Coraline’s Verse

You may remember that each of our children has a special Bible verse related to the meaning of her name.  (Niko has one too, more on that later!)

(Gorgeous birth announcement by Megan - thank you!)


Coraline’s name (which we relate to the Latin word “cor” for heart) posed us a unique problem: unlike “horse” or “ray” or “sojourner” or “juniper”(!), there are so many fantastic Bible verses containing the word heart!  And not just random verses that happen to have that word, awesome, powerful, life-altering, worthy-of-memorization life-verse-type-verses.

My handy-dandy Greek lexicon tells me that the Greek word “kardia” is a word much bigger than our own word for heart.  It is “the seat of feelings, affection, desire, intellect”, “the inner mental frame”, “the conscience”, “the inner part”, “the center.”  No wonder scripture contains so many compelling verses about it.  It is the very core of who we are – the part that longs for God and the part that He requires us to reserve only for Him.

Here are just a few of the gems I came across in searching for the perfect verse for Coraline.

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29 (ESV)

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. – Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV) (The big girls were pulling hard for this one – they know a song about it.)

(Deuteronomy alone is full of great heart verses!)

Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. – 1 Samuel 12:24 (ESV)

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. – Psalm 13:5 (ESV)

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart O LORD, you have searched me and known me! – Psalm 139:1 (ESV)

I even love what the gospel-writer Luke says of Mary, Christ’s mother: But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. – Luke 2:19 (ESV)  How often these words come to my mind as I treasure up all the incredible things God has done in my own life!

But the one heart passage I kept coming back to, the one that just felt like the right one to pray would become a life verse for our sweet girl, was this one:

…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:20-21 (ESV)

I blogged about these verses here a very long time ago, and I have thought of them often since then.  How we long to see Coraline (to see all of our children!) store up their treasure in heaven rather than fill up on the emptiness that this world has to offer.  And there their hearts will also be.


On How Our Girl Got Her Name

Names are kind of a big deal to me, you know.  So you might have guessed that although I didn’t give you much of a glimpse into our name deliberations this time around, our new girl’s name was not arrived at lightly.

Her middle name, Audrey, was a no-brainer.  Having honored all four great grandmothers and a special great aunt from my family already with our girls’ names, it was finally Trevor’s Auntie Audrey’s turn.  I have long loved her name and hoped to bequeath it to a daughter at some point.  (Who knew I would actually have enough daughters to use all of these fantastic names in our family trees?!)

Auntie Audrey with Great Grandma Joan, Beatrix's middlenamesake.

The name Coraline is a long-used variant of Coral, like Coralie, so on the surface of it, it means “coral”, as in reef. (And since a few people have asked, we’re pronouncing it with a long i at the end, just how it looks: COR-a-line.)

But to me, all the significance of her name lies in its first syllable, Cor, the Latin word for “heart.”

Back in February when we found out we were were expecting, we almost immediately had reason to fear the worst.  At our early ultrasound, we hoped against hopes to see a 7-week baby with a nice beating heart.  The first glance with the ultrasound wand showed a 5-and-a-bit-week baby… and no heartbeat.  It was just like the ultrasound of the baby we lost back in November, and for a few brief moments, I believed I’d lost the baby again.

The tech took a closer look, though, and suddenly everything changed.  “Oh wait,” she said… “it is measuring 7 weeks after all…”

“And the heartbeat?”  we asked tentatively.

“”Yes, there it is.”

But our relief was short-lived, as just a few days later I began spotting again.  Having never had this symptom with any of my healthy pregnancies, I once again feared the worst, though my morning sickness persisted.  It wasn’t until my 11-week midwife appointment that I was once again able to hear that sweet beating heart and be reassured that our little one was still safe and sound.   So, you see, it was all about the heartbeat with this baby.

The name Coraline came up very early on in our name discussions, but we kept waving it away.  If only it weren’t for that movie, it would be perfect!

But when a name is that close to perfection for both of us, it’s worth taking a closer look at the “if it weren’t for” to see if it is *really* a dealbreaker.

We had seen the movie.  I’m not going to recommend it – it’s definitely creepy – but we didn’t *not* like it.  The actual title character herself was pretty sweet.  So we dug a bit deeper.

We discovered that the movie was based on a novel.  There you go: it’s a literary name, not a movie name after all, much more like naming a child Charlotte than naming her Ariel.  And the author is British, which, despite the fact that the book’s author believed he was making up the name, somehow gave credence to our perception of the name having the “British-y vibe” that we go for.

