The Baby Name Game

I don’t usually do reposts of past blogs, but the comments on this one (almost exactly) 2 years ago were just so fun to read that I thought I’d be depriving anyone new-ish around here of a treat if I didn’t reshare. Also, I know several of you have had babies since then, so I’d love it if you’d update in the comments about whether you stayed with your “name theme” with your newest kiddo(s). ALSO also, if you’ve already read it, feel free to skip to the end where I give you an (extremely ambiguous and unhelpful) hint about Baby #7′s name. :)
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I had a reader ask me about my process for choosing baby names last week, and it got me thinking about a) whether I even have a process, and b) what in blue blazes it is if I do?

And here’s what I’ve decided: I don’t really have a baby name picking process so much as a baby name picking quirk.

For lack of a better term, I’m calling it “name parallelism.”

There’s this thing in grammar called verb parallelism in which you are supposed to keep the form of your verb consistent throughout a sentence. For example, if you’re going with the gerund (a verb ending in “ing” that’s been made into a noun), then you would say, “I like fishing, eating ice cream, and playing in the rain.”

If you were going with the infinitive (the word “to” + an action), you would say: “I like to fish, to eat ice cream, and to play in the rain.”

However, you’re not supposed to say: “I like fishing, eating ice cream, and to play in the rain.”

Mostly just because it’s awkward.

So, why the grammar lesson? Because a) I’m a grammar freak (and, yes, I realize that there are typos and grammar mistakes on this here little ol’ blog in practically every post; I may be a freak, but I don’t catch every mistake…and, sometimes when I do catch one after I’ve already hit publish, I’m too lazy to fix it :) ), and b) the little twitch I get when I read a non-parallel sentence is the same one I get when I think about my children’s names not being parallel.  Or not “matching,” to put it in less geekish terms.

In the words of the immortal Inigo Montoya: “Lemme ‘splain.”

If I had two children, a boy and a girl, and named the first one John and the second one Mary, then I could never, under any circumstances, name a third Rocket. No matter how much I adored the name Rocket. No matter how much it made my soul sing. It would just drive me nuts. And then my soul would stop singing forever. (See? Quirky).

Honestly, I think most people have this in them to some extent since most families with multiple children that I encounter have a pretty high degree of name parallelism.

Keep in mind that this particular quirk is not the same thing as the First Letter Quirk. (See the Duggars and their thing with “J’s”).

But, if you were to look at all of my children’s names, you would see that they have two things in common: 1) they are old-fashioned, somewhat unusual names and 2) they are all only two syllables long (when it comes down to what we actually call them). Ez-ra, Si-mon, Del-la, Ev-y, No-la. Theo. I tend to think that the length thing is purely coincidental, but maybe it’s actually another subconscious name quirk that I have. I guess I need to try to name a kid something longer than two syllables and then actually call him that and see if it makes me itch.

ANYhoo, just for fun, I put together a little graphic of different kinds of name that I consider “parallel.” Feel free to disagree or chime in with more!

baby name game It’s interesting to me how, with both the trend-setters (AKA: “I really like last names!”) and the hipsters, there’s a lot of gender ambiguity within the names themselves. Is Taylor a girl or boy? What about Quinn? (I have friends who both have kids named Quinn almost exactly the same age, and one’s a boy, and the other’s a girl). Whereas, with the traditional names, there’s no doubt. Whoever heard of a boy named Caroline??

Of course, as much as I like many of the names above, I fall into a completely different category (the ones above are by no means exhaustive, of course), which I will tentatively call: oldfashioned rebel

Again, these are not ALL the names I like, but they are my favorite kinds of names and–in my strange little mind, at least–they have the same vibe. They’re not your everyday-average-go-to’s, but neither do they inspire visions of dreadlocks and nose rings (nothing inherently wrong with either; they’re just not “me”).

So, what about it, folks? Do you have a name-picking philosophy? Am I the only one who’s weird about names needing to “match?” The funny thing is that it doesn’t usually bother me when I encounter a lack of name parallelism in other families; just mine.

Do you fall into a particular category? Or is it just a “whatever I like” kind of thing? Honestly, I go with what I like. And my husband tends to think like I do (although he has both vetoed a few of my more outlandish preferences and promoted some that I didn’t expect. See: Magnolia). But what I like tends to be pretty consistent.

P.S. Unlike last time, Baby #7′s name is nowhere to be found in the above list. We’re going a little rogue with this one. Not too crazy. But we figured it was time for something a bit different. It still “matches” (again, in my quirky little mind), but it’s not nearly as “normal” as the rest. Feel free to guess away to your heart’s content!

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88 thoughts on “The Baby Name Game

  1. I love this. I always like to know people’s naking philosphy and love families whose kids’ names are beautifully symmetrical.
    We went a little funny with our kids names. We have Levi, Rhynn, Luke, and Raya. So our boys are more common/biblical and our girls are unique but still have real meaning. When expecting our second daughter, we considered Eleanor, after a late great-grandmother, but it just didn’t work with Rhynn. She also has a late great-grandfather Ray, so Raya Grace made a lot of sense. Plus, it’s beautiful and means “friend of God.”

  2. I commented on your most recent blog entry yesterday asking this same question, so please disregard answering!

    I have a very similar baby naming quirk! I don’t even know if it was intentional with the first few children we named, but the more children we have the more quirky I get!

