After perusing dozens of baby names websites, I have officially decided that yours is THE ONE source for thoughtful, genuine feedback. I would really appreciate any help you can offer with naming my second child due this winter (boy or girl TBD!)
My name is Jocelyn and my husband's name is Brian (last name sounds like Fable). We currently have an adorable two year old boy named Sawyer Benjamin. It took forever to finally agree upon a name for him, mostly because my husband kept throwing out ridiculous names, perhaps trying to make me laugh more so than trying to name our baby! When he found the name Sawyer, I immediately loved it (plus the fact that my husband actually suggested a real name). Despite constantly being asked if we watched the show Lost or if it was a family name, neither applied to us. I just love how it is an unusual name but easy to pronounce. Now, the work begins all over in trying to find a sibling's name...
Girl names: I'm open to suggestions, but have always loved the name Madeline for a girl. My husband quickly agreed on this one, so the trick would be just to find a middle name. I don't want it to sound too Southern (like Maddie Sue) but I do want it to flow. Possible Madeline Leigh? The spelling of this name has also caused me some concern- should be pronounced like Madelyn, but that spelling looks too close to my name, and Madeleine suddenly looks like too many letters to me (and this was supposed to be the easy name!)
Boy names: now the fun begins. I do like surnames, but not ones that are too common, such as Jackson. That brings me to my surname, Reed, which I could totally live with if I could just convince my husband... Another name that caught my eye was Ryland, but it would take some getting used to and I'm wondering if it's too close to Brian (as is Brennan, another favorite of mine). Bennett seemed like a really nice name to me, but I just get the feeling that it has a little bit of femininity to it. I somewhat like Hudson, but not sure if I could really get used to that one, either. In a nutshell, we're looking for a name just as uncommon as Sawyer but not too "out there". Please help!! :)
I suggest using the Madelyn spelling. I think it's fine (nice, even) that it shares an ending with your name, and it's the best spelling for making your pronunciation clear. We had a cat named Madeline for a few months, and it was eye-opening to me that no one at the shelter or vet's office was ever sure how to pronounce it. I was grateful that it was a cat and so we could easily make the decision not to care or correct pronunciation---but typically, each person would ASK each time: "Let's see, today...Madda-lynn, Madda-lyne?...is getting two shots." "Let's schedule the next appointment for...Madda-lynn, Madda-lyne?"
For middle names, I think a lot of names would work well: Madelyn June, Madelyn Grace, Madelyn Ruth, Madelyn Rose, Madelyn Joy. To tone down the "Maddie Sue" flavor, I'd go with something multi-syllable: Madelyn Sophia, Madelyn Elizabeth, Madelyn Julia, Madelyn Olivia, Madelyn Rebecca. It would be a good place for a name that you wanted to use for the first name, but couldn't because of some reason that wouldn't matter for a middle name (problem with initials, too similar to a family member's name, didn't go well with Sawyer, not your usual style, etc.).
I wish I could pressure your husband to accept Reed for a boy. Not only is "mother's surname as child's first name" one of my top favorite naming ideas, but it works out so exceptionally well in this case! Sawyer and Reed! Perfect!
If not, here are some more possibilities (I basically went treasure-hunting in the "Last Names First" section of The Baby Name Wizard):
Perhaps your surname could be the middle name: Wilson Reed Fable, or Anderson Reed Fable, or Everett Reed Fable.
Or you could use one of the names you liked but didn't quite want to use in the first name slot: Archer Brennan Fable, or Lawson Bennett Fable.
Or you could match the style of Sawyer's middle name and use something like Davis Christopher Fable or Turner Jonathan Fable.
Name update! Jocelyn writes:
Thank you again for your input. We recently welcomed little brother Reed Wheeler to our family! (Reed being my maiden name and Wheeler my husband's father's middle name- a family name going back for centuries). Sawyer loves his new baby brother!