The final test was an old British baby name book I had in my collection.  Published in 1974, so not that old, but old enough to predate both the movie and the novel.  And there she was, sitting with her sister Coralie in the variants of Coral.  A real name.

We were sold.

And this little ditty, from the creepy movie we had so often wished didn’t exist, ended up only strengthening our affection for our girl’s name.

It’s written and performed by They Might Be Giants.  How fun is that?  Our big girls know every word already.

Still, if you’re reading this and had never heard of the movie, as many people we have mentioned the name to hadn’t, you can go ahead and forget I mentioned it and go back to thinking we just dusted off a beautiful old English classic that has never once appeared in pop culture.

…And An Update on the Other Newbie, Too

(Photo taken about a month ago, when I was still letting people near me with a camera.)

Do you know that I am 37 weeks pregnant today?  Thirty- seven.  That’s a lot of weeks!  They call that “full-term”, so while I still have three weeks to go until my due date (and a history of fairly punctual babies, except for Romilly who came out only under threat of eviction), I could really have this baby safely any time now.  I’m officially in the clear to have another homebirth, which is great, except for the fact that I have done *nothing* to prepare for one yet.  If I went into labor right now, I would actually have to just go to the birth center instead; it’s that bad.  I’m hoping that a crazy day of supply-buying with my mom on Wednesday will take care of most of what I still need, but I could really do with the full three weeks to get “nested” to my satisfaction.

Having said that, if God is taking requests on the matter, I seriously cannot wait to meet this baby!  It’s not that I’m particularly uncomfortable (a sure sign that I am no where near delivering yet!), I am just really eager to know who our newest family member is.  It could be girl number five… or boy number one… wouldn’t either one be the coolest thing ever?  I hardly know which to hope for.

On the pregnancy front, I’ve really had a pretty easy time of it this time.  A bit of heartburn.  Some ankle-swollenness when it’s humid, which it has been.   A lot.  I’m arguably carrying in a more “boyish” way this time, for what it’s worth.  A friend’s husband commented last week at church that I don’t look like I’ve gained much weight this time around, except for the bump.  He was really rather insistent on the matter, and I was lapping up the compliments until he concluded his little ode to pregnant me with “It kind of looks like you have a goiter or something.  You should get that looked at.”  Thanks.  You’re funny.

Of course, the question on everyone’s lips (mine included) is “What will we name it?”  Not knowing baby’s gender yet usually gives us an easy out of this awkward question, but a surprising number of people have managed to tease our two frontrunners out of me this time around, against my better judgment.  My Aunt Patty even cornered me at my Boy Shower and managed to get me to reveal our entire short-list.  I must be softening in my old age (side note: did you know that if we have another baby after this one I will be labeled “Advanced Maternal Age”?  How can that be?  I still feel so young!)  For now, I will just say that we are more-or-less at the stage of having a girl name and a boy name that I would be excited to use, with a couple of back-ups for each, just in case.  Trevor is having some of his usual cold-feet issues with the girl name, but I’m pretty sure he’ll love it anew if it gets attached to a sweet-smelling new baby girl.  He’s a sucker for them.

Name Verses Revisited

The girls have been practicing their name verses and have agreed to perform them for the world (or at least my little corner of cyberspace).  Without further ado, here they are each saying their verses (June has an understandable assist from her big sisters, and though she was napping for the filming of this video, it is worth mentioning that when her verse is spoken in her presence, she lights up like a Christmas tree and bursts into giggles.  Should’ve gotten a video of that!):

Pippa’s verse: Psalm 20:7 (ESV)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Romilly’s verse: Isaiah 50:10b (New Living Translation)

If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.

Beatrix’s verse: Psalm 119:19 (ESV)

I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!

Juniper’s verse: Isaiah 41:19b-20a (Good News)

Forests will grow in barren land, forests of pine and juniper and cypress. People will see this and know that I, the Lord, have done it.

Much Ado About Names… Again

Sam and June.

I had the pleasure last weekend of visiting with a long lost friend.  We grew up across the street from each other, but only became good friends in high school as each of us began to grow in our love for the Lord.

After our family moved back to the States we had one all-too-brief get-together with Amber and her husband, Greg.  They introduced us to Take 5 bars (yum!) and The Settlers of Catan, and then they moved to Texas.  Isn’t that always the way?

When we last saw them we had two girls, and they had no children yet.  Last weekend our four girls got to meet her two boys, and we mommies had a couple of hours to catch up on the last three and a half years.

