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Friday, January 30, 2009

Name Update!

Update on Baby Girl or Boy Winston! Charlotte writes:
Cora Genevieve Winston made her grand debut on January 23, 2009 at 9:26 AM! I am completely crazy in love with her! :) She is so tiny and beautiful. Thank you so much for all the help with her name. We've been getting so many compliments on it. Rose has been cooing "Co-Wah" and "Coco". Our second choice was Cora Gabrielle. Once again, thank you!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baby Girl or Boy Guhndail

Jenny writes:
We’re running out of time! I’m now 37 weeks and we haven’t chosen names.

For our first child we found out we were having a boy, and therefore didn’t even pick a girl’s name. We decided on Charles (“Charlie”) Benjamin. We decided on the name just a week before he was born. We liked it because we have two separate people named Charles (one Charlie and one Chuck) who have played a significant role in our lives. Benjamin is my husband’s name. So, there were a number of reasons to choose this name besides that they sound good together and we like both the given and nickname.

For baby #2 we did not find out the gender and are now faced with the task of choosing both a boy and girl name and matching it to Charles/Charlie. For a girl, I was pretty set on Meredith. It sounds classy and familiar, but not too common (and goes well with Charlie). We are completely open for middle names. Lately, we have really liked Hazel (our children are almost sure to have blue eyes; is that a strange thing to cross my mind?). Again, completely open on middle names. I also like Abigail (but too common) and Margot, and my husband likes Miriam and Catherine. Right now our top girl choices are Meredith and Hazel.

For a boy’s name, we’re leaning toward Harrison James. I wasn’t sure about the surname as a first name, but it helps to know we aren’t the only ones who like the name (but again, not too common). James is a family name. My husband would prefer it be a first name, but it’s a little too blah for me. Plus, I don’t like “Jimmy”. We don’t really care for the nickname “Harry” (mostly because of “hairy”), but Harry is also a family name. So, we’re wondering what other nickname could be used for Harrison. Possibly “Hank”? Other names we like include Edward/Edwin/Edmund, Peter, Philip.

Our last name is pronounced GUHN-dail, so most of these names should fit just fine.

We need some other name ideas that fit with our son’s name. Please help us put this decision to rest soon!

My favorite of your girl name choices is Meredith, for all the reasons you mention. I started to try "one parent's favorite" first name choices in the middle name slot, but Abigail rhymes with your surname, and Catherine repeats the TH sound from Meredith, and Miriam and Margot both add another M sound, and none of them seem quite right. Well, maybe your other first-name choice would work? Meredith Hazel Guhndail? Hm, I like the sound of that. It works the other way, too, I think: Hazel Meredith Guhndail.

For boys, I like the name Harrison but agree that the nickname issue is tricky. I wonder what Harrison Ford's friends and family call him? Hank would be a legitimate choice: it's traditionally a nickname for Henry, and Harrison comes from Henry by way of Harry (well, or by way of Harry's son). You could also use Hal, another nickname of Harry. Or you could use Harris.

Another nickname for James is Jamie, if you like that better than Jim/Jimmy. James Harrison Guhndail is nice, and I like how Charlie and Jamie go together. Or you could make the name James longer and go for Jameson, with the same nickname option Jamie.

I'll put two polls over to the right, one for girl name options and one for boy name options. [Polls closed; see below.]

Poll results, girl names (239 votes total):
Meredith: 174 votes, roughly 73%
Hazel: 65 votes, roughly 27%

Poll results, boy names (235 votes total):
Harrison: 108 votes, roughly 46%
James: 65 votes, roughly 28%
Edward: 12 votes, roughly 5%
Edwin: 5 votes, roughly 2%
Edmund: 16 votes, roughly 7%
Peter: 17 votes, roughly 7%
Philip: 12 votes, roughly 5%

Name update 02-21-2009! Jenny writes: "Meredith Jane was born on 2/16/09. Thank you for the input; the name is perfect for her!"

Name Update!

Update on Baby Boy Spies! Wendy writes:
We have a name update for you! We ended up digging up a great family name from my husband's side "Carsten". It satisfied all of our criteria. However, Carsten was born (on December 27th), with red hair! Most of the names we had on our list brought up images of blondes and brunettes. While in the hospital we picked a name that wasn't on our list and honors his Irish heritage and the other half of the family, Patrick. So, it is with great pleasure we announce the arrival of Carsten Patrick Spies!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby Boy, Brother to Rose and Tess

Bren writes:
I am in desperate need of some baby naming advice. Our baby boy is due in early February and he doesn't have a name yet. His big sisters are named Rose and Tess. I LOVED their names during the pregnancies and I love them even more today. I am just not loving any one particular name this time around. Why are boy names so difficult? Our last name is 2-syllable, ending in "-er". That pretty much eliminates all first names ending in "-er" as it sounds too rhymy.

