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If you don't want to use another family name in the middle, I'd suggest looking elsewhere for inspiration to find something meaningful. The problem with traditional "flows nice" names is that well, they mostly all will "flow nice" with something simple and classic like Max. Finding meaning in the middle could help narrow down a seemingly endless pool of names.
So...are there any book or movie characters/authors/stories you are both into? Do you or your husband have any hobbies? What about place names or nature names that would be meaningul? Virtue names? Names of historical or religious figures you feel inspired by? Is there something fun & daring you'd love to use, but don't feel brave enough to consider it as a first name?
If you consider all of these options and still can't settle on anything, I'd suggest making some rules to narrow down your selections. With something like Max, I'd probably look for a longer name. 2 syllable could work, but 3 or more syllables would be a fun contrast with the more streamlined simplicity of Max. Augustus, Benjamin, Benedict, Sebastian, Theodore, Finnegan, Nathaniel, Montgomery, Leonardo.
Ross & Reed come to mind. I think Ross seems more likely though since they said it wouldn't be easy to guess. I think Reed/Reid is popular enough to be a more obvious choice.
How fusty do you think they'd be willing to go? There is also Ralph or perhaps Rafe.
Thanks Miriam! I suspected you'd know the answer. :)
I'm really liking Tzipi for Tziporah (sounds well, zippy & spunky). I also really like Miri for Miriam.
LOL! I've had the pleasure of that particular combination of drugs. Good times?
I'm swooning over some of those sibsets. I think my favorites are Juniper Grace/Lyla Filomena, Hermione Juniper/Xavier Rufus/Antigone Mathilda, and Saffron Patricia/Juniper Sarah.
Never watched Seinfeld, so no idea about the Mulva reference. Without that assocaition, I do think Malva could work for you. From your list, I really like Calla for you.
Other unusual flower names; Lotus, Ianthe, Leilani, Primrose, Lys, Maylis.
Does it have to be a flower name? Or could you branch out to other botanicals? If another botanical will work, I'll suggest Maple.
I agree that you seem to have very different taste in girl names vs. boy names. For girls, your style tends to lean more traditional/exotic traditional with maybe a pinch of "fusty." While Jayden is more modern/bell-tone in style.
To match the style of your daughter's names, I'd suggest Violet, Esme, Mina, Ruby, Willa or Cleo for a girl. For boys, I'd look more along the lines of names like Jasper, Jude, Abram, Milo, Miles, or Eli.
To match the style of Jayden, I'd consider girl names such as Kyra, Riley, Harper, Avery, McKenzie or Kaylee. Other boy names in that style include Hayden, Kyler, Dylan, Logan, or Finn.
I like for middle names to have some significance when possible, so Lotti is my vote.
Of the others, Jolie would probably be my 2nd choice because the vowel starts of Isabelle & Elise run into the end of Maia for me (though I would change my 2nd choice vote if one of the others has more meaning for you).
It took me a minute to even think of what the connection was. The movie came out a long time ago. This means that you may get occassional comments from other adults, but I doubt it's excessive. It also means that your children and their peers are unlikely to know or care about the movie connection. I think Juniper is safe for you to use.
Why do baby girl names need to honor a female relative? If you are struggling with this, I'd suggest looking at female variants for some of the male names you are interested in using/honoring. I also LOVE the idea of a variant of your name, especially since a possible son will get a variant of dad's name (why are women so much more hesitant to name after themselves?) If you don't mind sharing, the regulars around here can probably come up with some variations on your name.
I'd be very hesitant to pick variations soley based on meaning. For one, a lot of name "meanings" are pretty tenuous at best (some are just flat out made-up). Also, I think this can be overly restrictive. For example, let's say your "horn" name is Cornelia. Finding other names with "horn" in the meaning will leave you with very little. You'll get more suggestions if you open yourself up to sound alikes/look alikes and so forth. Without the meaning restriction, I would also suggest Cordelia, Cora, Coral, and Cecilia. So I'll second the suggestion to share the inspiration names.
Also, it might help if you could throw out a few girl names that you do like, even if you can't use them for some reason. This would give us a better idea of your name style. As you'll likely notice from the list below, a list of names with similar "meanings" can cover a very wide variety of styles. I doubt they will all be to your liking.
Without knowing the inspiration names, I'll offer the following:
Soft/Tender: Rosalind, Belinda
Dove/Peace: Paloma, Dove, Mira, Winnifred
Bright/Famous: Clara, Phaedra, Phoebe,
Power: Valencia, Henrietta, Harriet
Noble/Kind: Adela, Adelaide, Ada, Sarah/Sally/Sadie
Lily/Rose: Lily, Rose/Rosa, Susanna/Suzanne/Susan
Gracious: Mila, Joan/Joanna/Joanne
It sounds like your taste is pretty similar to mine. In the BNW book, I tended to lean towards the fustier names in the Timeless category, and names from the Exotic Traditionals category. My husband (like yours) tended to lean less fusty Timeless and New Classic. It's really not a bad place to be! We focused mainly on the Timeless category and found first names that we both really like. I got to go slightly more adventurous with the middles, but we still ended up with names we are both happy about.
If your husband's taste is really as close to my husband's as it sounds, he'll probably have a few outliers that lean more fusty-and that's where I'd encourage you to concentrate. Family names are also good here, sometimes the family connection will be enough to move a name from "too old" to something actually usable.