Among the many things that impressed me about how my dear friend has grown into a wonderful wife and mother was the care she took over choosing her boys’ names.  I don’t mean in choosing names that I think are fabulous names (although they are that, too).  I mean that she really put thought into how she would name all of her children when she set out to name her first child.

Her boys are Samuel Courage and Lucas Wisdom.  Pure loveliness.

Each of her boys has a biblical virtue name for a middle name, *and* each of them has a corresponding Bible verse, which she recites to them at naptimes and bedtimes.  All I could think when I discovered this was, ‘why did I not think of that?!’

Now, our girls are into their names (I know.  You’re shocked, right?).  My mother-in-law has always taken great care to find the girls name-themed gifts and the whole family has now gotten on board with the girls’ name ‘symbols’.  Pippa (Greek, “Lover of horses”) often receives gifts with horses and violets (her middle name) on them.  Romilly has always been showered with either sunshine themed clothes and accessories (her initials spell RAY) or Alice in Wonderland items to go along with her middle name.  Beatrix gets the obvious Beatrix Potter references or the even-more obvious bumblebee motif.  June is a little trickier, but we’ve mainly been working the Junebug = ladybug (which it doesn’t, but who’s counting?) angle, keeping a vague Narnia link up our sleeves via her middle name, Lucy.

But Bible verses for each one?  It was ingenious!  I had to have them!

And so the quest began.  Would it be possible to find a verse for each of my girls’ names that wasn’t either ridiculously obscure or so tenuously connected to the the name that I’d have to spend more time explaining how it’s related than teaching the verse itself?

I think I’ve more or less done it.  What do you think?

Pippa’s verse: Psalm 20:7 (ESV)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Romilly’s verse: Isaiah 50:10b (New Living Translation)

If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.

Beatrix’s verse (Beatrix means “sojourner”, not super useful for clothing and toy shopping, but fabulous here!): Psalm 119:19 (ESV)

I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!

Juniper’s verse: Isaiah 41:19b-20a (Good News)

Forests will grow in barren land, forests of pine and juniper and cypress.  People will see this and know that I, the Lord, have done it.

It would have been nice if they’d all been the same translation, but I’m still pretty excited about using them to teach my girls some amazing truths about our great God.

I may have to find ones for myself and Trevor.  Jodi means, “See Judith” (or so I thought for years, having looked it up in a name book in elementary school), but once you get past all that, the going theory is that it means, “God is gracious”.  That’s certainly workable.  Or I could utilize the fact that my initials are JLY, Jesus Loves You!  So many possibilities…

Many thanks  to Amber for giving me this brilliant idea, though she likely has no idea I’ve stolen it. May she have many more fabulously named children.  (And if you’d like to suggest middle names for them in the comments, she’s accepting suggestions!)

More About Our Girls’ Names Than You Ever Wanted to Know

You know how when you have a million things to do, and you don’t know where to begin, you just grab for the quickest, easiest thing on your to-do list?  Like, when you have twenty people arriving at your house in two hours for a birthday party and you haven’t made the cake or wrapped the presents yet and your house is totally a mess, so you think… ‘I guess I should just start by checking my email one more time because maybe that one person who may or may not be coming to the party has written in the last three minutes to say if they’re coming or not?’  (No?  Just me?  Really?)

Anyway, that’s how I’m feeling about my blog situation right now.  We’re just back from a week away visiting friends and camping, we’ve celebrated Bea’s third birthday this week and went to a wedding today.   (Oh, and we finally got our van back, and June’s tooth is fine.)  I have so much to blog about, I don’t know where to begin.

And so, in this deer-in-the-headlights moment, I’m going to point you in the direction of something far less interesting than any of those things would be.

Over the last two weekends (in two installments, because I couldn’t be concise to save my life) the stories of our girls’ names have been published over at Appellation Mountain, one of my favorite baby name blogs.  The first post tells the stories of how Pippa and Ro were named, and the second, Bea and June.

I feel just a little bit famous!