Names that I have on my list: Blake, Cole, Eli, Miles, Milo, Quinn, Clark, Elliott

Names that my husband likes: Elijah, William, Drew

Names we like but can't use: Henry, Wesley (Wes rhymes with Tess (that would be weird, right?))

2-year-old big sis suggests: Elmo

I usually prefer shorter names, but longer names can appeal to me if I don't have to exert a lot of effort to say it. My husband likes biblical names. I generally don't. I would prefer to avoid the "-en, -on, -an" ending that just about every little boy I know has. No "R" or "T" first initial. Of course, if the perfect name is found then these rules can just go out the window.

You wouldn't want to consider the name John, would you? I've sung the name's praises before, but I can always be counted on to sing another chorus. In my experience, it's a surprisingly satisfying name: it seems boring during the consideration process, but over the months and years it is more and more pleasing to say. It FEELS common, and yet hardly any children are using the name: many of the boys named John go by Jack, or by some other name to distinguish them from the Sr., Jr., etc. they're named for. The spelling "Jon" gives it a cooler, more up-to-date look, I think, though it's more likely to be mistaken for a short form of Jonathan. I think it's terrific with the sibling names: Rose, Tess, and John. It's a name that is definitely Biblical, and yet certainly not the sole possession of the Biblical realm.

If John is out of the running, it seems like Eli is your perfect compromise name; perhaps you'd prefer the long form Elias over your husband's suggestion of Elijah. If that's giving you a "meh" feeling, here are some other shorties (I used a heavy hand with Biblical-but-not-ONLY-Biblical) to consider:

Abe; Rose, Tess, and Abe
Adam; Rose, Tess, and Adam
Ian; Rose, Tess, and Ian
James; Rose, Tess, and James
Jude; Rose, Tess, and Jude
Joel; Rose, Tess, and Joel
Karl; Rose, Tess, and Karl
Liam; Rose, Tess, and Liam
Luke; Rose, Tess, and Luke
Paul; Rose, Tess, and Paul

Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see below.]

Poll results (301 votes total):
John: 36 votes, roughly 12%
Eli: 69 votes, roughly 23%
Abe: 14 votes, roughly 5%
Adam: 12 votes, roughly 4%
Ian: 18 votes, roughly 6%
James: 23 votes, roughly 8%
Jude: 43 votes, roughly 14%
Joel: 7 votes, roughly 2%
Karl: 2 votes, roughly 1%
Liam: 24 votes, roughly 8%
Luke: 40 votes, roughly 13%
Paul: 13 votes, roughly 4%

Name update 11-13-2010: Eli!

Where's the "E, L, P, W, and ?" post?

I took down yesterday's "E, L, P, W, and ?" post and the four polls that went with it. The letter-writer emailed me and said she hadn't realized her question would be posted, and asked to have it taken down.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Introducing and/or Changing a Nickname

Kate writes:
My husband and I are due to have a boy in February, and we have fully settled on what his name will be, but the problem for us comes from the nickname. The baby's name will be Charles Marshall, our last name is very Irish and can also be a girl's first name, but isn't really important to the nickname issue.

The problem is, that we both LOVE the name Chuck and would like to call him that. However, when I think of a brand new wrinkly cute little baby, the name Chuck just seems so wrong, and I think a lot of our family and friends will have a hard time using Chuck as his name. I am pretty certain that most of them will lean towards calling him Charlie. Which we are not necessarily opposed to, but I don't want that to be his name for all of his life.

So, my question is, can you switch nicknames, ie. call him Charlie when he's small and cute and then switch to Chuck when he grows into it? If so, when would we do that, is there a certain age where that would be appropriate?? I would really like for him to be Chuck by the time he goes to school as that seems to be where you really grow into your identity. Should we just stick with Chuck and force people to like it, I think that eventually he will grow into the name and people will see, as we do, how cute it really is. Or do we tell people his name is Charles, and allow everyone to come up with their own versions of a nickname for him?

Also, do you think that we should tell his name to everyone before he's born to give them time to adjust to it, or wait till they meet him when there will likely be less controversy over the nickname since everyone will be overwhelmed by his cuteness??

The maxim "Start as you mean to go on" comes to mind. If you think you might encounter resistance to the nickname Chuck, and if you think the path of least resistance for your friends and relatives is the nickname Charlie, you might lose control of the nickname if you don't seize control of it right from the start. "Charlie" and "Chuck" are so different, I think if you start off with Charlie you may find yourself ending up with Charlie, too.

