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I find Cormac Jack has too many hard 'C' sounds, but middle names are generally hidden in everyday life so unless you plan on calling him by both names a lot it's probably not an issue. I can't see a problem with any of the others. Bernard strikes me as being very firmly in the 'fusty porch sitter' style of names whereas Marcel, Cyprian and Raphael seem younger and have an international vibe.
My personal favourite is Marcel.
Going purely on sound/flow/the feel of saying them I like Bennett Vaughn and Bennett Alexander best. The only one I really don't care for the sound of is Bennett Clark, Clark somehow feels more abrupt and jarring to me than the other one syllable options. Personally I quite like when there is a juxtaposition between the first and middle names so having the less common Vaughn as a middle balances with Bennett quite well I think, it doesn't feel overly surname-ish to me but I can see the concern there.
BS as first + middle initials would not really worry me as I feel like if a middle initial is being used then the last name will be being used as well so the effect will be diluted.
I like Noah but find it too similar to Nolan to use on brothers. From the rest of your list I would pick Patrick, it definitely gives me a strong Irish/Celtic feel with Nolan but I like it and think it goes well. I also like Ryan (ditto on the Celtic vibe) and Emric (I'd go with the Emeric spelling, but I can see how that might lead to people saying Em-er-rik if they're unfamiliar with it). Camden is really NMS, and living in London I can't disassociate it with the place and Christian is a bit bland for me, although I do think it works fine with Nolan.
This completely. I would very much not want to be a Caden who's older brother was called Callan and so I would not do that to my kids. To my mind it seems very much like you couldn't find a name so you just changed your older son's a bit and I can imagine as a child that it would make me feel like a second-rate version of my sibling.
Have you considered that the reason you like a name so similar to your son's is because you already love that name because it's attached to your son? I think the thing to keep in mind is that once you have a new name attached to your new son you will grow to love it because it's his name even if you only like, instead of love, it in the abstract.
Having said all that it's your family who will be living with it so if it does not feel like it's too similar or a problem to you/your wife that counts for a lot and possibly your boys will never really notice or care, everyone is different.
Sophie is far and away the most popular spelling of the name. Sofie is a legitimate alternative spelling (according to behind the name it's a form used in German/Danish/Dutch/Czech) but has made the top 1000 in the US only once-in 2012 when it got to #996-so I doubt very many people (if anyone) would default to that spelling. [For context Sophie is currently at #106 and was at #52 in 2012.] There is also Sophy and I wouldn't be surprised if some child out there has an even more tortured spelling of it, but those people are going to be so few and far between that again it's very unlikely anyone would spell the name that way unprompted.
I don't think it comes across as being "short" for Sophia, I would certainly never guess that of someone named Sophie. I agree with you that Ella and Sophia are a bit matchy for sisters and Sophie sounds better. The Sophie I know well goes by Soph as a nickname, but Fee or Fia would work too (you could even use Sophia as a nickname if you wanted), or of course there's the option of having an endearment nickname unrelated to her first name.
Congratulations! A great name to fit with your set and a very cute story with him being your Max :)
For me the fact that Mae was grandma's middle name makes it more of a link, she would be sharing her middle name with her great-grandma. That is a nice connection to me and would be easy to say to family when you announce the name to make sure everyone is aware of the namesake ("her middle name is Mae, the same as Grandma Ruth's"). But if it feels like not enough to you and you want to go with Rosalie Ruth to be more direct then I do like lucubratrix's suggestion of "Rosie Ru" as an affectionate nickname option.
I think Natalie is fine for a baby born in 2018, it seems like the kind of name where I wouldn't be that surprised to meet a 1 year old or 31 year old named it. I think Natalie is a friendly/approachable name and it sounds quite cheerful when I say it.
Noah is definitely my favourite of the first names on your list, and I really like Lennox too. However if you're not aware Noah is currently the #2 boys name in the US (and was #1 the four previous years) which is about as common as it gets. I don't at all think that's a reason to not use it if it's the name you love, but is definitely something to know ahead of time if popularity matters to you so that you are not surprised by it after naming him. Would you consider reversing the name to Lennox Noah? Lennox would fit in with the other surname-names in your set and Noah with the mostly more traditional middles, plus Lennox is at #408 and has been slowly rising which for me fits "not ridiculously common but not completely unheard of" perfectly.
Grant would have been my second choice but I would personally not use it with Payne as a last name because it's too much into verb + noun territory for me (payne sounding like pain when said aloud).
Congratulations on for sure settling on Rosalie! It's such a pretty name, I've been rooting for it since the beginning. :)
I wouldn't find it too much of a stretch for Mae to be an honour in the middle spot (really I feel that with any namesake name it is the intent that matters; if you chose it to be an honour name and that is the story you will tell your daughter when she asks about her middle name then it's an honour name. It doesn't really matter if the connection is not immediately apparent to the world and his wife), and I think it becomes an even clearer link if you were to use "Rosie Mae" sometimes.
Not being American I probably don't have the best perspective on the amount of southern vibe Mae brings; I can say that for me Rosalie Mae doesn't scream southern.
