Honor’s Otter

So, I’ve had quite a few questions about Honor’s name: where did we come up with it? why did we choose it?

That sort of thing.

Which I totally understand because it’s not exactly a usual name.

Interestingly enough, as I mentioned in my teaser on my “name game” repost, I feel like it still fits with the rest of our names because a) it’s only two syllables (this is a completely unintentional “requirement,” but it has held true so far) and b) it’s old-fashioned–hailing from the 1800′s.

Another thing? It’s almost exclusively a girl’s name. As in, it’s not common, period. But anytime it does show up, it’s almost always associated with a female.

Which…seems strange to me, since the word Honor evokes a strong, masculine sense of purpose and integrity.

It’s a strong-sounding name to me. And to Shaun too, apparently, who surprised me again (just like he did with Ezra, Adelaide, and Magnolia) by preferring it over some of the more “normal” options we considered.

As far as where I first heard it?

Well, let’s just say that most of the original seeds for my children’s name inspirations are planted in less-than-highbrow soil.

Here are the origins of each of my children’s names:

Ezra: a fitness teacher friend mentioned a student named Ezra during class one day 12ish years ago, and I loved it immediately (clearly, I already knew about the Biblical book, but I’d never heard it used in conversation as a “real” name, and that made all the difference for me).

Simon: don’t remember. Shaun and I both just liked the name.

Adelaide–AKA “Della”: the name of the *dead and never pictured* mother of Emmeline Harris from Anne of Avonlea (the movie). I have literally loved the name since I first watched the movie a good 28 years ago.

Evangeline (which we pronounce–somewhat unusually–as: Eh-VAN-jeh-lin)–AKA “Evy”: the sister of one of my brother’s ex-girlfriends. It just appealed to me.

Magnolia–”Nola”: a dear friend mentioned a cousin’s friend’s sister’s baby (or something like that) with that name, and it majorly appealed to my Southern roots.

Theodore–AKA “Theo”: I spotted the name “Theo” in the rolling credits of an episode of Lost yeeears ago, and it just stuck in my mind.

Honor: the name of Logan’s sister in Gilmore Girls.

Clearly, I don’t tend to insist on their inception’s having great significance, but I will not name my child something if, after having researched its origin and meaning, it turns out to be something negative. (In case you’re wondering, my children’s names mean: “helper,” “he who hears/listens,” “noble,” “spreader of the gospel,” “a beautiful fragrant flower/tree,” “gift from God,” and “full of honor”…so we did all right in the end).

ANYhoo, not that you asked for that detailed of a rundown on all of my kids’ names when you asked about Honor’s, but I do know that I find the etymology of a person’s name fascinating, and others do too.

whole crew

 

{All the names I love in one spot!}

So! For those of you who are still awake, here is the story (that I promised to tell) of Honor’s Otter.

Shaun’s Grandma (Great-Grandma to our kids, of course) has a weekly Saturday gathering that we usually can’t attend because she lives over an hour away, but we try to go as much as possible.

One day, in the 2nd trimester of this last pregnancy, Shaun took the rest of the kids to Great-Grandma’s, while I…I don’t honestly remember, but it must have been significant because I pretty much always go.

And while he was there, one of the aunts asked Shaun what the new baby’s name would be.

To which he replied, “Honor.”

To which she replied: “…Huh??”

Shaun: “Hon-or.”

Her: “What?”

Shaun: “H-o-n-o-r.”

Her: “Ooooooooooh! I thought you were saying OTTER!!”

When Shaun came home and related this exchange, I got so tickled that I decided on the spot to change his name to Otter.

No, I didn’t.

But I did decide to commission Theresa to crochet Honor an Otter of his very own to commemorate his weird and wonderful name.

honors otter

Who knows? He made need therapy after having to spell his name for every single last person who asks for 18 years.

But, hey! At least he’ll be able to spell by age 2.

Any good baby name origin stories to tell? I’ll just be over here nursing Otter…er, I mean, Honor.