I think if I were having baby and calling him Chuck, I would on the very first day announce him as "Charles---we're calling him Chuck," and then I would immediately give him a set of Funny Baby Nicknames. "Chicken" comes to mind, because it's cute and fun to say to/about a baby, but it's so similar to the name Chuck, it lets people sort of EASE into it. But it can be anything that comes to mind when you meet him. "Little Guy." "Mr. Cheeks." "Hedgehog." "Tumsy." "Frog-Feet." All of those and more.

It's really too bad all those scary movies ruined the nickname Chuckie, or I'd recommend starting with that and moving to Chuck later on. Another way to soften a one-syllable or not-very-babyish baby name is to add the word "Baby": "Baby Chuck" is easier to coo lovingly than flat-out "Chuck."

As to whether to tell everyone the chosen nickname before or after the birth---well, families are different. Some families find it easier to hold back the mouthy feedback if they don't hear the name until it's a done deal. Others find it easier if they have some time to get used to the name in private before having to go public with their reactions.

Good luck, Chuck!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Name Update!

Update on Baby Girl or Boy Sidel! Rusti writes:
Our sweet Emma Grace was born on January 6th and we couldn't be happier with her! I want to thank you & all your readers for their help! Hubs still loved Jemma, but after watching me go through delivery, when I said "babe, we aren't naming her Jemma" he said "what do you want?" and we agreed that Emma Grace was perfect!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Celebrity Baby Names: Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck

My friend SaLy reminded me we haven't yet discussed the name of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's second daughter.

I've been thinking about it since I heard it, and...I can't decide! Can you? On the pro side, it's like the name Sara/Sarah, but with something different on the end. This is an excellent formula for making an unusual name that still feels familiar---and it leaves a good plain nickname for a baby who grows up more left-brained than right-brained. On the con side, SPELLING OMG. I had to keep looking it up again and Again and AGAIN. I kept wanting to spell it Serephina or Saraphina or Sarephina or Sarefina or Serafina or Sarafina or Serefina. Even after I thought I'd gotten the hang of it, I wrote it Sarephina, then corrected it to Serephina. DANG IT! I'm still not positive I've got it right.

So what do you think of the name? Let's put a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see below.]

Poll results (306 votes total):
I like it! I'd use it!: 40 votes, roughly 13%
I like it for someone else's baby: 164 votes, roughly 53%
Neutral / no opinion: 20 votes, roughly 6%
Mild dislike: 62 votes, roughly 20%
Strong dislike: 20 votes, roughly 6%

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl MOE-zhur

Arwen writes:
My husband and I have a Boy Name Issue.

When I was pregnant with our daughter who is now two, we didn't find out her sex before she was born. We also found ourselves completely unable to agree on a single boy name we both liked. I was in labor and we were still trying to think of a name! We would have been in such big trouble if our daughter had been a boy instead!

Fortunately she is a girl, and her name is Camilla Claire. Camilla is a name I've always loved, which was pushed to the top of our list when my husband's grandmother, who was called Camilla, died two months before our girl was born. Our last name is pronounced MOE-zhur and I love the whole combination of our daughter's name. Two years later I'm still very happy with it.

But now I am 38 weeks pregnant with baby #2. We've got a list of girl names and we'll be fine if this baby is a girl, but if it's a boy, we're back to square one.

The problem is, I have two naming priorities that seem to be at odds with one another.

1) It's important to me that sibling names fit with each other. I don't care so much about them *sounding* good together, as much as being in the same general category. My mom calls this the "Bailey and Alessandra" problem - if you name one of your kids a gender-neutral modern name like Bailey, you can't give a sibling an ultra-feminine romantic name like Alessandra. It's just... wrong.

Since we've gone the strong-gendered, slightly-old-fashioned route with Camilla's name, I'd like to stick with that as a general theme. But I don't care, like I said, about the names sounding good together. For instance, if the name Lillian were a name we liked, we'd use it even though "Camilla and Lillian" sounds a little weird because of all the "ill". We're hoping to have a lot of kids, so I'm considering the sibling-names-are-like-a-poem a lost cause from the outset.