I love Jessamine, it definitely feels more classy/sophisticated than Jasmine to me and I find Jess/Jessie/Jessa much nicer than Jas/Jazzy as a potential nickname. I agree with you about Samara too; I'd class it as modern/exotic rather than trendy or classic. Emilia is a lovely choice though if that's the name you keep coming back to.
I thought of Ella but didn't suggest it as it's in the top 10 here, but if you can get over that I love it as a name. The cousin thing I think really comes down to if you feel comfortable doing it. For me I probably wouldn't unless it was a name I'd loved for years and always been intending to use, but I don't have that many cousins and I see them at least 3 or 4 times a year. People with a whole bunch of cousins or who see them a lot less might feel differently.
My first thought for a name to shorten to Ella is Eleanor (or Elena/Eleanora), but as I mentioned that in my first post I'm assuming you don't like it ;) Thinking a little more laterally how about Stella or Helena? And you could of course consider the family of names ending -bella (Isabella, Arabella etc)
Sophia would be too popular for my taste, it has been on the rise for years now and that's without taking into account the Sofia's and Sophie's as well.
Kendall definitely strikes me as trendy and Sienna does a bit too although not to the same extent, but seeing as your husband hasn't vetoed them they clearly are not too trendy for him (and he's the one objecting to "trendy" from what you say) so I wouldn't eliminate them based on what other people think.
I like Emilia and Mila, have you thought that you could reasonably use Mila as a nickname for Emilia? Then you'd get 2-for-1 :)
Some more suggestions: Francesca, Cecilia, Imogen, Claudia, Lydia, Eleanor, Beatrice, Iris, Felicity, Philippa, Gabriella, Juliet, Jemima
Hmmm you could have Goddess names (although there may be too much crossover with Ancient Greek there) or philosopher names (because of the old 'which came first the chicken or the egg?' question) or how about Irish names (lots of choice and you can enjoy looking up pronunciations) or movie stars? I like the idea of a Potter theme too though.
This is an amazing way of handling a picky husband, and I wish I'd known about it six months ago to suggest to my sister when she was dealing with a husband who wanted to veto all her choices. She maintains that they chose their children's names together but really he vetoed all her choices until they were left with his top choice and the name that was about 16th on her list at which point she had two names that she felt "OK" about but didn't love either and so of course was swayed to go with the one he did love. Drove me mad.
Congratulations! I really like the name Ethan and I think it's sweet that both children share a middle initial, it's a nice subtle connection. Thanks for coming back to update us. :)
This^^ the middle being said TALL would bother me more than the end being said -yuh too, I feel like the difference between yuh and ee-uh is fairly subtle so that you would hardly notice in everyday conversation but TALL vs TAL would definitely stand out to me.
I would also say it as 4 syllables ending ee-ah, but I'm in the UK and the only (Polish) Natalia I know says it that way. I would think that the pronunciations you get are likely to depend on where you live, although there will certainly be some corrections needed wherever you are. If you really really don't want to have to correct people then Natalie is probably the safer choice (bearing in mind that practically no name is "correction free" these days). I slightly prefer Natalia to Natalie and don't think the slight variations would be a big deal but the question is would it drive you mad? Your daughter is likely to learn her attitude to people making a 'mistake' from you so if you can respond in a relaxed manner then it will likely not be a source of aggravation to her.
You could also try the coffee shop test with Natalia (give it as your name in places where it doesn't matter) and see how people react to it said the way you want (do they mishear it as Natalie, do they say it "correctly" when saying it back to you etc) to get an idea what it would be like to live with.
Congratulations! I love to read updates on posts too so I'm glad you came back. Wren is such a cute name and I'm glad you went with what felt right to you. :)
I think there will be lots, sticking to ones with at least three syllables in the longer name and at least one nickname that is only one syllable, and aside from the ones already mentioned:
Alexandra (Al, Ali, Lexi) - Antoinette/Antonia (Ann) - Beatrix/Beatrice (Bea) - Eleanor/Elenora (Elle, Nell) - Emilia (Em, Emmie, Lia) - Evelina (Eve, Evie) - Gabriella (Bri, Elle, Ella, Gabby) - Georgiana (Gi, Ana) - Guinevere (Gwen) - Henrietta (Ri, Etta) - Isabella (Belle, Isa) - Jemima (Jem) - Juliana (Ju, Jules, Li, Ana) - Lillian (Lil, Lilly) - Louisa (Lou) - Matilda (Mat, Matty, Tilly) - Natalie (Nat, Tali, Li) - Philippa (Pip, Phil, Pippa)
I'm sure I'm probably overlooking some. There's also a bunch more where the only nicknames I can think of would be at least two syllables (eg Felicity-Liccy, Carolina-Lina/Cara, Caroline-Callie).
I cannot think of a single thing that could be a red flag for Rosalie, no bad associations or anything. So the only thing would be if it were in someway problematic with your surname, or if the first+middle+last initials spelled something unpleasant and I'm sure you've already thought through both those things. I think you have your name. :)