Tag Archives: baby naming

Totally Stumped – Terribly Picky Mom Problems

I am lacking some serious creativity (and dare I say it… motivation?) to name this little guy. I’m surprisingly content to just call him the little guy or little brother. Maybe it’s because I’ve placed too many restrictions on the process… Here are my requirements:

1. I want the name to have a significance besides “it sounds nice”. Either a good origin, family name, good meaning, etc. That being said…

2. I want it to sound nice. I want there to be a nice flow between first to middle, and middle to last, and first to last. I want it to go along (at least a little bit, not like rhyming or anything) with Ella Kate and Joseph. I don’t want to be calling out, “Ella Kate! Joseph! Gunner!” like I’m calling my dog. (I only say that because I know two dogs named Gunner. No hate if your kid’s name is Gunner.)

3. I’m not a huge fan of “alternate spellings”. I know some people are, and I don’t mind them, but I don’t really care for random y’s or x’s thrown in for no reason. Our last name is hard enough to get people to understand, without having a first name with a silent letter or something. No Jaxon or Kaleb or Camryn.

4. I don’t want his first name to be one syllable. I know, I know. But one syllable in the first name AND the last name just sounds choppy.(I’m getting ridiculous, I know.) Jack Hsu. Bob Hsu. You get my point.

5. I don’t want a name with the sound “ooh” in it. Like Jude or Lucas. Lucas Hsu is too much “ooh”.

Alright, that’s all I can think of for now, but don’t be surprised if I come back and edit a few more on here later… Do you have any suggestions for my little guy that follow all my ridiculous rules?

6 Old-Fashioned But Classic Names For Girls

girls names

After perusing some lists and some family trees, I’ve picked out six favorite names for girls that are old, but still beautiful. Some old names can’t seem to work on younger people, but I feel like these do.

Dorothea/Dorothy
This vintage name is due for a comeback. The meaning just makes me think that more; God’s gift is a sweet name for any girl baby, because they are all sweet gifts.

Evelyn
I think this one is a beauty. It’s long, without being too many letters or difficult to spell, and flows nicely when you speak it aloud – which you just did, as soon as I suggested it. Right?

Hazel
I’ve always loved this one. I’ve got a great-aunt (or that’s what we always said she was to me) with this name, and she’s a sweet memory to attach to it for me. I don’t think it’s too old-sounding or quirky to use now.

Vivien/Vivian
I personally like the spelling with an “e”, a la Vivien Leigh (the actress who portrayed Scarlet O’Hara) but I’ve always loved the beautiful sound of this name. I had a student by the name of Vivian, and she went by Vivi (Vih-vee, not Vee-vee). Not to mention, I like this “V” name more than I like Vera or even Veda.

Edith
Hubby’s grandmother’s first name (that she doesn’t go by) is Edith, as well as one of my mom’s friends from childhood. I’ve always had good connotations with the name, and so I love it even more, now that I’ve had the idea that it can be shortened to Edie. WIN.

Phoebe
I know, it takes a few minutes for those of us who grew up on “Friends” to get Lisa Kudrow out of our minds, but I’m digging Phoebe right now as a cute baby girl’s name. I’ve got a cousin who just named her daughter Phoebe, and already, at less than a year old, the little gal looks like a perfect Phoebe.

What vintage or “old lady” names do you wish would come back around? Do you have one yourself?

Six Names for Successful Boys

boys names

Upon reading list after list of “strong boy names”, I noticed a trend. There were lots of names of American icons (former presidents, founding fathers, actors, inventors and heroes in general) that are considered to be names that would let the boy next door grow into a great man. Here are a few of the ones I thought stood out…

William
Yes, it’s a common name, but it’s considered a strong one, and has been held by many famous Americans, such as William Faulkner (author), William Holden (wonderful actor), William Wordsworth (poet), and including four presidents (William “Bill” Clinton, William Howard Taft, William Henry Harrison, and William McKinley).

Charles
Another common name, with a lot of history to it. Famous Americans include Charles Schulz (Peanuts!), Charles Dickens (author), Charles Lindbergh (aviator), Charles Goodyear (inventor) and Charles Houston (civil rights activist)

Benjamin
A Biblical name, but also a strong, male name. Big Bens include Benjamin Franklin (I refuse to explain him on principle), Benjamin Bratt (actor), Benjamin Harrison (president), and Benjamin Guggenheim (businessman, died on the TITANIC!)

Henry
I like this name a lot, and think it’s a classic. American Henrys: Henry Ford (obivously), Henry Winkler (the Fonz actor), Henry David Thoreau (philosopher and poet), William Henry Harrison (some of these presidents really doubled up), and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poet)

Christopher
Hubby’s middle name, so it’s obviously important, but it’s also a famous one. Famous Christophers: Christopher Reeve (SUPER actor), Chris Paul (one of the only famous basketball players I would know), Christopher Ferguson (astronaut – I’m a nerd), and can we just count Christopher Columbus as an American?

Thomas
A name meaning “twin” obviously gained popularity. We can start by naming the presidents (Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Woodrow Wilson) and move on to include Thomas Edison (inventor), Tom Hanks (actor), Thomas Wolfe (writer, playwright), and Thomas Eakins (artist, sculptor).

What names would you add to the list for the boy next door/future American icon?

Teachers’ Thoughts: Popular Names of School-Aged Kids

Remember, like, a few years ago, every other boy was named Jason, and the girls were all named Brittany? -Pain, in Disney’s Hercules

I’m sure this happens in every generation, but it seemed to me that I had tons of kids at my school who all had the same names. Sometimes, that made it easier to remember their names (Oh, you’re one of the Evans!) and sometimes it seemed odd. (Wow, I didn’t realize Ezra was such a common name!)