    It may not make sense to everyone else, but in my own mind it does. And I can’t exactly label the type of names I prefer; it’s just that I know what I like when I see it, and if it coordinates with our other children’s names then it finds a place on my ever going list. Our five daughters’ and one son’s names are:
    Mallory (Mal), Leanna (Le-le), Amelia (Me-me), Delaney (Laney), Oliver (Ollie), and Eleanor (Ellie). We actually do not call Oliver and Eleanor, “Ollie” and “Ellie”, but my quirkiness intended for us to.

    They all start with a different letter, are pronounced with 3 syllables, and contain the letter “L” (which is something my husband pointed out a few children ago and just added more criteria for me to sort through). Also, two names end in “y”, two names end in “a”, and two names end in “r”. Their middle names are all family names and have their own parallelism as well.
    If we are blessed with any more children we have a few favorite names lined up, although not all fit my criteria and some even make their own criteria.

    Margaret (Maggie), Harriet (Hattie),
    Solomon (Sol), Theodore (Ted, Teddy)

    My guesses for your baby #7 – all 2 syllables:
    Ari, Caleb, Micah, Luca, Lucas, Niko

  3. Our names don’t fit in one category, but we think they sound nice together. Lyla Grace (born 2010), Benjamin Michael (Ben, born 2013), and Joseph Eoghan (Joey, pronounced “Owen”, born 2 weeks ago!) Lyla, Ben, and Joey. We like Biblical names for boys but Lyla is a wild card.
    We had a hard time agreeing on names! We basically disliked 98% of each other’s name lists. My husband’s preferences fall into the ‘Trendsetter’ category and mine in ‘Old-Fashioned Rebel’ and I guess we mostly met in the middle with ‘Traditional.’

  4. We Use the “dead relatives” category. If our daughter’s first name is from my husband’s side, her middle name is from my side and vice versa. We love using family names because we have so many incredible ones, we don’t feel the need to look elsewhere. Our future children will have family names too.

    1. To add… we have twin girls and Baby A’s first name is from my family and her middle is from my husband’s. Baby B’s first is husband’s, middle from mine. You get the idea. :)

  5. I’m still in college, so I take out my love for names on my fictional characters. Some of my favorites are.

    Boys: Cade, Wyth, Clayton, Skylar (could go either way, but I love it as a guys name)

    Girls: Catalina, Adira, Essa (from Esther), Elspeth, Elswyth, Roden, Gracelynn, Miriel (Miri for short)

    Plus anything Celtic, Old English or Middle-earthy. :) I love your blog and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for #7!!!

  6. Love love love this post! LOVE the baby name obsession. I, too, would have more and more and more kids, just to name them. We have Mylin (my mom’s middle name), Sullivan, Olson (a play on ‘Joel’s son’s), and Imogen. They accidentally all end in a different vowel before the ‘n’. We can’t keep that up forEVER….but have a few more ideas!

  7. We’re big traditionalists here :) There were a few more trendy names I liked but dh nixed them. Elizabeth, Benjamin, Andrew and Gabriel. We’re Jewish and use family names to honor and remember family members who have passed away-so all of my kids’ middle names have significance.

  8. Our four children have Irish first names (Declan, Keelan, Roisin and Seamus) and my maiden name as their middle name. We are expecting baby #5 and will follow the same naming scheme:)

  9. We are totally old fashion rebels as well! Evelyn, Richard, Victoria, and Abel. :) All their middle names start with A’s.

  10. My turn! My turn!
    I LOVE NAMES!!! I have kept a running list of baby names on my phone for the last 5 years. I finally have a man now, but gotta get married first and then plan babies – just my preference.

    Initials are really important to me. My fiancee is JDA, and when I get married and change my name I will be AJA. I love AJA for all the kids initials and have about 40+ “A” names right now (half girl, half boy). Top “A” girl names: Auriella, Aalia, Adriel, Abrielle, Adalynn, Ariana. Top “A” boy names: Auren (LOVE this name as it sounds like my dad’s first name Warren), Asriel (from the movie/book The Golden Compass), Andrew, Alijah, Adrien.

    My obsession is in quirky names, or names that are older – but not trendy names. Names on my “A” list that might be too trendy for me include: (girls) Aurora, Autumn, Africa, (boy) Auburn, August, Atlas. When I first started looking into quirky names, I thought I would pick the names of stars and name my kids after that. Turns out star names are quite ridiculous, most of them have 8-10 letters in them, and are impossible to pronounce. So I threw that idea out the window.

    And when we finally have kids, if we decide that “A” names are not gonna fit for us, I am a HUGE fan of ultra old names, like from the 20′s and earlier. Whenever I watch an older movie I always watch the credits. 20′s names that I love are: (boys) Richard, Charles, Eugene, Clarence, Ernest, Edwin, (girls) Evelyn, Florence, Eleanor, Hazel, Clara, or Constance.

    And the ULTRA nerdy side of me would name all our kids after Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit characters. I mean how cool is Thranduil and Tauriel to say??? Another favorite name from The Golden Compass is Serafina. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

    My idealized way to name a child is exactly how they did it in the Bible – whatever was happening at the time of the birth, that was the child’s name. Unfortunately, the English language doesn’t cater to that very well.