2) Unfortunately, a lot of the names that I think of as being in the same general category as Camilla are getting really popular. William, for instance (although William itself is not a favorite of mine.) And it's important to me that all our children's names be relatively unpopular. My name, Arwen, is incredibly unusual and I've always loved having an unusual name. I'm the oldest of six and four of my siblings have names as unusual as mine, but I also have a brother named Brandon. My parents didn't realize the name was popular when they used it, but poor Brandon has always complained about being different in his own family, just because he has a name that people have heard before. I really want to avoid a situation like this with any of our children. It's why we decided not to go the really-unusual route with our kids' names, even though there were a couple we liked, because there were ONLY a couple we liked and I wanted to avoid a situation like my parents inadvertently created. So it's a priority for us that our kids' names not be in the top 300 or so - in my ideal, the reaction people would have to all our kids' names is the reaction they have to Camilla - they've heard the name before, but don't usually know anyone who shares it. (Not that I care so much about what other people think about the name, I'm just giving my definition of the level of popularity we're going for.)

Now, you can see the dilemma, right? It seems like ALL of the names I think of as classic boys' names are in the top 300. Daniel, Christopher, James, William. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, for that matter. If you look at the same general popularity level as Camilla's name (#822 in 2006, the year she was born, although that's a little misleading because Camila and Camille were more popular) you get boy names like Prince and Jaron, Alden and Adonis. Perfectly fine names all, but not exactly the classics we're going for.

So what I'm hoping is that you can help me find some names that are classic-ish and not too common that we could use for a boy. They don't have to be names your grandfather would have been named, as long as they sound like names your grandfather could have been named. I know there must be something out there, and if anyone knows how to find it, you do!

We're not worried about middle names - we are not picky about middle names and will have no trouble finding a harmonious match once we've got the first name sorted out. The name should sound good with our last name, though, which leaves out names with long Os and names that end in -er. Otherwise, the sky's the limit!

I KNOW, RIGHT?? It's a terrible problem, and one of the reasons boy names are such a challenge. Well, let's see if we can find something anyway. I'm doing this the manual way: I'm going to the Social Security baby names website, calling up the Top 1000 names for 2007, starting at 300 and working toward 1000. As I looked at each name, I screened it:

1) Is it a name that's familiar to me? If yes, move to second screening test; if no, reject.

2) Does it sound like it could have been a few generations back in my family tree? If yes, move to third screening test; if no, reject.

3) Is it a name I LIKE, or a name I think I'm READY to like? If yes, add to list; if no, reject.

So you can see that if each of the readers of this blog went through the same process, we'd all wind up with very different lists: a small tweak of the family tree or a small tweak in geographical region or a small tweak in naming tastes, and suddenly we have a radically different list. But onward! Here's my list:

Saul, #309
Silas, #346
Albert, #371
Russell, #408
Franklin, #470
Warren, #514
Gideon, #528
Frederick, #531
Alfred, #742
Conrad, #815
Karl, #862 (the spelling Carl is #450; combined, they'd be about #368)

My favorite is Karl, which sounds great with MOE-zhur and with Camilla. I also like Franklin MOE-zhur and Frederick MOE-zhur; Camilla and Franklin, Camilla and Frederick.

I'll put a poll over to the right to see what everyone else thinks. [Poll closed; see below.]

Edit: Okay, so while I was laboring over this post, Arwen was laboring over a LABOR: she had the baby and named him Blaise Alexander, and holy bersneezes but I need to CATCH UP with the BACKLOG so that I am not GIVING ADVICE while people are GIVING BIRTH. Let's keep the voting going anyway, even though it won't apply to Baby Blaise: future babies may benefit from their parents knowing what the popular opinion is of these names.

Poll results (234 votes total):
Saul: 11 votes, roughly 5%
Silas: 54 votes, roughly 23%
Albert: 3 votes, roughly 1%
Russell: 15 votes, roughly 6%
Franklin: 33 votes, roughly 14%
Warren: 17 votes, roughly 7%
Gideon: 29 votes, roughly 12%
Frederick: 42 votes, roughly 18%
Alfred: 3 votes, roughly 1%
Conrad: 16 votes, roughly 7%
Karl: 11 votes, roughly 5%

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Name Update!

Update on Baby Girl or Boy F.o.l.e.y.! J. writes:
We finally had a baby girl yesterday, January 16 (I guess she just needed extra time to get those sweet chubby rolls!), and we decided to name her Eleanor Megan. Thanks so much for the votes!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby Girl or Boy Winston

Charlotte writes:
I'm due in late January and need a name! We decided to wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl. We're looking for a name that is easily to spell and pronounce but not too popular, something a bit old-fashioned, and something that sounds sophisticated. We love the way our daughter's name sounds - Rose Ophelia Winston - and want to match that with our next child's name.

For girls, my two favorites are Hazel and Lilac; his two favorites are Cora and Pearl. We're also considering Margot and Gabrielle. I'd like something longer and very feminine for the middle name. We've been tossing around ideas like Adelaide, Isadora, and Marguerite, and we'd love some suggestions! For combos, we currently have Hazel Isadora and Pearl Marguerite on our list, but we're looking for more.

