw out a name due to popularity alone? But if that's the task at hand, I will see what I can do. I will warn you that Norah, Nora, and Eleanor-called-Nora are all climbing fast in popularity: it's possible you're taking the same problem but just changing the time-stamp. (I feel so conflicted, because on one hand I want to keep telling you how little I think this matters, and on the other hand if it matters to you ANYWAY I want to help you find what YOU want!)

There is nothing wrong with first choosing one name we love, and then choosing a name that goes with it: that's exactly what people do when they have their children one at a time instead of in pairs.

I think Norah and Meredith are beautiful together, or Eleanor and Meredith (same number of syllables) called Nora and Merrie or Ellie and Merrie.

I also like Hillary and Meredith.

Nora and Eliza would also be a very nice pairing.

I like the similar rhythms of Eleanor and Imogen.

Another possibility is to name the girls Eleanor and Margaret (SWOON) and call them Nora and Greta, and they'd also have Ellie and Maggie if they preferred.

Or Eleanor and Josephine (same number of syllables), but call them Nora and Josie. (I am kind of ignoring your husband's "old lady names" declaration, since this only shows that he is out of touch with the baby names situation, and because he might like the names better if he likes the nicknames.)

If he likes Cleo and Chloe, it seems like Clara isn't far off---but Nora and Clara might be too similar. Sophie and Clara would be pretty.

For a moment I thought Norah and Ellen would be pretty, but then I wondered if it would sound as if they'd split the name Eleanor between them.

A more current version of Maureen would be Maura. Not with Norah, but maybe with another of the candidates. Maura and Ellen? Maura and Rowan? Maura and Emlyn? Maura and Carys?

Pulling names from nowhere now: Celeste and Noelle. Philippa and Imogen. Fiona and Madigan. Holly and Laurel. Marin and Bridget. Annabel and Emeline. Phoebe and Stella. Felicity and Genevieve. Simone and Corrine. Cecily and Beatrix.


Name update! Amy writes:
After much discussion, my husband and I decided on the name Nor.ah without much arguing. Deciding on the second name was much harder. Although we both love the name Emily (perhaps even more than the names we eventually chose), it just didn't go with any of the other names that we like. It turned out that this was the reason for my hesitation about using the name and not its popularity. The name Gra.ce had been suggested to me by several people including swistle readers, my mother and my husband. Eventually, it grew on me and I now couldn't imagine our Baby B having any other name. I was worried to read that another swistle twin mom had used Gra.ce has her second twin name and thought that maybe it was the go to name for second twin girls. However, I have decided to let popularity issues go and have no regrets about our baby girls Nor.ah and Gra.ce.

29 comments:

Bethtastic said...

I like Natalie with Hillary. And I like Norah and Natalie - though that gives you same first initials.

And I love Norah and Clara together.

And I also swoon over Margaret and Eleanor together with their cute nn options.

Norah and Clara
Norah and Natalie
Norah and Lydia
Norah and Julia
Norah and Sarah

Congrats on your new little girls on the way!

Tara said...

I don't think that Emily and Sophie will become names that people date to the 2010s. I think that they are classics that are popular at this time. Emily seems to be dropping in popularity though, which is probably due to people believing it is too common to use.

Have you considered Emilia/Emelia/Amelia and Sophia? Sophia is more formal than Sophie and you can use Sophie as a nickname for it anyway.

I guess that Norah and Hillary work together, but I see Hillary as a dated name. It just doesn't appeal to me, and I would be worried that your daughter would despise her "old lady name". Norah, even though it's an old-fashioned name, doesn't seem to have that feel as it is starting to become more popular again.

It's sad that you have decided against Charlotte and Abigail. They are GORGEOUS names!

I think that Norah and Sophie make a GORGEOUS sibset. They sound so, so cute together to me. Or even if you can get your husband to like Eleanor and if you like Sophia you could have Eleanor "Nora(h)" and Sophia "Sophie". So beautiful!