    And now I can talk about you!
    Considering the hints that you gave, my only guess is that baby #7 name won’t come from the Bible. Simply because most Bible names are quite traditional. In the original comments from 2014 someone suggested Silas. I think that would be a phenomenal name to add to your crew! It even passes the 2-syllable test. If I had to take a stab in the dark at a name, I couldn’t even do it. Whenever I look at names I only ever remember the ones that I see working for my own kids – every other name doesn’t even stick in my brain!

    Happy baby naming!

  11. I’ve had a new baby since the last post! We definitely look for unusual names BUT ones that are easy to spell/pronounce, which is harder than you’d think. My boys are Cashel Joseph and Torin Michael, and our just-turned-1-year-old baby girl is Romilly Marigold Joy. I had to do the double middle names for her, because that’s what felt the best to me. I still get so happy when I see her name in print, or hear the whole thing, and I hope she loves it as much as I do.

  12. We have a Irish theme going in our house.
    Bridget
    Erin
    Conor
    Mackenzie
    Pregnant with boy/girl twins which will be Liam and Finley

  13. We have 5 girls and 1 boy:
    Ezra Cody (Cody is my husband’s name)
    Abigayle Joy (the “Gayle” is from my MIL’s name)
    Sophia Grace
    Hannah Rose
    Olivia Faith
    Charlotte April (my name)
    I feel like we fall mostly in the old-fashioned rebel name bracket

  14. I think we fell in the hipster realm. We wanted different but not unusual. So our first is Pearson, named after a nobel prize winner and Prime Minister. But what boy name matches that for a baby brother that doesn’t make him feel like he’s always the baby? Something that also has character and can be equally seen as a leader… naturally, Shepherd. Their middle names are Carlisle and Malone, respectively. I wish I could have 20 kids just to name them!

  15. I like names in all 3 categories so I must be a freak. But I’d say we fall into the trend setters aka last name ppl. The way we pick names is #1 it can’t be traditional. We both have very traditional names. I was always 1 out of 3 Jen’s in every class I ever took. So we want our children to feel special. Jokes on me because we homeschool. Oh well. #2 although unique anyone needs to easily pronounce it the first time they see it. #3 no funny spellings. # 4 we choose names that we won’t shorten. My MIL calls my husband Just. Short for Justin. And I just can’t. #5 we veto if it makes any top baby names list, because again, we want the name to not be so ordinary.

    The other method is I write down every name I like and my husband who has very similar taste just vetos names he doesn’t like. And then we just narrow down from there. Our kids are Kennedy Winter (girl) Emerson Grant (boy) and Layton-James (girl). Probably the most annoying thing is our last baby has a double name as her first and no middle. But everyone asks her name and then just says oh how cute Layton is. It makes me cringe, because that’s not her name. Important people I correct. Strangers I just cringe and smile. I love baby naming and also find it so stressful the closer it gets if we haven’t picked the name. And I like to make sure they all sound good together. Ohhh another rule. You can’t have Emerson and Jackson or Quinn and Finn. No. don’t.

    1. I agree big time with how names sound together. I have twins and the Quinn and Finn situations are all too common with twins–gross!

  16. I’m totally with you on the name symmetry! I love old fashioned names, and like to have the first name be what we actually call them (besides the 800 pet names we make up…) so we’ve ended up with kind of a nickname-ey old fashioned theme…. Molly Jane and Sam Benjamin. It’s totally unplanned, but both of their names can be found in books that we love… not sure if we’ll try to keep that up with future kids. We have a last name that sounds like an unfortunate piece of anatomy, so that makes finding names extra interesting, haha.

  17. We only have one child, so we don’t have a “theme” BUT all six cousins (from three siblings) have middle names from family members. If we were to have more children, I would probably continue that trend.

    1. I don’t know why, but it cut off the rest of my comment………….It took us ten years, two miscarriages, and a lot of intervention to finally have our son. He was born at 25 weeks gestation, before we even had a name picked out. For two days he was just known as Baby Boy. My husband came up with his name and it is perfect for him – Matthew Doil Rapier. Matthew, after my husband, means “Gift of God”. And Doil after my son’s great-grandfather, who was able to go to the NICU and pray over little Matthew. Matthew Doil is a healthy, happy seven year old now, and his great-grandfather Doil is 93, and it’s so sweet to see the two of them together. ♥️

      And, my baby name guess for you is……Alexander.

  18. I totally get this! My two are Julia and Huxley which to me work. Their classic but different… I like the term old fashioned rebel. :) I have one friend and her name of her last boy drives me crazy. She has Shane, Cody, and Reece… To me this all say “Western” or “Cowboy” and then she goes and names the last one William and I just can’t handle it. Not my family so I keep my mouth shut.

  19. I don’t know if this is necessarily a quirk, but we used family middle names for their middle names. Levi Nathaniel after daddy, and Audrey Ann after my mother-in-law. Now that I’m pregnant with #3, we’ll see what happens! If it’s a boy, I’m fairly certain we will use Jonathan with my dad’s middle name, Wade, but if it’s a girl, I’m not sure what we’re going to do! My all time favorite girl name, which my husband does not care for at all, is Lydia. So I guess I tend to fall into the traditional name trend! For first names, we didn’t really have a system other than reading up on the meanings. My husband and I are both musical and a part of leading worship at our church, so we liked Levi since the Levites were the priestly tribe. With Audrey, we just liked the name and meaning (noble strength). I also loved Audrey Raines in the show 24.

