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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Baby Girl Highsler, Sister to Shane Matthew

Rachel writes:
I stumbled upon your blog over a year ago, and was hooked immediately.  I've always been fascinated with naming trends and decision making factors.  Your advice is by far the best out there, and my husband and I would be thrilled to have your help in naming our second and final child.

My name is Rachel and my husband is Chris - both common names in our generation (late 70s), but ones that have aged well over time.  Our last name rhymes with Chrysler (the car) but starts with an H.  Important to note is that due to its German roots, the spelling is a bit crazy (three vowels in a row!), but it's pronounced High-sler.  Our son's name is Shane Matthew, which we adore and fits him to a T.  He's a sporty and energetic boy.  We're excited to be expecting a daughter in January, but are stuck on selecting her name. 

Here are our "would likes" in descending order of importance:
1. Our children will always have to spell and pronounce their last name, so we need the first name be one that's easily read, written and recognized.
2. Prefer that it doesn't start with an H or end with -er.  I also don't want an S sound in the middle or end because of how it sounds with last name.
3. We are trying to avoid a trendy name that will soon sound dated.  Unfortunately, it seems our ear is drawn toward popular names (as you'll see below), but we probably wouldn't choose one in the end.

So, here's a list of names that have at one point been in the mix to give you a sense of our taste.  I've also included the reason why I can convince myself that each name isn't the one. Perhaps you can suggest others we might like or convince us why one on the list is just right.

Caroline (Maybe too formal and fancy for us.  No standard nickname, though we've talked about Carly or C.J. depending on middle name)
Colby (Too often a boy's name, and the cheese association)
Avery (This would have been Shane's name if he was a girl.  We've always liked it, but now it's so popular)
Aubrey (Love the nickname Bree, but know that Aubrey is climbing the charts.  It also irks me that it can be spelled Aubree.)
Bree (Cheese association)
Finley (Love the sound, and Finn is a cute nickname, but it's the trendiest on our list and likely to become dated.)
Natalie, Courtney, Mallory, Valerie (Like that they all end in -ee sound, and are no longer very common, but I dislike Nat, Court, and Mal, and Val)
Samantha (like nn Sam, but too popular)
Brooke (maybe too short/choppy)
Julia (pretty, just not sure it's us)
Megan (husband's ex-girlfriend)
Sabrina (We love this one, with nn Bree, but are afraid of the Teenage Witch association, especially because they're making it a movie now)
Cameron (Somewhat ruined by the Kamryn/Camryn/Camden trend)
Darcy (don't like the middle 's' sound with our last name)

We asked my parents to select Shane's middle name, and my mother-in-law to select our daughter's middle name.  She will give us a few options so that we can pick one that flows with the first name we choose.  So for now, we're just looking for a first name.

Are we neglecting to think of names that are in the same genre as Shane and work with High-sler? 

Thank you ever so much! 

I am so intrigued by the idea of having a family member, especially a grandparent, choose the middle name. (I admit it: I am mostly thinking of how thrilled I'd be to get to choose for someone else!)

Right away I was drawn to Caroline. I say it with your surname and it seems like magic: Caroline Highsler!

But then I saw Brooke. Shane and Caroline is good; Shane and Brooke is wonderful. I don't think it's too short/choppy at all.

I want to push you to use Sabrina, because I love it and I think the name has enough other associations to get beyond the Teenage Witch one. But I find that when I say "Shane and Sabrina," I start swapping sounds and getting Sane and Shabrina.

Because you like Darcy but not the S sound, and you also like Aubrey/Bree/Colby, I suggest Darby. Darby Highsler; Shane and Darby.

That -by ending makes me think of Ruby. Ruby Highsler; Shane and Ruby.

Instead of Megan, perhaps Reagan or Regan. I had a brief fantasy of inventing a name such as Breegan, (Not just because we're looking for easy/recognizable names, but also because of The Baby Name Wizard's post about the current trendiness of Bree names.)

Avery and Finley and Mallory and Valerie make me think of Everly and Ellery and Flannery.

Would Juliet/Juliette be more your style than Julia?

This one just came to mind: Meredith. It's a little like Caroline and Mallory. Meredith Highsler; Shane and Meredith. I really like that one. Nickname Merrie is adorable.