Here are some suggestions:
Grace
Madeleine/Madeline
Alyssa
Anna
Hannah
Elena
Julia
Isobel
Sienna
Alice
Rose
Eva
Stella
Molly
Leah
Caroline
Lila
Catherine
Ivy
Ruby
Scarlett
Genevieve

I hope you find names you both love, and I can't wait to here what you name them :-)

Katie V. said...

I think Hilary and Meredith make a very cute set (and even more so Eleanor and Meredith).

Just a thought on Hillary: I believe that, for a girl, it should be spelled Hilary. I have a few friends with this name and they all spell it this way. I think it was at one time a surname and then a male first name spelled Hillary with two L's. So for a little girl I prefer the Hilary spelling.

Another note on Hilary, one friend with this name often goes by Lili (Lily) if you're worried about there not being a cute nickname.

Jenna said...

I like Norah & Phoebe (Phoebe always had a classic feel to me)

With Hillary- what about Lauren?

I'm going to second-or third or fourth- the disregard popularity and go with what you love! I loved Emily and Sophie together go back to those!

Frazzled Mom said...

After reading this, I'm thinking the bigger hurdle is your and your husband's divergent naming styles, not so much the popularity.

I understand your desire to avoid a popular name; I really get it, but in this case maybe you should allow yourself to consider some popular names if the names meet some common ground between you and your husband.


I just love Swistle's suggestion of Eleanor and Margaret (Nora and Greta). If I were you, I would stop right there, but if those seem like "old-lady" names to your husband, maybe if you found a formal long name that fit your style you can find a nickname that fits his style, for example:

Rosemary, nn Romy. I feel this is perfect. Rosemary has the classic revival style of a name like Josephine while Romy has that sporty quality of a name such as Bree.

Now for a pairing...

Felicity, nn Lissy. Again Felicity is gentile and old-fashioned sounding but also has a spunky kick that your husband might appreciate while Lissy has that 1980's appeal.

Philippa, nn Pippa from Swisle's list.

Susannah, nn Sukie

I think I like Rosemary and Susannah (Romy and Sukie) the best.

Rosemary and Philippa (Romy and Pippa) would be my second.

Or… Felicity and Cecilia (Lissy and Ceci) I really love. I’m not sure if Cecilia or Ceci would fit your husband’s style, but I just love Felicity and Cecilia for twins.

Good luck.

Frazzled Mom said...

Ooooo, or how about:

Rosemary and Meredith (Romy and Meridee)!

beyond said...

I think Emily and Sophie make a great twin set but I think either Norah and Emily or Norah and Sophie would work even better. (I like having different endings.)
Here are a few suggestion I think might work well with Norah (and some will work well amongst themselves).
Estelle
Iris
Isabelle
Margot
Good luck!

christine said...

For what it's worth, I've known Emilys of all ages, so while it is popular I don't think you can time stamp it.

I love the suggestion of Natalie, and had planned on making it. Natalie and Clara?

Good luck!

Adey said...

First off - love Norah! Great name.

Here is a list of girl names that I have collected over the last year that you may or may not like!

Amalia (I think this one is SO pretty. I heard it pronounced Ah-Mall-Ee-Ah and thought it was beautiful!)
Anita
Annetta (Ann-Ett-Ah)
Deanna
Eloise
Emelyn/Emmalin
Jacqueline
Lauren/Lorenn
Kaydia
Meryl
Monica
Taryn
Tenley

My favourites with Norah would be:

Norah and Amalia
Norah and Eloise
Norah and Emelyn
Norah and Jacqueline
Norah and Lauren
Norah and Taryn

I hope you find a name you love just as much as Norah!
I don't mind Hillary but I don't love it the same as I do with Norah.
Good luck!!

Karen L said...

You sound so set against Emily and Sophie but, sigh, they are lovely names that you BOTH like!