    1. My in-laws definitely had a system in naming their 5 boys! They used Old Testament/prophet names for their first names and disciples for the middles- Zachary Thomas, Isaac Nathaniel, Elijah Matthew, Malachi John, and Micah Andrew!

  20. I LOVE all of your children’s names! I can’t wait to hear the next baby’s name. My husband and I aren’t expecting yet, but we already have names mostly picked out. I’m a Natashia who loves any unique names, and actually have been plotting my children’s names since I was a little girl. So-the plot thickens!
    If we have a boy first, his name will be either Declan Flynn or Declan Taos, possibly depending on our mood by then! If we have another boy we would like to name him Flynn, so to be on the safe side we might stick with Taos.
    Here are my (mostly our ☺️) favorites so far.
    Declan Taos
    Flynn Lachlan
    Annika Wren
    Kalani Grace
    Aspen Danelle.

    I love each of them so much because although the names have very different origins and levels of quirkiness, they work well together in my brain. We also put a lot of importance in the meanings of the names, or at least the atmosphere they convey. Thank you for this post! My husband laughs at me because I spend so much time scrolling through baby names lists and coming up with new options. It’s fun to have fellow enthusiasts!

  21. So funny because it’s so true with the parallelism with names! Every once in awhile I’ll run into a family where one of the names just doesn’t match the rest (in my opinion). We went with Polynesian names because my husband is Samoan and I really wanted more unique names for my kids so that worked perfectly. We also did one syllable middle names because I actually use their middle names a lot. Almost like their first name is their first and middle combined. I also am crazy about the meanings. If I loved a name and it had a weird or off meaning I couldn’t use it. And I would always try the possible new name with the other kids names to make sure it flowed well. Haha! We have 1 boy and 4 girls so we REALLY struggled finding the 4th girl name that fit all these quirks!

  22. I definitely have a name-picking thing too! I have two boys – Wells & Grayer. Apparently, I have a thing for British names (I heard “Wells” on a British reality show years ago and it always stuck with me, and I got “Grayer” from the book The Nanny Diaries) with a last-name kind of feel. Don’t know if that makes sense, but we have a boy and girl name picked out for whenever we have another baby, and it definitely stays along these lines. If I hear a name that I like but it doesn’t jive well with Wells & Grayer, it’s a no-go.

    1. I just looked back trough the comments and saw that I posted back then, when we just had Wells. I didn’t now my “name-theme” back then :) but I am glad his brother has a name that jives with his!

  23. I see that this is an old post! But I had to comment! Im an old fashion name lover too! It drives my husband nuts! But seriously. If it was a great-relatives name, I LOVE IT!

  24. My sisters and I have unusual first names with middle names of Hope, Grace and Joy. We love it more and more as we age… Thanks Mom and Dad!

  25. I tend to lean towards old fashioned and different names too. if your family scrunches up their faces in dislike when you tell them you probably have a winner haha. i only have one baby so far and her name is melody elizabeth, but the names i have in my back pocket for my future babies are, essence, eva mae, jude, parker, ezra, oliver, and finn. we had a few in common there!!

  26. I love hearing all of these names and the reasons behind them! We went totally traditional: Elizabeth, Benjamin, Andrew and Gabriel-and all the middle names are for deceased relatives (we’re Jewish and it’s a tradition.) I’m putting in a plug for “Jonah” for you-it’s biblical, but not too common.

  27. Our son’s name is Wells, a name I heard one time on a TV show over 2 years ago and fell in love with. We wanted something unique but not weird…he is the only “Wells” we know, and we never get “His name is WHAT?” from strangers, so I think we met our two criteria :) .

  28. Oh, I love baby names!! I’ve had a couple friends ask me to help them look for names within whatever guidelines they have (Welsh, not to hard to spell/pronounce for Americans, works with last name, etc.) and it is SO MUCH FUN. I have a list I keep and could very happily name 8 or 9 children right now. Since I’m a Kristin born at the start of the ’80s, I definitely wanted names for my kids that weren’t super common, but it was also important to me that they be pretty self-explanatory with spelling and pronunciation, too, meaning was important, and they had to flow with our last name. We ended up giving a nod to my Irish heritage with Cashel and Torin, and following the tradition in my husband’s family of using the paternal grandfather’s name as a middle for the first son, maternal grandfather’s for the second son (which worked perfectly for us as we had two boys first). Love the “old fashioned rebel” category, too, and that’s probably where we’d head with any girls God gives us.

  29. Ok I’m a bit late to the comments here, but this is just too funny, thought I’d chim in. Love your break downs in the post! Ours are all family names, we really searched the family tree to find ones we liked after we went through the grandparents etc. William, Duncan (he has red hair, perfect), Colin, jack, Sam ( Samuel ). Well, the funny part, when I was expecting number six, I was going over our names to be sure that the new name “matched” (obviously) when I discovered that each one of our children has one less letter in their name than the one before them! Oh my!!! How had I never noticed this before? Now I could only afford a 2 letter name! Haha. Well, we kinda had to abandon that plan….went for a girly, pretty name after 5 boys we would not be picking a gender neutral name! So…..Lucy Grace. She goes by Lu. ;)

  30. Well, my hubby picked our children’s names. The “deal” was he allowed me to have kids (he wanted me to himself and really didn’t want kids) so he got to pick the names. We have 2 boys Daniel and Samuel. Biblical and the hubby’s brother’s name is Daniel. The hubby and our youngest share the same initials. Both boys have the same middle name as their dad. If we had a girl her name would’ve been Debra just because he liked it. Now my hubby is the best daddy he can not imagine not being around our boys and loves to spend time with them. God gave him (and really all of us) a great love for our children.