*** Update: the links are no longer live, so I’ve copied the text of the girls’ name stories below for posterity ***

1.  What is your child’s name? Philippa Violet, called Pippa. Siblings: Romilly Alice, Beatrix Joanna and Juniper Lucy 

When did you choose?  We’ve never known the sex of any of our girls before birth (although we increasingly assume girl with each pregnancy), so the question of when they were named can only truly be answered, “At birth.”  As for when our girl name was nailed down, I can remember it vividly.  We were living in Scotland when our first two were born (my husband is from England and went to university in Scotland).  When I was 19 weeks pregnant with Pippa, we went on one last “vacation” before baby to the highlands of Scotland, where my hubby’s idea of a good time was to drag pregnant me on long walks through all sorts of terrain in all sorts of weather.  It was pretty fun, to be fair, but the best part was I had a captive audience for discussing baby names.  At first, I was pushing for a family name, either Alice for both of my grandmothers or Violet for his maternal granny who had passed away just bfeore I had gotten pregnant.  I probably would’ve used both together in either order if he had been on board,  but he found Alice a bit boring (only to an Englishman!) and Violet a bit lacking in nickname options since neither of use cared for Vi.  Once we ditched the family name idea, I can’t remember us considering any name other than Pippa.  I had heard it and fallen in love with it since living in the UK.  He liked it too; it was an easy choice.  What wasn’t easy was whether my grandma or his would get the middle name spot.  In the end, the fact that he had lost his granny recently was what sealed the deal.  It was important to him, and my two grandmothers were (and are!) both still living, so they could wait for a little namesake to come along later (just 17 months later, as it happened!) Who was involved in the decision?  I can’t remember discussing names with anyone but each other until we had a name pretty settled for each sex. What were the other options?  Alice and Violet, and I also pitched Imogen, which we still haven’t used, but hubby has now, *after* four girls, decided he likes.  Sigh… 

Did the meaning matter?  Pippa means (like Philip) “lover of horses” which was neither here nor there for me.  It was meaningful that it was a uniquely British name reflecting her Daddy’s culture, and I liked the (very tenuous) connection to my hometown, Philadelphia.  

Did you second guess yourself?  Only before she was born.  I have adored her name ever since the first time I held her, and I still smile every time I see the whole thing written out. 

2.What is your child’s name?  Romilly Alice, sometimes called Ro.  Siblings Philippa Violet, Beatrix Joanna and Juniper Lucy. 

When did you choose?  Again, we didn’t know the sex, but Romilly came up around the halfway mark of the pregnancy.  I had been trying to sell hubby on Cecily for the whole pregnancy so far, but for both of us, it niggled at us that we didn’t love any of its nicknames.  Since it was the ending of the name I loved most (a name-loving friend of mine believes that what I really wanted was an Emily, and she may be right!), I began to hunt around for similar names.  We discussed Amelie, Coralie, Felicity, Verity… and then I discovered Romilly.  I don’t remember where I first heard it.  It’s around enough in the UK that I had a vague awareness of it without actually knowing why.  I remember realizing during a sleepless night while on vacation with hubby’s family that a Romilly could be called Romy for short, and that sold it for me.  And kept me awake for the rest of the night, too excited to sleep.  Incidentally, we *never* call her Romy, just Ro, or Ro-ro.  That same trip I found out that my mother-in-law had a Romilly at the school where she teaches and loved the name.  She hated Cecily.  We don’t always worry about others’ opinions, but I have to admit, it was a factor in this case. I then set about making sure it was a “real name”.  Someone on a messageboard directed me to this website: , which sealed the deal with photo after photo of sweet baby Romillys (ours is there now, too!).  I’m still not sure the purist in me belives it is a “real name”.  It’s a first name, by way of surname, by way of French place-name, but I still wish it had a longer history of use as a girls’ name.  Whatever, I love it.    

What were your criteria?  We have an ever-growing list of “rules” for our names.  At this point, the main restrictions were that it not start with any initial we already had in our immediate family (T, J or P) and that it complement Pippa’s name.  What were the other options?  We continued tossing around Cecily, Verity and Felicity until the bitter end, but we were really only looking for a back-up name, in case she came out *not* a Romilly. 

Did the meaning matter? Ha!  No one really knows for sure what it means.  The meaning I give if people ask me is, “Rock of a thousand flowers”, but the place name is so old that no one really knows, so I guess it didn’t matter to us that much!  Her middle name, Alice is full of meaning, since both of my grandmothers are Alice.  That was set in stone long before she had a first name. 

Did you second guess yourself?  Maybe slightly more than with Pippa, but really not much at all.  I love her name now, and it suits her perfectly. 

3.What is your child’s name?  Beatrix Joanna, called Bea sometimes.  Siblings: Philippa Violet, Romilly Alice and Juniper Lucy.  