I think he's probably closest to you with Justine, Maureen, and Chloe, which make me think maybe:
Noreen, nn Nora
Diane or Diana, nn Di
Kathleen, nn Kate
Catriona, or Katrina nn Cate or Kate

A couple of ideas:
Silvie or Silvia nn Silvie
Alexandra, nn Alex or Lexie
Cassandra, nn Cass or Cassie
Cora or Coralie nn Cora
Valerie, nn Val
Penelope, nn Penny

With Norah, I like really like Penelope.

I like a lot of the other suggestions, too. Good luck!

d e v a n said...

When you said Emily and Sophie, I immediately thought of Amelia and Sophia. That is a lovely pairing. It sounds so nice together!

I like Norah too. I LOVED Swistle's suggestion of Eleanor and Meredith (Ellie and Merrie or Nora and Mary...)

Anonymouse said...

LOVE Norah AND Hilary (as a pair and on their own).

On the Emily & Sophie thing - I am with others who have said that Emily to me seems more timeless (I had several friends with this name born in the early 80s) than Sophie - which seems to have emerged as more trendy in the last 5ish years.

Since you love Violet (which is my youngest daughter's name) I wonder if you'd like Daphne (my other daughter's name).

Other names I love:
Annabelle
Aurora
Audrey
Paige
Charlotte
Layla
Lila
Vivienne
Ruby

Whatever you choose will be wonderful - congrats on your daughters!

Jenn said...

I feel your pain, my husband and I have vastly different naming styles!
I know siblings named Norah and Molly, so they always seem to "go" together for me.
I also love Eleanor + Margaret (Nora + Greta)
Sophie reminds me of Sonia
If you like Emily how about Elise? Norah & Elise?
Hillary does sound dated to me - What about Mallory?

Carolyn said...

I thought of Mallory right away for you, as an alternate to Hilary or Meredith.

Emily has been popular around the turn of the century (spelled Emilie, as well as other names Jennie and Mollie), so maybe changing the spelling might bring you around to it.

For twin names to go with Norah, I like Allison, Alexandra, Cara, and Leah.

Patricia said...

I love Emily and Sophie together, individually and with your surname. In fact, Emilie and Sophie would be even more perfect with Bow-lee-ew. (I recognize your surname and think it would be grand with Emilie and Sophie, no matter that you don't speak French). I wouldn't worry about popularity; just choose the names you like best.

Norah is nice too, but doesn't have the spunk of Emiiy (Emilie) and Sophie with their "ee" endings, nor is it the classic that the other two are. According to Penguin Reference Dictionary of First Names (UK), Nora is "an Irish first name derived from HONOR... Also found as Norah. It is sometimes treated as an abbreviation of ELEANOR or LEONORA... Familiar variants of the name in Ireland include Noreen..." I think Norah goes best with other names associated with Ireland, like Norah and Margaret "Maggie". But with Nora/Norah's strong Irish associations, I don't love it with Bow-lee-ew.

Your last name is lovely sounding and so distinctly French that I would take advantage of that by choosing names that are French but also used in English. Emily/Emilie Bow-lee-ew and Sophie Bow-lee-ew seem ideal, but here are some other English/French possibilities, most of which your husband probably is familiar with:
Isabel/Isabelle
Clare/Claire
Natalie/Nathalie
Catherine
Anne
Amelie (Amelia)
Sylvie (Sylvia)
Louise
Lucy/Lucie

Anonymous said...

I think Sophie/Sophia/Sofia/etc. falls into the trendy category. It is the "Jennifer" of the early 21st century.

Emily, tho, is timeless. I like it with Norah. Both names are stand alone (i.e. no nickname-- Margaret to Maggie for one twin and not for other. I totally agree with you on that point). Both Emily and Norah are good names for little girls and grown women. Both have 5 letters and a similar feel without being overly matchy.

You could name one of the girls Eleanor and call her Nora/h.

-MA in PA

The Mrs. said...