  31. I’m a fan of the old-fashioned rebel category too! Mine are Vera, Cordelia, and Jude. My guess for baby #6 for you is … Judah! ;-) Two syllables, plus “Jude” is in the OFR category!

  32. Decided to jump in on the name bandwagon……it seems everyone has alot to say about it!

    Loved your breakdown of it Abbie! Had never thought of it in those terms but it totally makes sense! I always like to hear how others come up with their kids names. Its such a big decision!!

    We are both very passionate about the meaning behind the name. We didn’t want to name our children something that had a crazy meaning or set them up for a life-time of struggles (Jabez). AND I have a quirk about their first name being their first name and not being shortened because my first name is Leigh and my middle name is Anne and I go by Leigh Anne. So, I’ve had to clarify this my whole life & always wished that my first name was my first name, period. I’m so shy and in a whole room full of college freshman I had to clarify that my name wasn’t “lay” (as in sleigh) as the professor pronounced it. And that it was in fact lee ann….not “lay ann”. Just a naming quirk I have and not meant to offend anyone!!
    So, we went with Ethan, Nate (not Nathan…just Nate), Audrey and Katie (not Kathryn). I’m hoping these can’t be shortened or changed too much….maybe Katie to Kate, but it rhymes with Nate so I didn’t want to go there.

    After looking at your cute diagrams, I thinking I’m probably a Traditionalist. I’d like to be more of Trend-setter, Hipster, but hubby isn’t on-board. Plus, gotta research the meanings so there’s that too. And with my OCD first name issue + the meaning thing = traditional. :)

    Do you read Camp Patton blog?? She has 4 littles and super witty writing that always cracks me up! She has a Julia, Sebastian, Theodore & Pheobe. They call Sebastian, Bash…..which always makes me chuckle. :)

    1. My mother’s name was Leigh-Ann… first name, middle name, but she went by both and usually hyphenated it to make that as clear as possible… she talked about getting “lay” from teachers, too, with one in particular calling her that the whole semester. :) She always said she wanted us to have first names that were what we were called, just like you! Also, I love the Camp Patton blog, too, and her kids’ names are great.

  33. Our children’s names are jake , McKenna and ivy Kate. I like the k sound in a name. I’ve always joked that if I named my daughter a biblical name it would be Rahab the harlot. My humor is not always appreciated.

  34. Our (Australian) family has Celtic (Irish and Scottish) roots, so we named our boys Lachlan and Callum. Following on from that, my brother named his son Angus and my sister’s son is Hamish. I love that we have an extended family “parallelism” :-)

  35. Names are so hard! We’re working on naming our second girl right now (6 more weeks to finalize!) after naming our firstborn Hannah. It’s really hard to pick a good name, because we like classic, but not common. The monkey wrench in it is that my husband is Swiss German, and I am American, and we live in French-speaking Switzerland. So, we have to find names that work with 3 languages and are not too common, strange, or hard to pronounce in any of the three! Often a name that I like sounds really old in German, or vice versa. We barely get away with Hannah, because all our French-speaking friends and neighbors have a hard time pronouncing the opening H. Most people call her ‘Annah’ on the first try…we have to correct for the H. And with German we can’t use any J names, because J in German in pronounced Y. We loved Johannah for our Hannah, but we didn’t want to have to explain again and again that it’s pronounced Yohannah.

    I think you’re going with Judah. Two syllables, a Bible name to match your other boys and still a little different. (Although I know of at least 2 Judes and 1 middle name Jude born in the last year in the Midwest.)

  36. My twins are Harrison & Lyla. I just wanted classic, and my only quirk was that they couldn’t be “matching” twin names….like Luke & Lyla, Harlow & Harrison…etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (they actually sound pretty cute as I typed them), but I just had a thing about it. :)

  37. I would say I’m in a classic/old fashioned category. My girls are Everly and Grace (though Everly isn’t super common, it still seems classic to me). I think Theo would fit so well with Ezra and Simon (and the girls of course). I love looking at baby names!!

  38. My parents gave my siblings and me Bible names for our first names, then family names for our middle names. I’m Elizabeth for the mother of John the Baptist, and Grace for my great-grandmother. I think it’s a really nice system, and if I have kids one day, I would consider using the same method. HOWEVER, I am an ever and always book geek and I think I would be strongly tempted to name my children after my favorite authors and characters. My only fear is that they would hate me later if the ended up not sharing my literary tastes. Incidentally, the types of authors I like tend to be more old-fashioned, and I think my book fanaticism probably overlaps me into your Old-Fashioned Rebel category.

    (BTW, my top name picks are Dorothy, Harriet, and Peter…which, taken together and plugged into Google or any librarian’s head, gives away my favorite book series pretty quickly. I’m afraid I probably couldn’t use ALL my favorite names from one series. Too much, yeah?)