What were your criteria?  Her middle name *had* to be Joan, or some form thereof.  We had honored three out of four great grandmothers so far, and hubby’s paternal grandma Joan was the odd one out, and still living to know it, too!  This middle name proved problematic with a few of the names I was liking: Georgina/Georgiana, Imogen.  Nothing was grabbing us and we just had a list through the whole pregnancy of unsparkly girls’ names.  Beatrix/Beatrice was on it.  

Who was involved in the decision?  Our usual sounding board of family and friends (but not all of them), as well as the trusted circle of name freaks at the messageboard who helped me name Romilly. 

What were the other options?  Cornelia June, Cora for short.  The one big ah-ha moment of the pregnancy was about this name.  Frustrated with Joan, I had taken to scouring hubby’s family tree for another name that would be meaningful to grandma Joan, to honor her side of the family without using her name.  There was a string of Corneliuses in her ancestry, and I briefly convinced hubby that this would cover us for honoring her.  The middle name, then would have honored my Aunt June (funny how that one vowel sound difference makes me love June and … um… not love Joan).  He soon enough came to his senses, though, and we went back to the drawing board with Joan in the middle. A friend suggested tweaking it to Joanna, and that was when some of the unsparkly names on our list started to shine a bit more. Our hospital list also included: Georgina/Georgiana, Harriett, Kerensa, Sibyl, Seraphina, Imogen, Felicity, Verity and probably a couple others I can’t remember. 

When did you choose?  When we met her!  We arrived at the hospital with a list of about ten names.  She was born about twenty minutes later, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to discuss during labor!  Beatrix had been a frontrunner until a few days earlier when we realized she would be “Bea Young”, which she is.  We temporarily nixed it for that reason, but nothing else rose to the top in its place.  When she was born they asked me her name.  I said I needed a minute, and the nurse gave me a look that said, “Didn’t you think about this already?”  I shot her one back that said, “You have *no* idea!”, and hubby and I discussed.  I made him go first in saying who he thought she was, and he said Beatrix, thinking I was still going to fight for Cornelia.  I had known the moment I saw her she was a Beatrix, so there was really no discussion at all. Naming her was such a different process from naming the other girls.  She was our third baby in less than three years, and I think we were just burnt out.  It felt like a very mechanical process of adding names to the list, striking them off, and weighing pros and cons, but in the end, she still got a name that suits her prefectly and that I 100% love. 

Did the meaning matter? More for Bea than any of the others.  Although we have a very strong Christian faith, we had never sought out names that reflect this beyond honoring beloved family members who loved the Lord.  Bea’s name means “sojourner”, and was used by early Christians to reflect that they were strangers in this world and citizens of Heaven.  That is just what we want for our girl, so it couldn’t have been more perfect. 

Did you second guess yourself?  Only on the middle name.  A part of me sometimes wishes we had just bit the bullet and used Joan as is.  But Grandma Joan does know it’s for her, and she feels honored, so it’s all good. 

4. What is your child’s name?  Juniper Lucy, called June, sometimes Junie.  Big sisters Philippa Violet, Romilly Alice and Beatrix Joanna. 

When did you choose?   Our girl name hit me like a bolt of lightning on a long road trip with hubby and our three little ones when I was five weeks pregnant.  We had about a six hour drive ahead of us, so I had purposed to get a bit of name discussion in along the way.  

What were your criteria?  Again, we chose the family member we wanted to honor first, my Great Aunt June (whom I’ve called “Junie” since I was a little girl), and talked names around that.  We also wanted to work in something about the Chronicles of Narnia, since that was meaningful to us that pregnancy.  We were still avoiding duplicating sisters’ initials, but by baby number four, we decided it was time to throw our own two initials, J and T, back into the bag (she actually shares all my initials, JLY, so once we ditched that rule, we really ditched it!), and we were looking to stick with our theme of British-flavored names. I found from my earliest name thoughts this time around that I was more in love with June (which we thought would be her middle name) than with any of the names we had previously considered as first names.  But Just June wasn’t going to work with frilly sister names or with our common one-syllable last name. 
Confession time: we had always had the name Juniper in mind for a dog, should we ever get a girl dog down the line.  In hindsight, I had always loved it, but it just seemed a little too “out there” for a person.  A couple of my friends had suggested it when I was pregnant with Bea, but I had dismissed it because it started with my initial, and because in the back of my mind I was saving it for a puppy.  Because *that* makes sense. At some point I started hearing it as more botanical than hippy, and I was immediately in love.  You always hear of British ladies called Peony and Hyacinth; why not Juniper?  My mother-in-law remains unconvinced that Juniper is anything but a hippy name, on a par with Rainbow or Moonflower, but on our most recent visit to England, I spotted a Genevieve Juniper in a local birth announcement.  So there. Still, using “the family name” as the first name left me feeling completely at a loss for a middle name, until we thought of using a Narnia name.  So, I’m in a car on my way to Ohio, five weeks pregnant, and I suddenly shout out “Juniper Lucy!”  Hubby was unconvinced at first, but after a few hours of me randomly saying the name and holding up my hand for a high five (this is what he was doing every time the radio had something good to report about the Phillies, so I thought I’d try it), he was definitely warming to it. Who was involved in the decision?  Just us this time.  Actually, that’s not true.  I did check with my Aunt June to make sure she didn’t mind sharing her nickname.  I hoped she’d be flattered (and she was), but didn’t want her to feel she was being replaced.  She’s delighted with her little namesake. 