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I got some of my teacher friends to weigh in and tell me what they felt like the most common kinds of names at their schools are right now. So here are the results!

For boys:

The suffix -den. Examples are Aiden, Hayden, Brayden, Jaden, etc.

Other names that end in -en, -on, or -in. Examples are Justin, Carson, Cameron, Grayson, Finn, Austin, Jaylen, the list goes on.

Jack/Jackson. Not necessarily a shortening of the other, but related sounds for sure. Alternate spellings like Jax and Jaxson included.

Isaiah and Elijah. Unrelated histories, same Biblical origin.

“Traditional” boys names. Including last names as first names, are still prominent, such as George, William, Christopher, Michael, James, to name a few.

For girls:

M names. Such as Makayla, Mackenzie, Madison and all of their related possibilities.

Ella and Emma. Often used as part of double names as well.

Caroline. Maybe it’s because I live in North Carolina, but I know a ton of Carolines.

Katherine and Kaitlin. And all of the spellings and shortenings that that implies: Kathryn, Caitlin, Kate, Katie, Katelyn, Catherine, etc.

Another thing my teacher friends said is happening is waves of people just making up names. Not necessarily making up words (using punctuation and silent letters – Na’Ja, D’Andre, J’Keir) but combining syllables from two names to make on name (TyShawn, Devonte, Keyshawn), and using words that haven’t often been used as names before (Wisdom, Angel, Rainbow, Happy, Neveah – Heaven spelled backwards). I guess that leaves the floor wide open for creative types!

What are some names you feel like you see used often nowadays? Do you know several little girls named Norah? How about lots of little guys named Hudson?

What’s Your Name, Sweet One?

When you’re pregnant, you’re a planner, and you’re OCD like me, you want to name that baby. Specifically, you’d like to name that baby so you can speak about it without saying “it” all the time. Hubby rarely wants to talk names until we know the gender around 20 weeks, which I guess I understand, but still… isn’t it fun to think of names?! Even really silly ones you know you’d never use?!

Naming a child is serious business. They keep it forever… they can truly become the name. It helps mold them into themselves. The pressure is on, in other words, to choose wisely.

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When naming EK, I knew immediately the route I wanted to take. I’d had a dream about four months before I got pregnant with her that I had a baby girl named Ella Katharine. I specifically remember in my dream that Katharine was spelled like Katharine Hepburn (and yes, that was the association in my mind). However, when we got pregnant and started talking names, we wanted to use family names. So I started looking for something approximating Ella and Katharine in our families. And of course, nada for both. However, I came up with a way to honor two wonderful women, and mostly keep with the name for my daughter that I had dreamed of. EK’s full name is Elena Kathleen, and we call her Ella Kate. Elena is my mom’s first name (who goes by her middle name, by the way) and Kathleen is my ,om’s mom’s mom’s name – my maternal great-grandmother, Mamaw, whom I knew and loved for my first 18 years. I was so pleased with the full name, the nickname, and the whole idea of it that I knew it couldn’t be topped.

When naming our son, we had a different thought – no dream this time to help us out. We still wanted to use family names though, and when we found out it was a boy, we had it narrowed down to two options. We knew his middle name would be Stevens (Hubby’s mom’s maiden name, and middle name of Hubby’s middle brother) but we had two first names we’d tied with. Both were family names, and both had been used a few times within the family. We ended up choosing Joseph, Hubby’s dad’s name, and also Hubby’s eldest brother’s first name (which he doesn’t go by). We literally covered all Hubby’s immediate family with his full name, Joseph Stevens. It worked out really well!

Now that we’ve used two names from my family and two names from Hubby’s, we haven’t decided whether we want to use more family names (we have several more we’d love to incorporate) or whether we want to go completely out of the box. Obviously we don’t know gender yet, so Hubby hasn’t made too many contributions to the conversation, but my mind is spinning with possibilities, options for pleasant-sounding double names if it’s a girl (I do love a good, southern, double name.) or strong, handsome boy names.

image from birth.com.au

The main problem I have thinking about baby names is the same problem I had picking tile for the bathroom floor, and paint color for the walls: I like everything. I literally like so many different things that it’s difficult for me to choose. I love Biblical names and their accompanying history. I love Celtic names and the way they sound when you speak them. I love strong, traditional, common names, that everyone will know how to pronounce and spell. I love family names and the honor we can give to people we love. I love non-traditional, unique names – to an extent. But let’s be honest: I shan’t be using “Apple” or “Blue”.

I came across this app (now I can’t even remember where I read about it) called Baby Name Genius, and it took over my life for a little bit. A name pops up, you give it the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”, and it generates a name you might like, based on your previous opinions. I wasted several minutes (read: hours) throughout a couple of days giving my approval or disapproval of names, until I felt like it was giving me the same names over and over again (including ones I had thumbs-downed!). Bummer. It says the app has tens of thousands of names. I didn’t see that many. Anyway, I’ve been doing random research reading lists of celebrity baby names, names for girls based on adventurous women, names for boys based on sensitive men, you get the idea. Reading short lists is better than starting at “A” on nameberry.com.

All this is to say that I’m going to post a few fun or funky lists of names that have caught my eye for one reason or another. But you’ll have to wait. I don’t want to give it all away in one post! How dare I? Make you come back?! I know. I’m stringing you along, aren’t I? Hopefully these baby-naming posts will culminate in an actual decision about what Hsu Baby #3 will be called! If you’d like to weigh in with a suggestion, leave it in the comments!