I'm having fraternal twin girls arriving October 2! They will join big sister Cecelia Claire, age 3. Our last name is Orenstein, pronounced OR-en-steen.
For Baby A, we were considering Rosabel, my grandmother's name, for a long time. We're on the fence about whether to use it as a first name or a middle name – we like Rosabel Charlotte, Rosabel Olivia, and Veronica Rosabel. My husband, Nathaniel, prefers Rosabel as a first name. He likes the idea of the nicknames Roo – the initials of Rosabel Olivia Orenstein – or Rosie. I'm not 100% sold on it – I'm really loving the name Veronica right now.
For Baby B, we're so conflicted on what to choose! I really love the name Ava Catherine, but Ava is the #1 name in my state for baby girls at the moment, and popular isn't really our style. I would still consider it as a middle name, though. We also like Alexandra, Georgina, Julia, and Stella. We would also really like to use Eleanor as a middle name, if possible. Eleanor is Nathaniel's grandmother's name.
We're open to all combinations, new suggestions, and whatever you have to offer. Thanks in advance for all your help!
I love Rosabel: it's beautiful and unusual; there's a family tie-in; and the popularity of the name Isabelle means the sound of the name is likely to be a big hit. Olivia is my favorite of your middle name choices, and "Roo" and "Rosie" are both great nicknames.
But I'm no good as a tie-breaker here, because I also love Veronica Rosabel. And if you use both grandmothers' names as middle names, it gives a very pleasing balance.
Wait---you're having two girls. Could you use Rosabel AND Veronica? Rosabel Olivia and Veronica Eleanor? The name Eleanor runs into your surname a little (EleanOR ORenstein), but I think that kind of thing is fine for a middle name, especially when there's a good family reason to use the name.
Looking at your other candidates, they all look too strong and sassy to pair with Rosabel: Rosabel and Georgina. Rosabel and Ava. Rosabel and Stella seems like it might lead to people saying Rosabella accidentally. Rosabel and Alexandra might work, except the name Alexandra is so much more common: Rosabel hasn't hit the Top 1000 any time in the last 200 years, while Alexandra's been in there solidly since 1938---and in the Top 50 since 1988 (source: Social Security Administration).
How about Alessandra? It's similar to Alexandra, but less common and it increases the femininity to be a better match for Rosabel. The name Lissandra seems even better to me, and less prone to people mishearing it as Alexandra: Rosabel and Lissandra. Lissandra Eleanor Orenstein. You could use Leo as a nickname, to go with Roo.
Or maybe Clarissa? Or..... Well, I'm finding what you probably found, which is that Rosabel is a tough name to coordinate, and especially as part of a twin set where the coordination or lack thereof is going to stand out even more glaringly than with other siblings.
I think there are two good options here:
1. Go with his first pick (Rosabel) and your first pick (Veronica). Rosabel Olivia Orenstein (ROO) and Veronica Eleanor Orenstein (VEO). Cecelia, Rosabel, and Veronica. This is my favorite option, because I like the way you both get your first choice. I also like the way HE'S the one who wants YOUR grandmother's name promoted to first-name status: that evens out any potential family ruffles about whose family name is more favored.
2. Shift Rosabel to the middle name slot, like Eleanor. Pick two of your remaining choices, perhaps Veronica and Julia, or Georgina and Stella, and pair them up with the middle names. Maybe Georgina Rosabel Orenstein (GRO) and Veronica Eleanor Orenstein (VEO); Cecelia, Georgina, and Veronica.
What do the rest of you think? Are there more options here? What would you do?
[Name update! 10-02-2008 Hannah writes:
Thank you to all your readers for your help! Rosabel Olivia Orenstein and Eleanor Veronica Orenstein were born on October 2, 2008. They're both healthy, beautiful girls and their names suit them perfectly!]