What were the other options?  All the major name drama surrounded boy names this time around.  Juniper was the only girl name we ever really discussed, and it was settled before the end of my first trimester! 

Did the meaning matter? The meanings are fine, but weren’t important to us this time around. 

Did you second guess yourself?  I don’t think so.  I don’t always think her name fits that well with our British vibe, but I love it too much to care.  Ironically, the two I had to work hardest to sell hubby on, Romilly and Juniper, are now his favorites.  Names, that is; we like all the children!   

Ask the Name Nerd: My First Ever Internet Name Guru Gig

There are bzillions of baby name bloggers out there.  Literally, I think.  A few of them manage to score the sort of fame and fanfare that gets people writing in to seek wisdom in their own baby name situations.  This is one of my favorite such name blogs.   But I am not one of those bloggers, and this is not one of those blogs.

Nevertheless, an online friend of mine, knowing of my little obsession hobby, has solicited advice from little old me in naming her sixth child.  *And* she kindly agreed to let me pretend I’m an Internet Name Guru and post our musings here.

So, without further ado…

Erica Johnson, mom to Libby, Parker, Perry, Corban and Clayt, writes:

Just thought I should have a little fun with a fellow name-nerd! I know you will at least understand all my different angles of thought!

I’m playing around with Girl names, Eric [hubby] won’t discuss much until the gender is confirmed. But before we got pregnant we “picked” Regina Janelle…. Regina (his sister’s first name) Janelle (my sister’s middle name).

Then…I started thinking about twin names [we name nerds, we do this.  It’s normal for us] …and decided I really LOVE the name Janelle… too much to use it as a middle name. So we picked…
Regina JoHannah and Janelle Mayci …Gina and Nelli – I know that completely breaks Trevor’s #1 name rule, but I think it’s too cute!

I want to use Hannah (or a form of it) as a middle name when I have the set of twins I’ve been praying for!
Mayci is a name I’ve had picked out since my first Pregnancy…it is my Great Grandpa’s first name (Macy) and my Great Grandma’s middle name (May) so that’s how I came up with the creative spelling…It’s  become a little too popular…in that unique trendy kind of way… for me about 10 years ago, but it’s good for a middle name. I thought it went okay with Janelle and liked it even though it doesn’t have perfect flow.

Well, no twins this go around (unless we find one was hiding at the first ultrasound). We don’t want to save our first choice, first names.
The boys first names are in consonant “pairs” Perry and Parker, Corban and Clayt…which is why this baby *HAS* to be a girl….

I thought since Libby has always be the “lonely L” as the boys like to say…that we’d just make all the girls have their “own” personal first name letter…Gina=G and Janelle=J….even though they almost make the same sound.

Corban Joseph and Clayt Daniel both have a Hebrew name so I wonder if I should keep a trend up? Not so sure that “Hebrew” is especially special to me…But what is REALLY important is to have at least one of the names with a Strong godly meaning…

I’m pretty sure we are going with Gina for a first name. Libby is not an “Elizabeth” so I didn’t want to name a baby one thing and then ONLY call her a nickname…so I like the idea of Gina better.

Last night I kept thinking of Gina Grace…but I’m just not sure about putting myself in a trend for Virtue names…even though they DO have strong Godly meanings…hmmm. Janelle Faith sounds pretty good though, <giggle>!

Okay…so if you made it this far…what do you think?
But I also know the virtue names are the “new” Marie, Ann and Lyns, and I do not want to be one of those who just stick in something easy.

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Fun! I am so much better at philosophizing about name issues than offering a list of suggestions, so I’m glad that’s not what you’re in the market for!