Like what you read? Like M is for Mama on facebook (pretty please?):

28 thoughts on “Honor’s Otter

    1. I only have 2 munchkins and choosing their names was hard enough. I always found girl’s names easy, but of course I had 2 boys! Our family has Celtic (Scots and Irish) roots, so I was keen to give my children names of Celtic origin. We agonised over child #1 and settled on Lachlan (pronounced Lock-lan) which was a relatively well known but not very popular name here in Australia – then the year he was born (1999) it became the number 1 boys name – his first year at school there were 5 Lachlans in his class. I have no regrets though. His name suits him to a T and and through high school (he’s now graduated) we have known hardly any boys who share his name.
      Son #2 is my blond haired boy Callum – the name suits him so well as it means dove and he is such a calm, loving and peaceful boy. On the other hand, Lachlan means warlike from the land of the Fjords (lakes) a Viking/Celtic name – and totally suits his red haired temperament (the red hair was a total surprise and to add to his Celtic cred, he was born on St Patrick’s Day!)
      My siblings have also given their sons names of Celtic origin (though between the 4 of us, our offspring totals less than your gorgeous clan).

  1. Congratulations on your new baby! I find your blog inspiring and I would like to read more… Please, which post is first (the oldest)? I like to start in the beginning and then skip if neccessary :)

  2. Such fun names! My oldest daughter is an Evangeline (Evie) and I got her name off of the British series “The House of Elliot.” My second daughter is Promise, and when I was pregnant with her, I met a website designer named Promise and I thought it was a great creative but still old fashioned name, so that’s where her name came from. And our third daughter is Clementine — there’s a photographer with a daughter named Clementine and I needed to know it was still ok to name a real person Clementine, haha! That’s it so far! Hopefully we’ll be expanding our family soon so I can use some of the other names I’ve got rolling around in my head!

  3. I agonize over baby names wanting them to be perfect. My oldest is Lillian (Lily) Estelle. Lillian from the book The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen that I’d borrowed from my MIL (little did I know how POPULAR the name Lily was back in 2010, ah well…). Estelle is after my husband’s paternal grandmother Stella who passed away before I met my husband. Our second is Reuben Garrett. Reuben from a baby name list I made probably from googling “traditional baby names.” Then one night, after weeks and weeks of trying to pick a name, the hubby just announced he liked Reuben. That same night the name Garrett came to me as a mashup of my dad’s name (Gary) and my mother’s maiden name (Everett – also one of my brothers’ middle names). Our youngest is Calvin Alexander. We had another name picked out but I never was 100% sure of it. Then one day about 4 weeks before his due date on our way back from blueberry picking, again my husband announced that he liked the name Calvin (from the comic Calvin and Hobbes, of which he loves). Alexander is my other brother’s middle name and we didn’t come up with that until after little Calvin was born.

  4. Just curious to see if you will address the immigration band as you did the election with everything is going on in today’s world?

  5. Oh thank you for explaining where the otter come in! I have spent some time puzzling over that! (There’s some… movie?… book?…with an otter named Honor in it? I’m so out of it…) Haha!
    It’s great to hear someone else’s “unimpressive” how-we-chose-our-names list. People always ask how you chose the unique names, and it’s usually something dumb like: uhhhh, we saw it in the name book and liked it, the end. …And they act all disappointed. ???
    Bless you all!

  6. I love the name Honor for a boy – excellent choice ! Also Valor is a good name I heard recently, and we named our son Courage. Courage is 7 years old and homeschooled and he is having a terrible time learning to read BUT he can read and spell the word Courage which impresses people if they don’t know that’s his name. Whenever people do ask him his name they almost always say “huh, that’s different. I like it!” which is the polite thing to say when a child has an unusual name!

  7. I am always so interested in how parents choose baby names! All three of my kids have a grandparent’snames somewhere in their name. My oldest has his paternal grandfather’s middle name as his middle name (Travis Ray), my daughter has her paternal grandmother’s first name for her first name and her maternal grandmother’s middle name for her middle name (Jacquelyn Marie). My youngest has both his grandfathers names and a common name we both liked (Robert Anthony-Wyatt).

  8. Our babies are all part of a big baby boom in our small church, so any time several couples are pregnant at the same time we all trade first letters of the name to make sure that we’re not duplicating. Our Loïse Esther was born in November, and about one month later some dear friends of ours announced the birth of their daughter Eloïse Esther!!!! So much for checking the first letters….

    Half the church still doesn’t know if our daughter is Loïse or Eloïse. :)

  9. My mom died about eight years ago so when I had my daughter I wanted to name her in honor of my mother . . . Marilyn. There’s nothing wrong with the name Marilyn. I just didn’t see it as my baby’s name. So we named her Emma after my moms grandmother who she was close to (also, my mom wanted to name me Emma but couldn’t convince my dad). When we found out we were having a boy we couldn’t decide on a name. I liked True and Bright (my maiden name) but those were a little too out there for my husband. The only thing we knew was we didn’t want something every second kid in the US was named (hello Emma). So, when watching Gilmore Girls (a favorite of both of ours) one day, I was thinking about how Max is my favorite boyfriend. It stuck.