  39. My sisters and I have a theme to the spelling of our names: consonant, E, double consonant, I (Terri, Peggi, Debbi–can you tell we were born in the late 50s/early 60s? Other daughters would’ve been Jenni or Kelli). My first husband and his sisters all have names that begin with D. So I thought everyone had some kind of theme. I wanted names for our children that couldn’t be shortened, since neither of us use our full name, and that were impossible to misspell, because both our names have unusual spellings. We ended up with Adam and Ryan. And they have a theme: 2 syllables, third letter is A, middle name has 6 letters. They’re in their 20s, and I still love their names.

  40. I am very much the same way. Our three kids have 2 syllable names, they all end in “n” and the second letter of each name is an “e.” I definitely had to have names that matched….drives me crazy when other people don’t do that, ha!

  41. I tend to lean towards more old fashioned names. And when naming my kids they had to have at least two syllables in their names. I have three boys, Everett, Deacon, and Finnley.

  42. I like your categorizations! I see the trends in names, too. I have a friend who has 3 girls who’s names are Shiloh, Canaan, and Eden. Notice a trend? I tend to like nontraditional bible names (Ezra and Simon over John and Mary, etc.) or old-fashioned names, especially if they have some connection to literature.
    -Anne

  43. I’m not sure where I fall in! Maybe Old Fashioned Rebel. We didn’t find out the gender either of our pregnancies, and had only a boy name chosen going into delivery (Jameson). Of course we ended up with 2 girls! Harper (after Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird is my #1 favorite book) and Marlowe (we loved Marlo but not the spelling, and wanted to honor a great grandfather Lowe, so we made it up). Harper is super popular now, but wasn’t 5 years ago! And we get a lot of interesting comments about Marlowe. But I love them together… we kid now that if we have another girl, she’ll have to be Harper Jr or Marlowe Jr cause mama is out of girl names!!

  44. We had a hard time picking names for our twins when we found out they were girls. We had 2 boy names picked out once we found out it was twins! We wanted them to flow and not sound matchy. So we decided on Aubrey Rose and Regan Grace, we do get flak because Regan is pronounced Rea-gan. We did not even think of spelling it that way. We had a list of names we liked and I was reading a book series where the main characters was Regan and in my head I always pronounced it Rea-gan so we went with it. We do still love the boy names we picked out, Jackson (family name) and Thomas. Plus we have another girl name we love (Peyton)…We are hoping to have at least one more child!!

    I think Theodore (Teddy/Theo) or Tobias (Toby)

    I love you posts, thank you!

  45. We unintentionally went the Biblical route (Micah, Asher, Grace, and Luke). Thinking our next one will be in a category all his/her own just to be rebels. :)
    And my guess is Finley for your little guy. :)

  46. It’s like you’re inside my head, Abbie. All the names on your “Old-fashioned rebel” list would be on my list as well. I love the name Fiona. I probably shouldn’t be surprised that we have similar taste. My daughter’s middle name is Adelaide. ;)

    We have a naming trend in our family. All the names have to start with “J.” It would never be my choice to have all my children’s names start with “J.” However, it is a tradition in my husband’s family to do so. It was super important to him to carry on that tradition. I didn’t hate it as much as he loved the tradition, so all of our kids will have “J” names.

  47. Our quirk is naming our kids after songs – hence Cecilia (Simon and Garfunkel), Layla (Eric Clapton), and Elizabeth (Statler Brothers). However, our third is named Beatrix (like Beatrix Potter), and is not named after a song. I think the reason for that is that I had a miscarriage between Layla and Beatrix, whom we would probably have named Caroline (Neil Diamond), and I couldn’t bring myself to use that name again. In our case, the change in pattern was a subtle, subconscious acknowledgement of how our family had been altered.

  48. I tend to gravitate towards more traditional Irish and Celtic names. My three boys are Aidan, Logan and Gavin. Everyone ends in ‘N’, including my husband, except for me. All 3 boys have 5-letter names with two syllables. Aidan means ‘little fire’, which was appropriate at the time as my husband was a fire fighter back in the day. It also flowed well with the family middle name Joseph (FIL). Logan went with Aidan, and didn’t sound stupid with the family middle name Boyd (my dad’s middle name, because NOTHING goes with Rodney). Hubs and I could NOT agree on #3′s name, so every name that was not outright veto-ed by the other was presented to Aidan & Logan. I’m happy to say they sided with ME and chose Gavin. They chose his middle name after friends they had at the time, alex and zander, hence Gavin Alexander. MUCH better than what they were calling him, which was coffee!

    So yes, I do cave to the subconcious grammo-phile tendencies you’ve just pointed out. Thanks. LOL

  49. Names are one of my most favorite things about children (that’s not bad, right, that’s totally normal). I LOVE reading the Swistle baby blog, mostly because people ask for opinions about the names their deciding for their kids, and then everyone jumps on board the “Please, do not name your kid Aviary” train…but also because people typically then list 10-12 names that I would love to use!

    I’m definitely a fan of old-fashioned names, and nick-names are a MUST. I hate when a name I like becomes too trendy, or when I occasionally love a hipster/nick-namey type name outright. One of my friends has Finnegan (nn Finn) on her shortlist for baby names.

    I’m also very particular about spelling. I HATE the “y’ trend (Madeline or Madeleine, NOT Madylyn, people).

    Having a somewhat 80′s name myself (Megan–though I consider it more of an “irish” name), I always want to make sure it’s a name that can truly last…that in 15 years someone doesn’t say “Wow…that girl must really hate her children.”