I think I’ll work my way through this backwards, since it’s the middle name thing that I’m thinking about right now. Mine is Lynn, so I get where you’re coming from there!

So, from where I sit, the bad news is that Grace totally *is* the new Lynn/Ann/Marie. Faith might be up there too, especially in Christian circles, but the other one I hear *all the time* is Rose.

With that behind us, I submit to you my absolute *favorite* Christian girl middle name that I haven’t heard anyone use yet: Ruby. I love it for its reference to Proverbs 31 and a noble woman’s value being above rubies. I want that for my daughters, but we’ve used family names (mostly) for middles, so I’m desperate for *somebody* to use it!  Gina Ruby? Please?

I don’t think you should nail yourself down to using virtues, either way. Your pattern so far is that one name has a biblical or faith based meaning, and that’s what I think you should stick with. First or middle, be it a Bible character, concept word or hero name from real life or history. Keep your options open. If and when you get your twin girls, I have to admit I like a little bit more special matchiness for twins, so then maybe Verity and Honor for middle names, or Hannah and Rachel, or something like that.

As for the names on your list:

Regina/Gina – the meaning for your family makes me like these more than I would have on sound alone, but I have to admit liking the full name better. So regal… literally (doesn’t it mean queen?).
Janelle/Nelli – Love, love, love! I would spell it Nellie, but that’s just my own hang-up about my name feeling unsubstantial, and after all, it’s only a nickname in this case, so who cares? I love the family connection, and *adore* the nickname.
JoHannah – hmm… I get using Hannah, and I get why Johannah works better with Regina, but the capital H doesn’t sit right with me. It looks clumsy to my eye, and I think explaining it and spelling it would get old for her.  If you love it that way though, don’t mind me.

Mayci – *Love* the meaning, but the spelling is a lot for the purist in me to swallow. I think Maycie would work slightly better, but as I said before, I have a thing about names ending in -i!  I really like just Macy best of all, and you can still hear the ‘May’ loud and clear, so I don’t see why it can’t still honor both relatives.

So, my dream name for you: Janelle Ruby called Nellie. *Love*!!!  (Re)gina Ruby, “Gina” is also delightful.

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Any reader thoughts for Erica?  I know she’ll be reading and hoping for more name input!

My Baby Name Hometown

One of my favorite things about England (is this an overstatement?  I really don’t think so) is the baby name landscape.  Sure, the accents are beautiful and the sprawling countryside is  breathtaking, but you can’t take those home with you.

Above is my little souvenir from the gift shop at the Black Country Museum (I will tell you about my actual trip to England soon, I promise, but you know, first thing’s first.)  Trevor’s parents and brothers and the girls were chomping at the bit to get to the museum itself, so I didn’t have time to adequately drool over this display.  Instead, I thought quick and took a picture.

You’ve maybe guessed by now that I am not calling your attention to how beautiful these cards are, but rather the fact that this rack represents the top 50 (or so) currently most popular names in the UK.  Now go back up and look.

Do you see?!

Here are some of the girls you wouldn’t find on a personalized sippy cup on this side of the Atlantic:

Alice,  Amelia, Charlotte, Daisy, Eleanor, Freya, Georgia, Imogen, Keira, Lucy, Millie, Phoebe, Poppy, Ruby, Scarlett

And though I didn’t get a full shot of the boys, there are a few keepers even in the first few rows:

Alfie, Archie, Callum, Cameron, Charlie, George, Harry, Harvey, Lewis


And that’s just in the top 50!  In real life, we also came across little ones called Myla and Lilly, Reuben and Barnaby.  Seriously, I could name a child *any one* of those names, and almost have on a few occasions.

One of the sweetest things for me (apart from the obvious family connections, of course) about taking the girls to their other half culture, is hearing them introduce themselves and be understood.  I was chatting with another mum (*I* even get a nicer name over there!) at Trevor’s parents’ church, and she was asking the girls’ names.  I introduced the little two first, since they were nearest, and then the woman’s husband who was standing nearby chimed in, “and these two are Pippa and Romilly.”  I was puzzled for a second, wondering if he was a friend of Trevor’s parents and already knew of the girls.  Then I finally asked,” how did you know that?”  to which he  replied, “I just asked them.”  I just beamed.  My girls said their names, and he got them, without any help from me whatsoever.

At least a few times I heard someone ask Pippa her name, and I braced myself to step in, spell, explain, repeat as I always have to do here in the US even though she says it perfectly.  Over there, almost without fail, her introduction was met with ” Oh, Pippa… as in Philippa!”