Instead of Meridith: Marian or Meriam (Merry)

Instead of Hillary: Helaina (Lainy) or Helena (Leni)

Instead of Tabitha: Tamara (Tara) or Dorothy (Dot)

Instead of Norah (although I love it): Noelle (Ellie) or Annora (Nora) or Cordelia (Cora)

Instead of Sabrina (love this name, too!): Suzanna (Susie or Zee)
or Cassandra (Cassie or Andie)

Other suggestions from above that are classic/iconic/timeless: Iris, Margot, Phillipa, and Phoebe

And three final ones that are Shakespearean but unique: Arden and Imogen and Silvia

Best wishes to your growing family. Can't WAIT to hear what you decide!!

Beth said...

I REALLY want to hear the Name Update on this one to know what you eventually decide.

Great job, Swistle...sound advice as usual.

All the best to the poster and her husband.

Patricia said...

Emily is the more popular name in the Emily (SSA rank #6) and Sophie (65) pairing, so maybe choose a less popular name than Emily to pair with Sophie?

Some inspirations from the London Telegraph birth announcements:
Sophie and Zoe
Sophie and Annabelle
Sophie and Charlotte (I don't see Charlotte as trendy.)
Sophie and Isabel
Sophie and Alice
Sophie and Eliza
Sophie and Lucy
Sophie and Phoebe
Sophie and Eloise
Sophie and Annabel

Twin pairings with Sophie:
twins, Sophie Letitia and Emily Elizabeth

twin daughters, Emilia Caroline Jane and Sophia Alice Madeleine

twins, Amelie Rose and Sophie Catherine

twin girls Sophie Catherine & Isabelle Rose

And some other pairings for twin girls:
Katherine and Elizabeth

*Esmée and Alice

Isobel and Eleanor

Lara and Alice

Felicity and Tabitha

Beatrice and Tabitha

Rachel and Rebecca

Nina and Lucy

Madeleine and Katherine

Annabel and Alice

Kate and Anna


*I like Sophie and Esme (Esmée/Esmé - pronounce EZ-may) for you too with your French surname. [I know a baby girl called Esme 'BOW-dree'.) Esme (just below the SSA Top 1000) paired with Sophie would make the names of your twins more unique.

But Emily and Sophie are more equally known and popular. I like the way those names sound together -- different first letters and number of syllables, yet both ending in 'ee' sound, how they look together -- 5 or 6 letters: E___y and S____e, and that each name has a fine history of use as a female name.

Lots of possibilities. I hope you'll let us know what you named your twin girls. Best wishes!

Megz said...

I was all set to suggest Amy and then noticed it's your name. D'oh.

I would like to suggest Norah and Maisie or even just Norah and May. I like that May is an anagram of Amy, plus it's not all that common but still well known.

I'm surprised your husband suggested Maureen as that seems like an old lady name to me. How about Marlene or Aileen. Norah and Aileen. Cute. Meredith and Aileen would work too.

I've always liked the twinset Tabitha and Samantha but maybe that's too Bewitched for your liking.

Congratulations on your new babies

StephLove said...

I like the suggestion of Amelia & Sophia and I'd like to pair Norah & Tabitha from different lists of yours. I would have suggested Norah & Naomi if you didn't want different initials.

How about:

Norah & Alya
Norah & Anna
Norah & Caitlin (since you like Catherine and he doesn't)
Norah & Daphne
Norah & Emma
Norah & Gabriella
Norah & Jane
Norah & Jasmine
Norah & Jillian
Norah & Rhiannon
Norah & Samira
Norah & Sarah

Patricia said...

Hilary and Meredith are a good match for twins: both names started as surnames, then were used as male names, and now are predominantly female names. However, these names are not classic names if that's what you're looking for.

Norah and Maureen are a good (Irish) match.

Thomas and Grant equivalent:
Sophie and Clare (or Claire)

Jess said...

Knowing that your husband likes the name Bree, what about considering names in a style you prefer that have the nn Bree?