  10. So fun! My oldest (girl) is Aurelia and Inlove her name story! Aurelia is the name of my husband’s grandmother, a beautiful “black Irish” woman …. sort of. Her parents named her Dorothy Pauline, but the country doctor who delivered her, put the name down on the birth certificate as Aurelia June… because he thought that’s what her name should have been. She didn’t find out until she got married at 18 and had to petition for a name change! I heard the story and fell in love with the name immediately. We call her “Reli” (Ray-lee) for short. My second (girl) is Isla (I la) Chloe… the name is so delicate and feminine and she was my littlest baby. I first heard the name from my ex-boyfriends, sister’s husband’s daughter (ha
    Ha). Her middle name is the name we would have chosen for her twin, had she survived. A remnant from our year living in Chicago. I have an Ezra too…my husband chose it from the Bible and we just loved it …. and we have a Judah. My Judah’s middle name is Jack… because his sisters wanted to name him that, but I couldn’t after all of their unique names and he’s the last. But, we had random people tell us his name should be Jack, so the middle name it is!

  11. Oh gosh, baby naming is just one of my very favorite things ever. I love the naming process, helping people pick names, hearing how others picked names, love it ALL! My name is Ann Marie and my husband is Andrew, but when we were expecting our first, we had both loved and settled on the name “Luke” if he was to be a boy (which he was.) But, a few months into that pregnancy, my aunt had a baby boy named Luke, and I didn’t want to have two Lukes so close together in age and probably great cousin friends. So we switched to our close runner-up boy name, which was Aidan (named after the Rich Mullins song “Let Mercy Lead”, which I can’t hear without crying to this very day.) Well, then we all 3 had A names, adopted a little moniker of “The A Clan,” and decided maybe we should all be A names. :) We are now expecting our 5th child, and let me tell you! I’m not always happy we decided way back then to limit ourselves to 1/25th of the alphabet! It’s HARD! But I love all of our kids names. We have Aidan William, Arlan Xavier, Audrey Colette, Aleksander (Alek) Henry, and the new baby will be Amelia Hope. (Other names that were in hot contention for the win this time around were Adelaide and Aveline.)

    Hope and pray you and baby Honor are doing well!

  12. Love the names! I come from a family of all girls, all “L” names (first and middle)! My name is Lari (prounounced Larry, after my dad) and my husband is Barry. We def didn’t want our kids to have names that rhymed with ours or that had the same letters! And my husband hates names that can be rhymed with other words. So we have Amber Gabrielle (girl)—just randomly picked and agreed on. Shelby McKenna (girl)—Shelby from Steel Magnolias and McKenna from a romance book. Logan Mitchell (boy)—-Logan from Mad About You and Mitchell is my maiden name. My husband’s grandmother kept forgetting Shelby’s name and referred to her as “sublet”….it’s stuck as a nickname!

  13. Love the name! I have a niece named Honora, though she is often calleed Nora. At 8, she actually prefers her full name now, but nicknames are hard to shake.

  14. I loved the run down of the names. It is midnight over here. My mom and nephew all in bed. Then as soon as I read (& eventually remembered) about Honor in “Gilmore Girls”. Loudest “ohhh yeah, that’s right!!” Thanks for the smile, and I loved this post. Thanks for always sharing. =]

    It’s rather hilarious that… I literally just found out (not hilarious in any form by the way) I can’t have kids (P.C.O.S), get irritated by every other mama blog in my newsfeed – *except for yours*. Eyes glued to your blog – in a non-stalkerish way (erm, or maybe stalker-ish). I can’t help it. You are ABBY. You let your readers into your world, like we are family. No lacking, still fully woman and hear me roar, and just sorta family. Which we are in Christ after all, so it’s been a blessing!! Enjoy sweet Honor and the rest of your clan.

  15. I love that! My husband and I are so focused on what the name means and/or who they are named after. My stepdaughter is Morrigan, our oldest son is Deacon “he who waits tables/serves” and our twins are Silas (praising God all night in jail with Paul after being persecuted! Joy in trials, man. That’s a unique and wonderful thing.) and Elkan, who was stillborn, means “created, belongs to God.” So fitting. I’m expecting our 5th (another boy!) and we are struggling in finding a name we both like for him… good thing we have until May! :)

    I love hearing how people find, fall in love with and decide on names and nicknames!

