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I agree with all of this!
All of these variants are tacky.
I'm a George R.R. Martin fan, so much that I've only read the books and won't watch the tv series. For me that renders Theon unusable. Yes, the name has a real history, but a pretty obscure one compared to the current popularity of Game of Thrones.
Theodore is a great name, but if you really don't want a nickname, go with Isaac. Theodore will almost certainly be Theo or Ted/Teddy, and James will tempt people to Jim or Jamie, but Isaac is short enough to avoid the nickname.
(Also, if you think Theon is the only despicable character, keep reading! Does it make the name Theon any more usable if he's one of many despicable characters in such a harsh world?)
I love the suggestions of Hamish or Hugo, both which sound good with the middle name John.
Creating a new family surname is a wonderful choice. And I agree you should try the coin toss and see how the result makes you feel.
I feel like Grant Lachlan is a bit harsh and consonant heavy - I really prefer Grant Allen. The initials GAB are not a big deal.
Emerson and Adair I would assume are girls. Tate is probably a girl, and Charlie is probably a boy, but I would not feel very confident in those guesses.
I strongly agree with both previous posters. All I can think of is Tilda Swinton (who has very strong and intentionally peculiar public persona). I'd use Swinton in the middle name spot.
It looks like you like one syllable names in a midrange of popularity. What about...
I'd vote for Therese June or Theodore Miles.
An in-utero nickname is how you refer to the baby during pregnancy.
Mine is Pickles. As in, "We need to paint Pickles's room before she gets here," or "Pickles is kicking!"
They're all great choices! I can see why you're having a hard time choosing.
My favorites are Malcolm for a boy and Flora for a girl. I like how that gives each child his/her own initial and avoids repeating sounds.
I agree that Julia is simple, elegant, and a good fit for your family.
I agree with all of this.
Neither of us are looking for popular or trendy names - my husband would describe it more as looking for "normal" names, by which he means more traditional - Rachel, Rebecca, Elizabeth, etc. There's a finite set of these names that can't really be expanded by sound.
Like most commenters here, we're trying to hit that sweet spot of traditional yet not too common.
That's a great list! I'm especially a fan of Fiona and Gemma - they're going on the list.
Sarah nicknamed Sadie was one of my thoughts, too. He seemed a bit dubious about Sadie, but then, we don't necessarily have to agree about that - I can use a nickname while he uses the full name, until she's old enough to have an opinion.
And thanks for the reassurance about Dahlia!
I'm not a huge fan of last names as first names, so I would rule out Tait, Tyler, and Spencer.
I work at a university, so I hear Dean as a job title, not a name.
But I love Edwin and Micah. Both classic, easy to spell, and somewhat uncommon. Edwin's nice because you get all of the Edward nickname options - Ed, Eddie, Ted, Teddy, Ned, Neddy - plus Win.
I love Beatrix! But Madeline is a bit over-used. Beatrix Louisa?
Sebastian John is great. Sebastian is a name everyone knows without being too common. I've also heard people use Bash as a nickname, which is pretty darn adorable for a toddler.
I love Vanessa, and Vanessa Faye flows nicely.
What about Rosemary, nicknamed Romy? Alexandra, Henry, and Rosemary fit together well while also getting your husband's favorite in there. (I don't think a Rose middle name for big sister rules out Rosemary for a younger sister's first name.)
For a boy, I like Miles Frederick and Eli James best.