For boys, we like Clark, Isaac, Dexter, and Conrad. I really like Edward, but we're only considering it as a middle name - the initials EW aren't exactly desirable. We're also thinking of Rex as a middle name. It was my husband's favorite for a boy, but I'm not crazy about it, and Rose and Rex are too close, anyways. For middle names, we're looking for something long (3 - 4 syllables) and strong sounding. We've been discussing Oliver, Nathaniel, Alexander, and Benjamin, but we're open to suggestions.

Thank you! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

There are so many good names here, it's hard to know where to start. ...Wait, no it isn't: I'll start with Cora. One of the great sadnesses of my childbearing years is that my surname doesn't work with the name Cora. With your surname, it's terrific: Cora Winston. I WANT THAT NAME. And it is so perfect with Rose: Rose and Cora. Not at all matchy, but totally coordinated. Cora! I like Cora.

Cora Gabriella Winston (CGW)
Cora Francesca Winston (CFW)
Cora Valentina Winston (CVW)
Cora Josephine Winston (CJW)
Cora Felicity Winston (CFW)
Cora Philomena Winston (CPW)

Of your boy choices, my favorites are Clark and Isaac---but with your surname, my favorite is Isaac. Isaac Winston. Rose and Isaac. Very, very nice. I like it with three of your middle name choices and with two of your other first name choices, and I'll add a few more possibilities.

Isaac Edward Winston (IEW)
Isaac Nathaniel Winston (INW)
Isaac Alexander Winston (IAW)
Isaac Dexter Winston (IDW)
Isaac Conrad Winston (ICW)
Isaac Augustus Winston (IAW)
Isaac Edmund Winston (IEW)
Isaac Theodore Winston (ITW)

I'll put two polls (one for girl names, one for boy names) over to the right with all the first name choices, so everyone else can pick favorites. [Polls closed; see below for results.]

Poll results:

Girl names (251 votes total):
Hazel: 34 votes, roughly 14%
Lilac: 4 votes, roughly 2%
Cora: 137 votes, roughly 55%
Pearl: 15 votes, roughly 6%
Margot: 44 votes, roughly 18%
Gabrielle: 17 votes, roughly 7%

Boy names (238 votes total):
Clark: 43 votes, roughly 18%
Isaac: 128 votes, roughly 54%
Dexter: 32 votes, roughly 13%
Conrad: 35 votes, roughly 15%

Name update 01-30-2009! Charlotte writes:
Cora Genevieve Winston made her grand debut on January 23, 2009 at 9:26 AM! I am completely crazy in love with her! :) She is so tiny and beautiful. Thank you so much for all the help with her name. We've been getting so many compliments on it. Rose has been cooing "Co-Wah" and "Coco". Our second choice was Cora Gabrielle. Once again, thank you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl "Drizzle"

Angie writes:
Our second child, sex unknown, will be joining our family at the end of the month. Big sister is Nora Grace and she just turned two. We are pretty settled on a boy's name, either Henry Isaac or Charles (Charlie) Isaac, but are having some serious trouble coming up with a middle name for a daughter.

We had originally picked out Penelope Jane if this child is a girl, however due to a brand new addition to the family, I am thinking that Penelope (possible nn Nell) is too close to our new niece Elle and have decided to move on. My husband thinks I am crazy, he may be right, but he's humoring me. We have really liked the name Ruth (Ruthie) through this whole pregnancy so we were more than comfortable returning to it. The problem I'm having is with the middle name. We originally decided on Ruth Allison. Then I convinced my husband to agree to Ruth Emilia. I think I am leaning towards a more contemporary name to balance out Ruth. The latest one I like (as of this morning) is Ruth Harper. Selling Harper to the hubs will be a long shot.

Do you think you and your readers could please, please help us come up with a perfect middle name for a baby girl named Ruth? Also, our last name starts with a D (it kind of sounds like "drizzle") so any names starting with I or O are out.

Out of curiosity, am I really crazy for thinking Penelope is too "close" to Elle Marie? Of those I have asked, the consensus is split.

Oh, fun. Let's definitely have a poll about the Penelope/Elle question. In my opinion, it's not too close, even if you were 100% sure you would use the nickname Nell. I suppose I wouldn't name two sisters Elle and Penelope, but cousins should be okay. ...Though if they get along, they'll probably like it and go around calling themselves "Elle and Nell! Elle and Nell! Elle and Nell! Elle and Nell!..." until you wish you'd gone with Ruth.

So let's discuss Ruth. Any middle name starting with a vowel is going to give you word-initials: RAD, RED, RID, ROD, or RUD. Okay, fine, RUD is not a word, but the other four are.