I'll also point out that it's not uncommon for people to have different styles for boys vs. girls. My husband was much more open to using fustier boy names. With girl names, anything that didn't belong to a cheerleader from the 1980s was an "old lady" name. We managed to find a couple of girl names we could agree on, but they were a lot harder.
With the first, we randomly threw out names as we came across them. It helped that we had a couple of family names that we already knew we wanted to use in some way. He ended up with a first name that was a family name on both sides, and a middle that was a family name on my side.
With the 2nd, we agreed to not discuss names until after baby was born. After he was born, we shared our short lists with each other and when nothing felt right, we started going through the Baby Name Wizard book. Turns out, husband suggested a name that had been a favorite on my longer list, but didn't make the short list because I didn't think husband would like it. For his middle, we were inspired by a historical figure my husband has a special interest in (and also a name from my longer list.
Since you both like family names, I'd suggest you start there. You could each make a list of family names you want to use & see what's there. Check if the the same or similar names exist on both sides of the family and discuss if you'd want to use them. Perhaps discuss how you feel about using family surnames, and set rules about how you'd want to use family names-first, middle or both, which family would you want to honor first, does it need to be the exact name or do variations count, will you want to use family name for every child you have-that sort of thing.
I also don't think it'd hurt to both make lists of your top 10 or so, and then share them with each other. Even if you end up using nothing from either list, it can be a good way to identify styles of names that you both like. Or, if your styles are very different, this could be a could be way to start the conversation about where your styles overlap, or what kinds of compromises need to be made.
On their own, Juniper & Iris are both lovely. While Judah and Juniper would be OK together, I agree that Jude and June are too similar. I hadn't noticed that Juniper was kind of a mash-up of Judah + Piper, but now that it has been pointed out, it's something I can't really un-notice.
You really can't go wrong with Iris, but if you want something with more of the feel of Juniper without the similarity to Judah and Piper, perhaps Clover?
Um, I actually had to pause to remember what Amazon's Alexa even is. But I'm not exactly a super-techy person.
I think it's helpful that Alexa is already a well established name, so most people are already familiar with it/have encountered it on a person. To me, this increases the odds that the name will continue to strike people as a name used for a device vs. The Device. Something like Siri is The Device to most people, so it seems less usable on a person.
I'm one that prefers for sibling names to coordinate, or at least be complimentary in style. I think one of the advantages to more unusual or "exotic traditional" names is that most people don't quite know how to categorize them. Is your daughter's name a unique name? Vintage? Floral/nature? Snappy Z? With so much going for it, I think you are safe to use just about any name you want, particularly if it is also a bit on the unusual side.
I would be thrilled to meet a sibset of your daughter's name & Elowen. Or your daughter's name + a lot of the names being tossed around in this thread. I'd feel excited about finding out the name stories because more unusual names often have the most interesting stories.
Instead of Ophelia, perhaps Odelia, Cordelia, Olympia, Ocvtavia?
I've always loved Araminta & have a fantasy sister set of Araminta, Philomena & Isadora. Nicknames Arie, Mena & Dora. I think Minnie would also work for Araminta.
I prefer Claire.
Like other posters, I also thought of Clarita as a way to combine the names. I also agree that a meaningful middle name is more important with one that "goes well" with the first name. I would encourage her to think about names that would be meaningul. Beyond family honor names, perhaps virtue names, place names, nature names, or the names from history or literature? If she wanted to provide us with some ideas, the regulars are pretty good about coming up with unique suggestions.
If she doesn't want a middle with meaning, and would prefer something based more on style or sound, perhaps some ideas for names considered but discarded because they weren't quite right? It would certainly give us a better idea of what she's looking for.
If flow issues are what's holding her up, she might also want to consider Clara or Sarita/Marita with Claire or Rita as nicknames. Simple changes like that could possibly change the flow enough that something she's previously discarded would appeal more.
I prefer Wallace over Woodrow just for style reasons. I also like it better for you because Wallace has more meaning. I think mom's maiden names always trumps "name we liked from a TV show."
Grover seems to have more meaning for your wife. However, after using her maiden as the first name, I think it would be fair to perhaps let you have a little more say over the middle. So if you really have strong feelings about Woodrow, Wallace Woodrow would be fine. The two W's aren't really an issue-and some people would even consider it a bonus.
However, I would probably pass on Woodrow as a first name with a brother called Wallace. They do seem a little more "matchy" for my taste. I also hesitate about Woodrow as a first name in general. Wood or Woody seem pretty intuitive as possible nicknames & I'm not sure they'd be the most pleasant nicknames for a tween or teenage boy.
I agree with previous posters that the first spelling is more likely to get the "ee" sound at the beginning correct.
I think it really depends on how easily you think you'll be tongue twisted saming the names together. I am 100% positive that I would end up saying Braid and Jadey fairly often, so for me the names sound too much alike. But I also realize that not everyone is as easily tripped up as I am. Perhaps practice saying them together a few times & see how it goes for you?
The middles all sound equally well to my ear. Personally, I prefer middle names that have some kind of personal meaning, so I'd say pick the one that has the most meaning. If it's more an issue of flow for you, pick whicever you like best.