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Leni is great! Another one that would feel intuitive to me is Nori.
I adore Elizabeth. I understand that many find it stale, but in my opinion, it can easily be revived by one of the underused nicknames. I personally love Libby, Betsy, and Bizzy.
Catherine/Katherine is lovely too. The trendiness of K-names in my area (names like Kinley, Kaelyn, and every spelling of Katelyn) would turn me off of the K-spelling. I know Katherine had legitimate usage long before the creative K-names hit the scene, but the C spelling feels much more classic to me.
Any interest in Augustana? It keeps the same pronounciation of August, since you didn't like the prounounciation of Augusta (AU-gust-ANN-a) and it would merge August and Anne into one name. It would seem more feminine for your husband, and you could still call her August for short.
I really like Silas with your set. If Sterling won't be the baby's surname, it would make a great first name. I'll also suggest Simon, Sebastian, Solomon, Samson, Roland, Bennett, and Russell.
I totally understand the sadness. My 3 yo has already jettisoned her nicknames. It took a few weeks for me and my husband to adjust, and she's still working on her friends. We do use her nickname when my husband and I are talking privately, when the kids are in bed, so we get to use it just a little. Daisy is such a sweet name, so I would be sad to see it go! It will be interesting to see if it sticks.
Even smack dab in the Bible belt, surnames are much more popular than Bible names. For every kid with a Biblical name, I know at least 10 kids with names like Lincoln, Tucker, Sullivan, or Jackson.
Congratulations! My husband and I used to play a game that got a lot of great conversations started. We'd open to a page of the BNW book and read all the names on one side (usually 4-8 names). We'd pretend we HAD to choose one of those names for our child, and we'd each say our choice. Even if we rarely chose the same name, it was a fun way to kickstart the conversation about naming styles. And every once in awhile we'd choose the same name and discover that we both really liked it, so it would go on the list.
My husband's grandparents, who were raised in an orphanage and later adopted out to families, found out after more than 50 years of marriage that they were not legally married because their names were never legally changed after adoption. I've wondered how they could have possibly made it this far into their lives without needing official birth certificates and Social Security cards, but I guess until recently they weren't required.
I live in the south and also know a JaneAnn. Her daughter is Jane[familysurname]. While it's a neat tradition, I've seen some frustration when Jane[familysurname] introduces herself by her double-barrel first name and people reasonably assume that the second half is her surname, so they call her Jane.
I went to elemantary school with a Toccarra but never knew where the name came from.
It's fascinating how many people have come to this site to ask nearly identical questions about this particular name. Almost unbelievable...
It's much more surprising to me that people haven't heard of Cordelia! It has enough literary/pop-culture usage that you'd think at least one reference would make it familiar (I can think of Shakepeare, Anne of Green Gables, and Buffy/Angel off the top of my head).
We expected to be bombarded with Middleton comments, but have barely received a handful. Shockingly, we hear, "I've never heard that name," at least 10x more often than a Middleton reference.
I know, I don't understand the confusion either! Perhaps they think I was going for Piper with a British accent.
Name-watching is the only enjoyable aspect of visiting the pediatrician. I always wonder how many people are silently judging me when the nurse unfailingly calls for my Pippa, "PIE-puh!" Not that Pippa is a crowd-pleaser, but it's at least a real name.
I wouldn't worry about finding an across-the-board nickname. My daughter answered to several nicknames through toddlerhood, and is now (age 3) insisting on going by her full name only.
Emery is the most common girls' name I come across on a daily basis where I live. It ranked 75 spots higher in my state (in the southern US) than it did nationally for girls, so I'm in a pocket of them. Even though it is historically a boys' name, my exposure to it has been entirely female. I'm definitely not saying you shouldn't use it for a boy, but that you should be aware that it is rising in popularity among girls.
Ugh, that stinks that people would be that rude.
The only outright negative comment we've received was from my mom, who said that my daughter's name, Pippa, made her think of pee and poop. Fortunately she only said it once and has never mentioned it again.
We announced both of our kids' names as soon as we were 100% sure of them, which was somewhere around the 25 week mark.
For both kids, we chose a name we loved for the first name, and a family honor name in the middle spot. We got pretty universal positive feedback on our first baby's name.
For our second, we expected some negativity for her first name, since it's a bit quirky and unusual, and our expectations were fulfilled. We weren't bothered by it, since we loved the name and were firm on our choice.
Her middle name, however, brought the most trouble, which we weren't expecting. We did a mash-up of the grandmothers' middle names (Marie + Ann=Marianne). One grandmother loved the honor name, and the other (my mom) hated it. Hated the style, hated the flow, didn't care that she was being honored. At that point, I would have been more than happy to change the name, since it wasn't our personal style anyways, but since the other grandmother loved it, we were stuck. My mom tried to convice me for 3 months to change the name.
We kept the name, but if I could go back and do it all over, I would have just scrapped honoring the grandmothers and chosen a meaningful name that was more in line with my style.
When I was pregnant with baby #2, our toddler told everyone that her baby sister was going to be called Margaret. I started to wonder how disappointed she would be when the baby did not, in fact, turn out to be a cute little tiger.
I'll cast another vote for Margaret. It's a familiar classic that feels fresh for this generation and has a ton of great nicknames.