For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Friday, February 27, 2009

How to pick your Baby's Name

A lot of people ask me how we came up with our girls' names. I guess that's what you get when you decide to go with more unusual names. Some people are nice about it, "Oh how beautiful! How did you think of that?!" Some people, not so nice, "Oh. That's... different..." But I would say that 90% of people we meet really like our girls' names and are honestly interested in how they came to have them.

If you happen to be that 10%, be nice. Or keep it to yourself. :p

We decided very early on in the process that we wanted to pick more uncommon names. Hubs is a junior, and has never been thrilled about it. Plus his first name is possibly one of the most popular male names of all time. Lets just say it's Biblical. I have possibly one of the most popular names given for the year I was born (besides Jennifer of course). And throughout my growing up years there were ALWAYS other Amy's in my class, and I was constantly going by Amy Last Initial. Although I think Amy is a pretty name, I didn't like having to share it with anyone. And in all honesty, I've never had a friend named Amy because I sort of automatically dislike any other Amy out there. So if you're an Amy, I'm sorry. I'm just being honest! I know I'm messed up that way... I'm working on it.

We also have a very long, very german sounding, last name. It's hard to spell. When someone pronounces it right we're always shocked and impressed. So we decided that although we wanted to give our girls unique names, they also had to be short, easy to spell, and easy to pronounce for most people.

Before we found out we were having girls we were CONVINCED that we were having 2 boys, and even had 2 boy names picked out.... and then of course we found out we were having 2 girls. Back to the drawing board!

So the first thing we did was visit the Social Security Administration web site. It's an AMAZING resource for picking out your baby's name! They have lists of the most popular (top 1000) baby names for each year dating back to 1879! How cool is that!? So if you're like me and you're wondering how popular your grandmother's name was the year she was born you can look it up!

We took the 2006 list (all 1000 names), printed it out, and then took turns crossing off the names we didn't like. They say the top 10 names take up the majority of the population, so we automatically eliminated those. When we were done crossing off the names we didn't like, we had a very short list of 13 names left. Anya was the name on that list that kept sticking out to us.

To find out more about the name Anya I checked out the site Behind The Name. It gave us all kinds of great info! We found out that Anya is a Russian form of Anna. That it means "favor, grace". That only .037% of the population born in 2006 were given that name. We found a very large list of other names that are in some way related to the name Anya (awesome if you're looking for other names you might like!). We could view how other visitors to the site had ranked it and read their comments. And if we wanted to we could add it to a list of names that we liked. This site became my go-to site any time we came across a name that we were remotely interested in!

Once we found the name Anya, Hubs decided to make things a bit more complicated. He decided that the other girl should also have a 4 letter, 2 syllable name ending in the letter A. He really wanted matchy matchy twin names, and I really resisted that idea, and we really had a hell of a time coming up with another name.


And then it came to us like a flash of lightening. My OB/GYN's assistant's name was Dava (pronounced Day-va). We really started to love that -va sound and decided that a name ending in -va would be the PERFECT counterpart to Anya. So we found the Think Baby Names website. It has some really great search features, but the part we were most interested in was you could search for names that either begin or end with certain letters. So we just typed in va, clicked the girls name box, and ta-da! We had a list of girls names ending in -va! Sweet! At the very very end of that list was the name Ziva. We liked it, we pondered it for a long time, I did lots of research on it, and the more I read the more I liked it. It's Hebrew, and it means "splendid" or "God is my Light". There are a bunch of other meanings for it, all of them related to things bright, shinny, or sparkly. LOVE IT! We decided to keep her name our little secret until they were born because we weren't sure how people would react to it, but so far it's gotten a very positive response and we get lots of compliments on it. Hopefully she'll get lots of compliments too someday.

Two more truly amazing sites that you absolutely MUST check out if you're expecting!

Nymbler! It wasn't around when I was expecting, but dang I wish it had been! You type in names that you like, and then it suggests other names that might be interesting to you. Super helpful if you like a name but your significant other doesn't! Might help you find something you can both love and agree upon.

Baby Name Wizard Voyager! It's an interactive graph that allows you to explore baby name trends over time, letter by letter! So cool!

Know of any other great Baby Name websites? Drop me a comment and share with the rest of the class!


Kristina P. said...

I like their names! I like old fashioned names that don't sound like old lady names.

Mama Krit said...

For my girls we wanted something not too common as well. Their names weren't as fancy as your girls, but I love them just as much! :)

(Leila and Lorelei)

Stacy said...

I love their names. I love just about anything that is different. That's one reason why I liked Lathen so much (family name).

Missy said...

Great story! I love their names and wondered how you chose them. Now I know - great post!!!

MyLinda said...

I love your girls' names!

You put a lot more research and thought in your selection than I did...our 12 yo got her name from my favorite TV show when I was pregnant (Melrose Place) and she is named Brooke (Kristen Davis) and our younger daughter was named by her birthmom so we just called her Lexy (a nickname from her name) from the beginning and it stuck.

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