Different people have different preferences when it comes to the rhythm of a name. For a 1-syllable first name and a 2-syllable surname, I like a 4-syllable middle name with the emphasis on the second syllable (picky much?): Ruth Penelope Drizzle (RPD). Ruth Felicity Drizzle (RFD). Ruth Elizabeth Drizzle (RED). Ruth Amelia Drizzle (RAD) or Ruth Emelia Drizzle (RED). Ruth Cordelia Drizzle (RCD). Ruth Victoria Drizzle (RVD). Ruth Cecelia Drizzle (RCD). Like that.

I also like the sound of 2-syllable middle names with the emphasis on the second syllable: Ruth Nicole Drizzle (RND). Ruth Louise Drizzle (RLD). Ruth Noelle Drizzle (RND). Ruth Simone Drizzle (RSD). Ruth Marie Drizzle (RMD). Like that.

And I also like the sound of 3-syllable middle names with the emphasis on the second syllable: Ruth Clarissa Drizzle (RCD). Ruth Delaney Drizzle (RDD). Ruth Geneva Drizzle (RGD). Ruth Jacinta Drizzle (RJD). Ruth Matilda Drizzle (RMD). Ruth Mckenna Drizzle (RMD).

This is too many options for a reasonable poll, so I'll put the "Is Penelope too close to Elle?" poll over to the right [poll closed; see below], and we can put middle name suggestions/votes for Ruth in the comments section.

Poll results (271 votes total) for "Is Penelope too close to Elle for cousins?":
Yes: 44 votes, roughly 16%
No: 227 votes, roughly 84%

Name update 01-31-2009! Angie writes:
I just wanted to thank you and your readers for all of your great suggestions and helping us with our baby girl names! I did decide to put Penelope back in the hat thanks to your poll and comments, and we decided to wait to see the baby to make up our minds. After all of that, on January 23 at 1:37pm I delivered a 8lb 11 oz baby BOY and we named him Henry Isaac. He is the sweetest thing ever and we and so blessed to welcome him to our family.

Thanks again!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Name Update!

Update on Baby Girl! Jenna writes:
Thank you so much to all who commented on our posting to find the perfect name for our little girl. Teagan Lily was born January 2nd and fit her name perfectly!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: A Baby Who Won't Live

Catherine writes:
Here's my dilemma, and I will TOTALLY understand if you do not want to post it because, talk about killing the mood. But if you would like to share with your readers or just respond on your own I would welcome your advice.

I am pregnant with a baby who is not going to live (our third). We are 100% certain of this. We would still like to give him a name. The question is, what. My husband really likes Benjamin, which I think is OK, but kind of boring. I like Sam and Nicholas (I know, equally as boring as Benjamin) and lately am really taken with Simon. The "simple Simon" thing bugs me a lot though. I've always liked Theodore because of the nickname Teddy, but my husband never has. A family name that we kind of like but were a little chicken to use (and it doesn't really go with our other son's name) is Anton. We had ruled out names that start with J (or j-sound) or end with O because of our other kids' names and our last name. But maybe that doesn't matter now.

I think we should choose a more unusual name, because I worry that if we chose, say, Ben, then we will frequently meet little boys named Ben, and that will be hard. Then again, would I feel all "it's a sign" if we chose an unusual name, and then we run into a boy with that name?

OR, should we choose some kind of angel or commemorative type of name, like Gabriel. I don't know what other choices there would be (brother-in-law and late father-in-law are both Michael, so I wouldn't want that).

Anyway this is long and rambly, but I would love your thoughts if you are up for it.

I suspect that you will think regularly for the rest of your life about this baby. Because you won't have the chance to get to know your little boy, his name will be one of the only things you do have of him. This makes the name choice very important.

I don't know if it's the same for you, but with each of my pregnancies I've found that some of the names on my list feel like "my baby," and others don't. I love the names Carson and Frederick, for example, but does either name feel like My Baby? No. So I don't use either name myself, even though I love both of them.

I think you'll be happiest with your decision if you choose a name that FEELS LIKE this baby, a name that brings him strongly to your mind. Do any of the names on your list of possibilities give you a rush of recognition? Do any of them feel like his name?

I think you can disregard some of the things you might normally take into consideration, such as how well the name goes with your surname or with the sibling names.

I am hoping others can give advice as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Name Update!

Update on Baby Boy Martel! Elise writes:
Oliver Charles Martel came into the world on December 20, 2008. Our family is so thankful for our little Christmas baby. :) Thank you so much for helping us pick the perfect name!

Baby Girl or Boy F.o.l.e.y.