    Oh and I also have 0 children…but like 50 names I’m into. So there’s that.

  50. Oh dear…I totally understand this! I was and am a bit anal when it comes to names and YES I have a friends whom have kids with names I didn’t think matched. I don’t get it. Of course, I not only have three girls who all have the same initial for the first name but, also the middle name…along with the first name being 5 letters and two-syllables. :) We teased the third daughter because when they got married two of them have the same LAST ititial again but, the third one didn’t. Ha. and I LOVE and adore old fashion names…and like Jude (only one syllable) so I am guessing Theodore and calling him Theo! :) :)

  51. Our three are Jason Megan and Jared. can you tell we don’t like names that end with the uh sound. one mistake we made was not checking the name Jason for popularity. he graduated with 30 other Jason’s. he hated it. we tried outour choices a lot. calling them. saying it over and over to check for annoyingness. now I have 3 grandaughters that end in the uh sound. nose wrinkle. also have one who’s name is Jaira, her dad is Jared so in a group sometimes she doesn’t know you are talking to her

  52. My biggest criteria was I didn’t want their names to be super popular. I grew being called by my name + last initial because there were so many Brittany’s. It annoyed me, so I went for unique but not too weird for my girls. I ended up with Melaina and Giavanna, Laina and Gia for short.

  53. I am so glad you decided to create a post from my nosy question :) I could talk about names for days. Love the “Old Fashioned Rebel” category and I think I fit into that bucket too!

    I am jumping on the Tobias (nn Toby) bandwagon… Simon, Ezra, and Toby? Adorable. Or Theodore/Teddy/Theo…But maybe you will throw us for a loop and go with a Miles/Milo, Levi, August, or Gideon.

    Can’t wait to hear what baby #6 is named!

  54. I could talk baby names all day, and I’m totally with you on the whole names matching thing! My name is Becky, my husband’s name is Aaron, and our first daughter’s name is Leah. While I was pregnant with #2, he literally suggested Dominique. DOMINIQUE?!?!?!?!?!?!??? (He said we could call her Q. I mean, I can’t even…) That doesn’t match at all. We ended up with Maggie and then number 3 was Grace. I liked the name Piper, but that just didn’t fit either. I’m also psychotic about how it sounds with our last name, and seeing as our last name is kind of “R” heavy, Piper would have sounded too jumble-y.

  55. I am the same way! I personally didn’t want names you automatically shortened (ie Matthew=Matt; Jennifer=Jenny…), so we went with Owen, Olivia, Vivienne and Charlotte…now, we do have our “pet names” for them, but I always introduce them with their full names, which was my intention!

    I am guessing Tobias is in the name somewhere (which I happen to love)! Can’t wait to know!!

    And, thanks for the fancy grammar lesson too

    1. And I do like to have similar feels to the names…I had a friend who I adored, that named her first daughter Zoe; she had a super hard time picking the name…it wasn’t my choice, but thought it was cute and great for her…but then she messed with my quirk when she named her second daughter Emma! For me, it didn’t match so it was like looking at a “crooked picture” for awhile…I adjusted to it of course, but it was just one of those funny things in life

  56. Great post! I love names and the whole story behind the names! It’s funny because each name choice can effect the next. Our top name choice for a girl was Ellery and a boy Everett(family name) We ended up with both and then with 3rd baby coming and I was stuck in the conundrum of whether to stick with our unintentional E names or go rogue with another choice. In the end it gave me twitches to think of not going with an E name and we ended up with a boy named Elynn (ee-Lin)! I wrote a whole post about it too!

    Your list of names are totally up my alley and I’m taking a guess that you’ll be going with the name Toby! Mainly because if I had gone rogue I would’ve chose something like it! Can’t wait to find out!

  57. My hubby and I picked all our kids names on a road trip 6 months after we got married. Even had twin names if we needed them. Our first girl was going to be Miah (after my hubby Jeremiah) our first son was going to be Mitchell (after a grandfather) our second daughter would be Charlotte (where my hubby and I met) and so on…. When my oldest (a girl ) was 8 months old we moved to the same town as my hubby’s brother and his family. They had two kids at the time (both M names) they went on to have 2 more (also M names) and I had another, a boy this time so between us we had 6 kids all with M names. When I got pregnant with our third we realized boy or girl neither of our names were M names. So we have a Miah, Mitchell and an Ezra and he is the only kid of our 7 without an M name. :-)

  58. My name is Lari (pronounced Larry) and my husband is Barry. Everyone wanted us to name our first daughter something that rhymed with our names….um no. We went with Amber. My husband insisted that our children’s names rhyme with nothing since we both grew up with names that rhymed with everything! I am one of 5 daughters and all of my sisters and I have first and middle names that start with “L”….10 “L” names! I grew up with people asking me to recite all my sisters name! I swore I would never do the same letter name thing! I have an Amber, Shelby and Logan :)

  59. I think you’re going to name him Gerund Blue Blazes. It’s very obvious in your post :) Actually in all seriousness I think you might go with Jude or Tobias but maybe as a middle name since neither fit into the 2 syllable category. Or maybe Matthew since it’s also a biblical name like Simon and Ezra and 2 syllables.