Or Miranda. Miranda Highsler; Shane and Miranda. I'm ready to hear more of that name again.

Another one that just came to mind: Jillian. Jillian Highsler; Shane and Jillian.

Name update! Rachel writes:
I can't thank you enough for helping to name our daughter!  You zeroed in on a name that had been buried low on our list, but immediately catapulted to the top once you and many of your wonderful readers pointed out that it was just what we wanted.  So, Brooke Elizabeth "Highsler" was born on January 23.  As you may recall, we asked my mother-in-law to select the middle name.  We love Brooke's name and think it fits just right with our family. 


Suzanne said...

Brooke was the name that stood out for me. I also really like Natalie, and it has a more classic sound. I don't think it's dated at all. Shand and Natalie.

Butterflyfish said...

Caroline or Swistle's Meredith. All the way.

Clarabella said...

There may have been gasping when I got to Brooke. I think it's a sadly underutilized name, but it's completely familiar despite not being too popular. And I really can't get over the sibling set sound of Shane and Brooke. And Brooke Highsler sounds like she could be an executive or an astronaut or an artist.
I really hope you'll reconsider Brooke. Can you tell?

Anonymous said...

I also adore Brooke.

If you are drawn to Caroline, have you considered Carlyn? The NN is Carly, or Lynn, or just Carlyn.

Caroline said...

I am a Caroline and my cousin is Carolyn. She goes by Carly and I am Caroline, but I always thought Cara could be a cute nickname for Caroline considering a lot of people pronounce it Cah-Ra-line as opposed to Cah-ro-line. I am definitely in favor of Caroline =]

I also love Meredith.

Another suggestion of a name that I love is Gwyneth. I love the nicknames Winnie or Gwen and I think that Gwyneth Highsler sounds pretty great. Shane and Gwyneth.

hillary said...

Oh, I think Miranda and Jillian are inspired suggestions by Swistle...they are modern and classic at the same time. We considered both for our current bun in the oven but had to nix them for overlap with other family members' names, but I wish someone else would use them!

From your list I really like Brooke, Caroline, Julia, and Sabrina (in that order).

Madelyn said...

If I saw Brooke and Shane written down, I wouldn't know if it was two boys, two girls, or a boy and a girl. But maybe that isn't terrible. The name Brooke is nice, but I would go for something more feminine with the name Shane for a brother.

From your list I like Caroline (not sure how you are pronouncing it), Natalie, and Valerie.

Here are more suggestions:

Lily, Lilly
Louise, Louisa

Swistle said...

According to the Social Security Administration, in 2011 the name Shane was used for 1618 boys and 25 girls. The name Brooke was used for 3354 girls and no boys.

phancymama said...

I like Brooke a lot (and think it is pretty firmly girl) and think it is cute and bubbly on a young girl, and classy on an older woman.
I also adore Swistle's suggestion of Ruby and think it goes so beautifully with your last name.
Those are my two favorites!

Anonymous said...

If Caroline is too formal, maybe you would prefer Cara/Kara or Carrie.

Another Erin from the 80s said...

Brooke is practically perfect as well as Avery. Avery is popular, but I suggest going to the ssa website and seeing just how popular it is for your state. Here are some other suggestions (a few of which are real sibling sets) that meet your requirements...
Lacey (not sure how you feel about the "s" sound of the c)

Btw, you did an excellent job at matching your son's name to the style of you and your husband.

Jan said...

From your list I liked Brooke and Sabrina. Shane to me is a cowboy name. Thus, Darcy from your list would match. Other ideas: Bridget, Megan, Sarah, Erin, Whitney, Caitlin.

Amy K said...

Caroline is lovely, and I think Carrie is a common nickname for it (at least it was where I lived as a child). Some other ideas: Margo, Marin, June, Erin.

Anonymous said...

Bree always makes me think of Brynn, and I think that sounds great both with Shane and your last name.

Good luck!

StephLove said...

I think Caroline is classic enough it won't ever seem trendy. It's a favorite of mine, too. I like the full name, but also Carrie or Caro

Christine said...

Mallory with the nickname Ree!