J. writes:
I am due at the very beginning of January with my second baby, and we don't know the gender. We have one son whose name is Declan Christopher James (the two middle names are for a specific reason, but not one we need to repeat with this baby). Our last name is F.o.l.e.y., thus rendering most names that end with -y, -ie, and especially -lie too cutsey or sing-songy for our tastes. If you couldn't tell from our son's name or our last name, we're Irish, but a lot of the Irish names we like (ex. Aiobheann) are terribly difficult to spell or pronounce in English, so we're willing to branch out, unless someone has any suggestions.

At this point, I think we've whittled our list down to either Eleanor Megan or Margot Anne for a girl, and Elliot Somers, Miles Thomas, and Winston Somers for a boy. All of the middle names are family names, so we're set on using those, but we're open to suggestions for first names. My husband also likes Miles for a boy, and I like Adrian and Julian (neither one of us has managed to sell the other on any of those, but we also haven't eliminated them), and we both like Maura for a girl.

We'd love additional suggestions, as well as opinions on the names we've already listed.


I really, really like your choices. If you twisted my arm and forced me to choose, I'd choose Eleanor Megan for a girl and Elliot Somers for a boy, but I don't think you can go wrong no matter what you choose. I'm going to make two polls, one for the girl names and one for the boy names. Polls are over to the right [polls closed; see below]---let's vote! And hurry: baby is due at the very beginning of January, and ACK! we are a week into it.

Poll results, girl names (232 votes total):
Eleanor Megan: 136 votes, roughly 59%
Margot Anne: 96 votes, roughly 41%

Poll results, boy names (231 votes total):
Elliot Somers: 99 votes, roughly 43%
Miles Thomas: 105 votes, roughly 45%
Winston Somers: 27 votes, roughly 12%

Name update 01-17-2009! J. writes:
We finally had a baby girl yesterday, January 16 (I guess she just needed extra time to get those sweet chubby rolls!), and we decided to name her Eleanor Megan. Thanks so much for the votes!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Baby Girl or Boy S., Sibling to Norah and Lucy

S. writes:
I am due with my third child in January. I have 2 girls, Norah Rae and Lucy Mae. Norah came from my grandma, Eleanor and grandpa, Ray. Lucy is named after a great-grandmother on my husband's side. Lucy's birthday is May 1st so my husband really wanted her middle name to be Mae. I am not a fan of rhyming middle names - but oh well. Anyway, we are having a hard time coming up with names we both agree on. This time around we don't want to do a family name so we have a lot of options. For a girl, I like older names, Daphne, Ruby, Daisy. My husband really likes Isabel or Izzy for short. I am not a huge fan of nicknames. He also like Campbell. I prefer names that are 6 letters or less and no more than 2 syllables (we have a longer, uncommon last name).

For a boy, my husband really likes Maddox, but I don't want people to shorten it to Mad and I have a brother Max, so we wouldn't go with that. I really like Rex - I don't think my husband is sold on that one. I also like Brady. We like solid boys names, but not necessarily traditional boys names.

Also, we don't care for names that end in en, on, or an (because it would rhyme with our last name).

I certainly want a name that goes well with Norah and Lucy. Help!

Girl names first! A few of the ones in my list break either the 6-letter or the 2-syllable rule, but I left them in because I liked them anyway, or because I felt like they SEEMED shorter than they were.

Norah, Lucy, and Audra
Norah, Lucy, and Claire
Norah, Lucy, and Eliza
Norah, Lucy, and Georgia
Norah, Lucy, and Hazel
Norah, Lucy, and Julia
Norah, Lucy, and Molly
Norah, Lucy, and Pearl
Norah, Lucy, and Rose
Norah, Lucy, and Violet

Now boy names. These were harder. For one thing, a lot of the good, solid-but-not-necessarily traditional names end in the -en sound. But how about your husband's girl-name idea Campbell? I know it's longer than you'd like, but it's a good, solid boy name that goes nicely with your girl names: Norah, Lucy, and Campbell.

Because Maddox and Brady are both surname names, and because I think surname names have that "solid but not necessarily traditional" sound, I went through the Last Names First section of The Baby Name Wizard to find a few other possibilities:

Norah, Lucy, and Archer
Norah, Lucy, and Asher
Norah, Lucy, and Baxter
Norah, Lucy, and Campbell
Norah, Lucy, and Carter
Norah, Lucy, and Grady
Norah, Lucy, and Grant
Norah, Lucy, and Jared

Let's do TWO polls over to the right, one for the girl names and one for the boy names. [Polls closed; see below for results.]

