The babe is expected to arrive March 4. Since we didn't find out if we're having a boy or a girl, our list of potential names is pretty long. Our last name, while spelled differently, is pronounced Niles. We both tend to like somewhat uncommon names, but nothing too crazy.
Currently, our top boy contender is Oliver James (which I just saw another mom-to-be mention on the site TODAY). My husband's father's name is James and his own middle name is James and I just like it. Oliver is my husband's best friend's middle name. And I've always loved it. Some of the other boy names we like but have ruled out (for the most part): Mason, Elliot, Finn, Leif, Isaiah, Asher. Mostly we're pretty solid on Oliver James, but still open to discussion.
Now, the girls names are a bit more up in the air. I'd like to use the middle name Lee--it's my mother's middle name and we are super close. But most of the names I choose with Lee as the middle name end up making the name sound like an adjective. For example, my favorite girls name at the moment is Hazel. But Hazel Lee sounds like "Hazily," and I am not sure what that even means. Some other names we love: Amelia (Amelia Lee?), Mabel (Mabel Lee sounds like Maybeline), Sloane, Violet (we've canceled this one for it's growing popularity, but I still love it), Wren, Pearl, Evangeline, Olive, and Harlow. My newest favorite name is Maizey. Some middle names I like in general are: Rose, Grace, Eden. His mother and sister's middle names are Marie, which I like, but I'm not very close to them so that feels weird to me.
Some names my husband likes that I've canceled for various reasons: Zoe, Piper, Lily, and Matilda.
I can't wait to hear your suggestions!
I am totally on board with Oliver James for a boy. It's a great name and would be on my own list too.
When I look at your girl name list, I'm looking for names that go well with Oliver: a name you've settled on is a good measure of your naming style, but also if you have a girl this time you might later have a boy and want to name him Oliver. The name Olive brings you to a decision: which do you like better, Oliver or Olive?
I see what you mean about the Lee issue, but I think it's okay: people are so accustomed to Lee as a middle name, there's a natural pause. The only name it would rule out for me is Mabel, because I agree with you about Maybelline. Another issue with the middle name Lee is that it gives you a triple L sound: almost all your girl name possibilities have an L in them, and your surname has an L, too. Does your mom's first name or maiden name have any middle-name-slot potential?
I looked up the name Hazel in The Baby Name Wizard, and I see that four of the five sister names are already on your list: Pearl, Violet, Mazie, Olive. The fifth is one you may want to consider: Millicent. I completely agree with The Baby Name Wizard's assessment: "It's hard to picture a Millicent in little girl's pigtails instead of white hair...but if you manage, it's a surprisingly adorable image." YES. I can picture it! A sweet little Milly!
Name update 04-14-2010! Annie writes:
I've been meaning to write you an update for Baby Nihls (Baby Niles on your site)--Amelia Lee was born on March 3 at home! She's actually 6 weeks today and doing great!! (And we call her Millie.)
Thanks again for your help with the naming...I am definitely keeping Oliver James in mind for the next go-round (in the way future).