Matilda came to mind immediately when I read your last name, but maybe it's not your thing... Also, along the same line as Brooke, Paige? It shares a long "a" with Shane, so might be too matchy for you, but I kind of love it. And I love the name Jillian, but it doesn't work with my last name.. So obviously that just means you should use it :) Good luck!

Eva.G said...

I, too, think Brooke is perfect!! I'm partly jealous because I don't think I can ever use it due to my last name - but it's wonderful for you. Sounds great with your last name AND with Shane.

I was confused by the above comment. I've never met a girl named Shane or a boy named Brooke. That's probably because there were NO boys named Brooke last year! :)

I also love Caroline. I just don't think you can go wrong with either Brooke or Caroline, and almost don't want to suggest anything else! But here are some others I like from above posts, plus a few of my favorites.

Blythe; Shane and Blythe.
Charlotte; Shane and Charlotte - so cute!
Grace; Shane and Grace.
Gwen or Gwendolyn; Shane and Gwen.
Leah; Shane and Leah.
Paige; Shane and Paige.
Ruby; Shane and Ruby.

The Mrs. said...

One unique name that was a recent discovery for me: Carbry. Shane & Carbry. But I suppose it's a bit too unusual for what you have on your list.

So what about Morgan? It carries the same feel as Shane.

A couple of years ago, I met a little girl named Nancy, and her name struck me as completely charming. It's unlikely to get too popular, but it has a certain charm. Shane and Nancy.

Best wishes to you and your growing family! Please let us know what you decide!

Anonymous said...

My sister in law is Caroline, nn Carri. It is so lovely! I think you should use it with Shane, but if not, I also vote for Brooke.
A variation on Caroline could be Carys, also nn Carrie or Cary. I think Shane and Brynn are a bit too similar with the single syllable and ending with 'n'.
Otherwise, the options that you like are all Great choices. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm the original poster, and so grateful for Swistle's response and all of the comments. (I literally shrieked when I opened the blog for my daily dose of Swistle and saw my own name!) It's very reaffirming that people like Caroline - it's our current front runner with Carly as nickname. We imagine our daughter to be sporty (like Shane) and Carly seems to fit that bill. Our second choice is Sabrina. I love the name, and it's very us - not unusual, but a little quirky. I'm glad to hear that the Teenage Witch jokes might not follow our daughter everywhere. My husband loves the nn Bree, although I am concerned by Baby Name Wizard's noticing of it's current rise in popularity. And Brooke has pulled into a strong third, in large part thanks to all of your comments. It may be the simple, classic, fresh name we're looking for that works on a little girl and on a professional woman. I promise to update with our final name choice and my mother-in-law's middle name selection (fingers crossed it's one I like!). Thanks again for the responses!!!

willikat said...

LOVE Caroline with the last name. So pretty. I like Caro as a nickname, Can always do Carrie, etc. I also love Brooke with your name, sounds famous! Love Swistle's recommendation of Miranda, love how that sounds with your name and with Shane's name. Ruby is at the top of my list, but it is also getting crazy popular.'s so pretty.
Also love the suggestions of Blythe and Gwen.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Danielle? Has the familiar but not common feel you're looking for and I think it works with your last name. Nickname Danni?

AirLand said...

I'm in my early 30s and Shane is a name I associate with people my age... same with Brooke, so I think they sound pretty good together. I think any name that was popular in the 80s that is still going now would sound good with Shane.

Anonymous said...

You know what name you never hear anymore? Melanie. It seems to fit this grouping of suggestions so I thought I'd toss it in :)

Carolyn said...

Jillian or Meredith are so classic.

Another option is Bethany. I prefer the full name, without shortening it to Beth. I work with a young woman who only goes by her full name, and it is so pretty. Kind of a fresh take on Brittany.

Amy said...

Shane and Darby!

Celia said...

No no, don't use Regan! And especially don't use Reagan! It doesn't matter what your politics are; people will assume the politics of the child for the rest of their lives... I know some very liberal Reagans whose parents named them after the president who actively loathe their names. Don't do it!

Anonymous said...

I'm a total lurker, and I really hardly ever comment anywhere but I just had to put in my two cents for Brooke! Shane and Brooke as a sibset is divine, and Brooke doesn't sound the least bit choppy with your last name to my ear.