Just yesterday I actually broke down and cried over trying to figure out a name for our third baby boy--I took this as a sign that I need some help. I am due in early April 2013 and my darling husband and I are at an impasse. My oldest son (from a previous marriage) is Grady Owen Lanser. I love his name. I loved it when I first stumbled upon it 10 years ago and have never had a single regret--naming him was blissfully easy.My second son is Mason Cruz Sousa, a name we decided on while I was 5cm dilated and hours from birthing him, clearly not a strategy I would advise to anyone. It took us about a month to realize we hated the name Cruz, and though he is two years old now, we have decided that we are going to have his middle name legally changed this year (haven't quite decided yet--Noah and Everett are contenders). And though I have liked the name Mason for a very long time, we did not spend enough time saying it with our last name--Mason Sousa, too many "s" sounds running together. His name, I do regret.I am terrified that we will once again end up in the same crazed, in-labor, no-name-ready place we were with our second.So this is where we are. I like: Beau, Everett, Noah, Levi, Leo, Garrett, Jonah and Wyatt, all of which he doesn't want to use for one reason or another.He likes: Marshall, Phillip, Logan, and Dylan, though he is pushing hard for Marshall. Actually, I don't mind Marshall, but I am concerned about the nicknames he might endure (Marshmallow, Marsh), and I also didn't want two kids whose names start with the same letter (Mason and Marshall--too similar?) or two names that are both two syllable ending in "n" (Mason and Logan)If we had had a girl, our possibilities were: Gigi, Vivian, Stella, Josephine and Maryn (pronounced Mare-in), names we definitely could agree on.If you can offer any assistance, I would be forever grateful.
Everett from your list and Phillip from his makes me think of Elliot. Elliot Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Elliot. A new name beginning and a new name ending!
Or there's Emmett. Emmett Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Emmett.
The name Phillip Sousa brings John Philip Sousa to mind. It's by no means a negative association, nor was it very strong for me (for a minute I thought, "Hm, something about Phillip Sousa rings half a bell, I wonder why?"), but it's something I'd want to consider before choosing the name.
Would Mitchell work better than Marshall? It still starts with M, but seems much less matchy than Mas/Mars. I went to school with a Mitchell/Mitch who was so smart and kind, it's left me with a very good impression of the name.
I also went to school with a boy who went by his surname Marshall (we had a lot of Jasons, and there was a bit of a scramble to come up with alternative names), and I don't remember marsh or marshmallow coming up. On the other hand, I was only in one elementary classroom with him, and by high school a lot of that stuff is over, so I could have missed it.
Levi and Leo make me think of Liam. Liam Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Liam.
Garrett and Dylan make me think of Darien. Darien Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Darien. It repeats the -n ending of Mason, but having an extra syllable reduces the impact of that for me.
Or Deacon. Deacon Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Deacon.
Noah and Dylan make me think of Nolan. Again it repeats the -n ending of Mason, but I still like it---and so many boy names end in N. Nolan Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Nolan.
Beau and Dylan make me think of Dean. Dean Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Dean.
If it would be fun to repeat the two syllables and and five letters and long-A, I wonder if you'd like Caleb. Caleb Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Caleb. Each name has its own distinct beginning, ending, and consonant sounds, but they feel like a very good set of brothers. Jacob would be similar.
Because Grady and Mason can both be surnames, I'm inclined toward other surname names. Tanner, perhaps. Tanner Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Tanner.
Or Bennett! Bennett Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Bennett.
Or Carter. Carter Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Carter.
Or Clark. Clark Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Clark.
Parker. Parker Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Parker.
Calvin. Calvin Sousa; Grady, Mason, and Calvin.
For Mason's new middle name, Noah seems to blend/repeat too much (the -n/N- of Mason Noah, and then the -ah/-a of Noah Sousa), especially in a name where you're already sorry about too many S sounds. It all runs together for me: Maysa-noa-sousa. I love Mason Everett Sousa. At first I thought the MES initials were going to seem too much like "mess," but then I remembered I've encountered those initials regularly on an institution and I've never once thought of "mess," so it must not come to mind even for those of us who tend to be a bit oversensitive to such things. Another possibility, if your husband is very keen on Marshall but it turns out you just don't want to use it as a first name, is to use that as the middle name: Mason Marshall Sousa.