Poll results, girl names (273 votes total):
Audra: 23 votes, roughly 8%
Claire: 99 votes, roughly 36%
Eliza: 19 votes, roughly 7%
Georgia: 23 votes, roughly 8%
Hazel: 26 votes, roughly 10%
Julia: 5 votes, roughly 2%
Molly: 23 votes, roughly 8%
Pearl: 16 votes, roughly 6%
Rose: 21 votes, roughly 8%
Violet: 18 votes, roughly 7%

Poll results, boy names (248 votes total):
Archer: 31 votes, roughly 13%
Asher: 32 votes, roughly 13%
Baxter: 15 votes, roughly 6%
Campbell: 48 votes, roughly 19%
Carter: 39 votes, roughly 16%
Grady: 20 votes, roughly 8%
Grant: 51 votes, roughly 21%
Jared: 12 votes, roughly 5%

Friday, January 2, 2009

Baby Girl "Leonardo"

Catherine writes:
Our daughter is due around New Years. We've reached an impasse and need some help.

Some ground rules:
  • Our last name is 4 syllables, lovely, uncommon, starts with an L and is rather commanding; similar to Leonardo. So nothing too long (as much as we love it, no Juliana / Alexandra / etc.). Also, nothing that starts with an L (we liked Lillian / Lauren, but had to leave them out)

  • Nothing too trendy or "weird", and no "creative" spellings. We are looking for simple, elegant names with a little whimsy.

  • Must go with Benjamin Henry -- we would like to use it if we have a boy

Our favorites so far are Julie / Julia and Natalie

We keep coming back to Julie / Julia Elisabeth but can't figure out which to use. We really like Julie (we've used it since we found out it was a girl), and don't like Julia that much. I'm worried Julie will start sounding dated soon, but it's popular in Europe, so maybe? With our last name, Julie hardly sounds boring. Plus Julia, Natalie and Sophie just doesn't work as well as Julie, Natalie and Sophie. We'd like to use those if we have more girls, and I love love love "Ben & Julie". But maybe we could put Julia on the birth certificate but call her Julie, and she could choose to use Julia if she wanted. Would love some input on the status of Julie vs. Julia these days.

Natalie keeps coming up and I must admit it's growing on me a lot. But we can't agree on a middle name that we both love. I love Natalie Frances except for one thing -- the initials (NFL). Football fan I am not, and even if I were I don't think I could go through with it. Can't use Frances for a first (family reasons). I like Natalie Eleanor but my husband prefers Natalie Elisabeth. We just can't agree. See the baby name wizard's comment on Eleanor. So true for us! Natalie Therese works, and we both like it a lot, but, we just don't love it. Other middle names for Natalie?

Would love some input on all this, especially the Julie / Julia issue.

I think that if you like Julie and don't like Julia much, you should use Julie and not use Julia. I think of Julie as its own name, and don't think it needs to be a nickname for another name. The only thing I'm wondering is if the "-lee" ending sounds awkward with the "Lee-" beginning of your surname. Julie Leonardo, for example, would have a juLEE LEEonardo issue, as would Natalie Leonardo. It's a minor issue, though, and not one that would rule out the name for me.

Julie is indeed the 1960s/1970s version of the name, whereas Julia has been the version used more often in recent years. A more modern sounding version would be Jolie, but that name is strongly associated with Angelina Jolie. Pretty name, though, and in fact the name means "pretty."

You say you like the name Lillian; how about Jillian? You could call her Jilly, which is one vowel sound off from Julie. Jillian Leonardo has a pleasing repeating lee sound (because the lee is in the middle of the first name rather than at the end), has a more modern sound than Julie, and I think it's nice with Benjamin: Jillian and Benjamin, Jilly and Ben. I'd go with Jillian Frances, I think, but I also like Jillian Elisabeth.

Let's put the candidates in a poll to the right and see what everyone thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.] After you vote for a first name, come to the comment section to discuss middle name preferences: Elisabeth, Frances, Eleanor, Therese.

Poll results (227 votes total):
Julie: 46 votes, roughly 20%
Julia: 51 votes, roughly 22%
Jillian/Jilly: 106 votes, roughly 47%
Natalie: 24 votes, roughly 11%

Name update 01-03-2009! Catherine writes:
We welcomed Julia Elisabeth (with an -s-) into the world on December 30th. We'll call her Julie or Jules, but she'll have a lovely grownup name to use in the "real world." I also fell in love with the Beatles song "Julia" recently, so that helped. We are happy with our choice. My husband loves the name Elisabeth / Elizabeth, so we went with that (though I won on the -s- vs. -z- issue!). I'm still not crazy about her initials (JEL) but honestly I don't think it's that important. We're really happy with the name, and so far it seems to suit her quite nicely.