- Aubrey. This is my favorite for you. It has the nn your husband likes. It flows really well with the repeating B sounds in your last name. It works well with Norah. It's ranked 41, but that's not dissimilar to Norah, once you start adding up the popularity of Nora, Norah, and Eleanor.
- Sabrina. Sabrina and Eleanor. Norah and Bree.
- Gabrielle. Or one of the other spellings for this name. Gabrielle and Eleanor. I love the repreating -el sounds in the twin names and three syllable similarity. Norah and Bree again.

- Eleanor and Aubrey.
- Eleanor and Sabrina.
- Eleanor and Gabrielle.
- Eleanor and Abrielle.
- Eleanor and Emeline.
- Eleanor and Juliette. (Juliette reminds me of Violet, but may be more palatable to your hubby. You could also use "Julieta" to get a 7-letter match.)

Others:
- Chloe and Sophie.
- Emily and Abigail.
- Emily and Natalie.
- Norah and Juliet.

Anonymous said...

First of, I love Grant and Thomas. So classy!

Secondly, sorry for any repeats below :)

1-2. I think Emily and Sophie are slightly trendy but Amelia, Emilia and Sophia are classic, but quite popular if I am not mistaken. Emily has been popular for a long time so it wouldn't be dated in 10 yrs. I think Sophie might (while I doubt if Sophia would).

I prefer Emily and Jane (I also like the nod to literature, but that's just personal)

3. Norah is gorgeous and I think it goes well with Hilary (I prefer this spelling). I think Norah stands out as the more classic name. Norah and Chloe would make an amazing siblingset! I wouldn't worry about the dog association personally if you love the name. It's definitely not the first thing I think of when I hear Chloe!

I also know of a girl named Norah whose nickname is Noni.

Other suggestions--

First with Norah,

Norah and Zoe
Norah and Maya
Norah and Rebecca
Norah and Lillian
Norah and Lisa (or Alicia)
Norah and Serena
Norah and Adele
Norah and Stella
Norah and Elena
Norah and Julia

Other combinations--

Miranda and Lydia
Joanna and Evelyn
Lorena and Nancy
Laura and Simone
Louise and Regina
Felicity and Nadine
Claudia and Anneliese

Emily said...

Is it possible that you are over analysing this? I am an Emily born in late 1992, the very start of the Emily trend. However, my parents didn't know a single Emily and thought they were giving me an unusual name.

My brother is a Thomas and if he had been a girl would of been a Sophie.
Then came twins, William and Sophie. So presumably my parents had a similar naming style to yours.

Saying this I would have been Amelia if it had gone with our surname!
I wouldn't worry about popularity - you are far more likely to find an Ava, Maddie or Ellie than you are Emily or Sophie.

I would go with Emily and Sophie.

If not then I would go with two names which were much much lower down the SSA rankings - and start from scratch. Hillary and Meredith are both very much unisex names where I live, with older men being called Hillary and Meredith/Meredydd being popular for little boys!

Some suggestions - maybe:-

Adalia
Ottilie
Cecily
Romilly
Juniper
Liliana
Nolia

Some of these maybe too unusual for your husband - but what about Ottilie and Adalia - Lia and Tilly for shorts??

Good luck:) I would try waiting till they are born and seeing if you can see them as Emily and Sophie. Or even Norah and Evie.

Mrs S said...

I like Emily and Meredith together the best. Or Sophie and Claire or Spohie and Nora?

I think Hillary is dated. I think you have lovelier names on you list(s).

I also like the suggestion of Holly, Isla, Julia, Fiona, Greta, Bridget and Kate.

Congrats!

Hillary said...

So obviously I'm biased but I really don't think the name Hillary is dated!

If you like the flow of Hillary, Ellory (nn Ellie) or Everly (nn Evie) are similar.

Natalia said...

I think Norah and Sophie/Sophia go well together, they are both classics.

To me Norah also have a Nordic flair, so I think it would go really well with other names popular in Scandinavia, such as Lily, Lucia, Hannah.

I also like the suggestion of using Eleanor and using Nora as nickname. With Eleanor, I'd pair something like Lillian or Margaret.

Patricia said...

Norah and Grace are lovely for twins. Congratulations!