  16. What a cute and funny story. We have 3 kids. Kennedy Winter (girl), Emerson Grant(boy) and Layton-James (girl). Unlike you guys we really don’t like nicknames. So the way we pick our names is usually a surname, easily pronounceable the first time someone sees it or reads it and hopefully it won’t be shortened. Kennedy I just always associate with the president and what a fabulous time to be an American, she was born in winter and we wanted something different. Also no one would call a girl Ken, so yay for the win. Emerson grant we loved because it sounded so strong and no one would shorten it to Emmie or Em. And Layton-James I was just obsessed with James and a double name. I love the book of James, and my grand mothers maiden name was James. So we thought that was sweet. And we found Layton trying to find something girly enough to go with James. And we always use our kids real names. So it’s cute to see how you shorten most of your kids names. We are also Jen and justin and just the most basic generic names. So I think we really wanted something special. Of course I always would say I want our kids to be the only kid in the class with their name. And now…we homeschool.

  17. We have 7 kids as well…Caleb (my husband’s pick from way back when), Zach (literally read out loud all the boy names in the baby book until the z’s to find one we agreed on), Emma (my pick from way back when), Ziva (on a cruise with my husband and the couple we are with every night called our waitress “Ziva” which was from the show NCIS…one night “discussing” what name to choose, I joked that we could use “Ziva” and husband fell in love with it immediately…took me a little longer…it is Hebrew for brilliance so liked the meanin of it), Faith (5 month old nephew died while pregnant with her, so lots of meaning here), Elliana (husband wanted Ellie so I found a name with good meaning – God answers) and Adeline (again, husband wanted Addie so we went with Adeline). So not trying to be dorky but you’re my favorite blogger! I identify with you so much at this stage in life! (Except that I am not a fitness instructor or run a blog yet or building our second house…I just homeschool.

  18. Love the story of his name!
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who just “picks” a name they like. All of my nieces and nephews (all 12 and counting) have names that have great stories and significance (you know, named after someone their parents admire, great Hebrew meaning, or after a family member). Both of our boys have the same type of name, but by complete accident. Leland and Tomlin. Yep, we accidentally named our boys after Christian bands/artists (Leland, and after the band Leeland, Tomlin after Chris Tomlin). We don’t plan on keeping up with this though. Mostly because my husband has jokingly suggested Switchfoot and Hawk Nelson for the next baby (Lord willing) one too many times.

  19. That is awesome! And I love his name. My number 5, a girl, was named after my husband (John) and my moms middle name of Kay. Her name is Johnie Kay and we call her by both names. When I was pregnant with her my elderly grandfather asked us what we had decided to name her and I answered, Johnie Kay……there was a silence and he looked at my dad and said “Johnny Cash?!, well that will be real nice”………cue roars of laughter!!! Ummmm nooooooo pawpaw not Johnny Cash lol!

  20. All your kids have beautiful names. I went to camp with a girl named Magnolia (Maggie) years ago, I haven’t heard that name in a long time until your daughter was born. Theo (Theodore) is very popular in MN. I have several friends with boys named Theo.
    I have all boys, but if I ever have a girl, Evangeline is my top girls name. And we would pronounce it as you guys do too. :)
    My boys are Everett, Deacon and Finnley. People tell me they have only heard Finnley used as a girls name, but I think it’s sounds like a boys name and we call him Finn.

  21. I love your kids names, and have several in common! My 2nd daughter is Evelyn (after my grandmother, the uber common-ness of it now frustrates me) and we call her Evie. My youngest, at 8 weeks, is named Adelaide! My husband lived in Australia for a short while, and we loved that it paid homage to his time there. I am a stickler for name meanings as well! My kids are: “the Lord is my God”, “Fair Warrior”, “Wished for Child”, and “noble”. Hoping I get at least one more baby! Thanks for sharing this fun post!

  22. My youngest is named Adelaide and my fourth born is named Evangeline! (We pronounce it ee-VAN-ge-leen although my best friend growing up is named Evangelyn and pronounces it just the way you do!). And, if it makes you feel any better, the only “Honors” I have ever known have been boys. Totally a boy name.

Leave a Reply to M is for Mama Cancel reply