  60. Interesting to see both of my children’s names on your list. Amelia is my oldest (names after the restaurant se went on our 1st date). Cooper is my youngest and there was no enumera or reason, se just like the name. I myself come from a family of all J’s which males me crazy!

  61. Our first is Titus, second Eleanor (Ella), when we were deciding on a name for #3 I told my husband that if we used a biblical name for him we would have to for all the boys. He looked at me like I was crazy and said why??? Haha! He ended up being named Josiah and #4 is Ezekiel (Zeke). All of their middle names are after a family member.

  62. Junedeeed our kids based on name meaning and what was meaningful to us at that time .

    Olivia means Holy . We are to be set apart and holy for the Lord .

    Faithful was named that because my husband’s mother was dying of cancer when I was pregnant with Faithful.

    Nathaniel means gift from God a son that I had prayed so hard for.

    p.s I vote for Oliver or Jude. :)

  63. I am just like you. My two are Lucas and Charlotte – both are traditional and familiar, but not as common as, say, John. That has been my struggle with number 3 (due in early Dec.). My mom and I have talked at length about this. I couldn’t have Lucas, Charlotte, and Neveah. It just doesn’t flow, and it would make me bonkers. In fact, at one point early on in this pregnancy, I became obsessed with the fact that Lucas and Charlotte are both names that can be found in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (and both in the same character, to boot!). So I was temporarily convinced that I HAD to use a Jane Austen name for my third child. Unfortunately (when using this criteria), our third is a boy, and I don’t think my son would appreciate being named something like Fitzwilliam. Anyway, I’m rambling. The takeaway from my comment: I feel ya, girl.

    1. It is weird to hear a stranger suggest names…but I love Pride and Prejudice.. May be I can suggest some sane and traditional names…

      Charles (Mr. Bingley), William (Sir Lucas), George (Mr. Wickham), Philip (Mrs.Philips), Austen (of course — on the front cover :) ), Collin (Mr. Collins).

      Congratulations and best wishes for the December boy ( I have one..).

  64. With our first we wanted something different and special. So we went with Braedan William (William for my step-dad) then when we had our second we were having a hard time with girls names we loved Charlotte but wanted to stick with B’s (my husband Is Brandon, I am Breanne and we have our Braedan) so this time we were off the hook because we had another boy and though we didnt go different this time we stuck with something special and that starts with a B. Benjamin Samuel (Samuel because I was reading the book of Samuel when I found out I was pregnant) and if we ever have a girl we finally thought of a B name, Brielle Charlotte. I love all your children’s names. Excited to find out the name of baby #6

  65. We have a blended family with the first two boys having traditional names then the middle two girls have been given names common in our ancestry or after a family member. The last two are more non traditional but very old fashioned names. Harrison and Christiana. They have the longest names but both are from family history over 100 years ago. So while I love some of the names out there, I guess I’m more of a “give your child a name they can live up to” kind of person. Harrison is called Harry and Christiana has been shortened to Nana by her cousins and it stuck. So even if you give them a great name, often the people around them change it up for you!

  66. We have Hadassah “Haddy”, Hannah and Elisabeth. We got a lot of flack for not picking another H. That H thing was unintentional. We just loved the story of Esther and who she is but not a big fan of the name Esther, however Hadassah…that just sounds like a princess. Hannah was for me. I have always loved and clung to the story in 1 Samuel so it was a given. Elisabeth was tricky! Here is how we finally decided that one. https://wholeheartedhomemaking.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/birth-story-part-2-naming/ Lord help us if we have any more girls, I like to have biblical names but not necessary. They also have to be important to us somehow and, well, fit! ;)

    1. I like your names! And, while I see why people would have been like, “What? No ‘H?’”…that’s totally not something that bothers me. (Unless, you happened to have 5 kids with H names, and then one not. That might get my OCD riled up :) ).

  67. I’m with you on parallelism… Though my family is trilingual, so finding the perfect “old-fashioned rebel” name that works in three languages can be difficult, if not painful. So far we’ve managed with Nolene (nicknamed Noli), Jonas, Lucia, and Amelle.

    I love names, so I wish you all the best on your name choice! If you haven’t considered it yet, I vote for the name “Silas.” ;)

  68. I completely agree with you on the name matching thing. My daughter is Victoria, which means all future children will probably need to have similar old-fashioned, long names. I also really don’t like gender ambiguity for names. Life is complicated enough!

    1. 2 years after I wrote the above comment, I am about to give birth to twin girls, and they will also have long-ish, feminine names: Charlotte and Analisa. I went back and forth about Analisa, wondering if it “Fit” with the other names. My husband really loves it, however, so we are going with it :)

  69. My mom named us all with the same letter. Us girls were supposed to have a theme with the middle name as well (Faith, Hope, and Love), but at the last minute the youngest sister wound up with Joy as her middle name.

    I just have one son so far. His name is Riley (after his Grandma’s maiden name. She is from Ireland). If we have a girl, I want to call her Sinclair (My families clan of origin in Scotland) and the 3rd will be another boy named Tucker (No reason other than I like the name). Of course, that is up to God, but in my mind that is how it plays out. :)

  70. Hmm.. I think my kids fall into the “Old Fashoned Rebel” category. Although I think it has been fairly unintentional. Our 3rd is due Dec. 22, and the names we have picked (we aren’t finding out gender) both fall into that category as well. Hmm… Interesting..

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