All of this left me to ponder, though, do I enjoy having unusually named children or pine for a bit more recognition (and fewer blank stares) when I introduce them?  I guess a bit of both.   It probably goes without saying after bestowing  four never-charted-in-the-US-Top-1000 names on our children that we like to think outside the box a little, but a little break from the constant explaining and clarifying was definitely refreshing.

Also, their names as a set are probably more cohesive here in the US (at least in my head) than they are in the UK.  While they all claim ‘British flavor’ and  ‘quirky style’ on this side of the pond, the view from Britain is somewhat different.

  • Pippa was probably most common in the 60’s and 70’s in the UK, making her more like a “Judy” type name over here.
  • Romilly is a recent up-and-comer in England, probably mosted prompted by a pop-culture bearer… dare I compare her to Madison?
  • Beatrix probably has about the same image and popularity there as here: old-fashioned, literary, just a tiny smidge fusty… let’s liken her to Agatha.
  • And Juniper, well, as much as I’d like to claim Britishness by way of being botanical (Brits have always been crazy about their flower names, as Daisy and Poppy attest above), Juniper probably sounds just as much a crazy hippy name to the Brits as Rainbow might.

So if over there, my kids names are all easily recognized, but heard collectively as, “These are my daughters Judy, Madison, Agatha and Rainbow”… I think we’d probably best just stay put, don’t you?

Name Nerd in Training

(Philippa: (f.) Greek. Lover of Horses.)


Pippa: (holding up a piece of soft pretzel) Look, Mom, J for Juniper… and Jodi!

(…a few seconds of deep thought…)

Mom, was your name really Jodi when you were a little girl?

Me: Yes.

Pippa: (uncontrollable giggles)

Me: Why is that funny?

Pippa: Because Jodi isn’t a kid name.  It’s a mom name!  (More giggling.  Romilly too.  Hmph.)

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Looks like she’s grasped the concept of generational name popularity.  Now how to I break it to her that by the time she’s naming her babies, Jodi may just be at the height of name fashion again?  (It could happen.)

It’s a Big Day in NameNerd Land!

imagesHappy SSA Stats Day to fellow name nerds, far and wide!  Yes, that’s right, once again, the high holiday of the baby naming community has rolled around, bringing some interesting news with it.  For the first time in over a decade Emily is *not* the number one name for baby girls…   Emma is!

For anyone who doesn’t remember my post last year, every year right around Mother’s Day, the Social Security Administration releases the official, accurate, only-reliable list of the 1000 most popular names for boys and girls of the previous year.  Lots of websites claim to have the goods from about January onward, but they don’t know what they’re talking about, because they’re using a sampling of data primarily gleaned from a certain demographic of computer-literate moms.  If you want to know what’s really going on in names, this list is the only one worth reading.  It can tell you, for example, exactly how many Nevaehs  (or Beatrices, for that matter) were born in America in 2008 (5,990 and 336, respectively.  Isn’t it shocking?).  I know you’re starting to feel all atwitter now, right?

Okay, here’s the list.

Naturally, eveyone’s first inclination is to look for their own children’s names (reading 2000 names takes a while, so I recommend the Search function in the Edit menu).  Shockingly, not one of my girls’ first names made an appearance on the list.  Not one!  But, importantly, Beatrice and June were there.  Beatrice was down slightly from last year’s rank of 833 to 897 (though actually, there were 30 more Beatrices born, which just means, in a nutshell, that more people are giving their kids weird names), and June reentered the charts for the first time in a few decades at 863 (maybe thanks to Little Einsteins?), so potentially, my girls could run into other little Beas and Junies on the playground once in a blue moon.  I could probably live with that.

I don’t know that I’m going to have time to do the sort of in depth number crunching I did last year, but for now, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this year’s stats.  Anything jump out at you?

As a starting point for novices, why not tell me the rankings of your own kids’ names, or your own name, and whether they surprised you at all.  You may also want to compare stats from the year they were born to this year’s.  Anything interesting?

And finally, since we’re talking names, I’ve compiled a short list of favorites and unfavorites from our local hospital’s birth announcements for April.  (These are for you, Lindsay M. Since I know today is possibly an even more exciting day for you than for me, think of this as a little SSA Day present!)  Best of Boys: Everett, George, and Dorian (sorry, no middle names were given.)  Worst of Boys: Braylin.  I can’t decide if it would be better or worse on a girl.  Best of Girls: Camilla, Caroline and Penelope.  Worst of Girls: Cydney.  Why oh why?