Friday, January 21, 2011

more than you ever wanted to know about how we named our kids

Some of you may know this about me: I'm a bit obsessed with baby names. Not necessarily even for my own kids (although they DO have pretty spectacular names, if I say so myself :) - but I really enjoy learning about the history and trends of names. Even when Joey and I aren't actively naming our kids (and I think we're done with that now, for the foreseeable future, whew!) I still love hearing about how others' names came to be.

Growing up, I thought Alison was THE most annoying name on the planet. I was super annoyed at age 8 - gee thanks mom and dad for making my name so difficult for the rest of the world to spell. I think my dad actually thought making it with one "L" would be easier - one less letter, right?

But now? Now I *love* my name. (So really, thanks mom and dad!) I'm so glad it's a bit different, and I've mostly (ok, that might be a lie) gotten over correcting people that it's "just one L, please and thank you". (The only ones who really still get me, are the ones that say "Hi Allison..." in an email even though they had to type Alison to get my address to pop up, but what can you do...)

I think my own name has made me want a similar experience for my kids - I want to give them names that set them apart just a bit and mark their individuality and uniqueness. (But I personally want to avoid totally u-neeke names - I know it gets a bit annoying spelling my name over and over again.)

Joey on the other hand might be completely fine naming our kids Frank and Bob. Because they're easy, and people can spell them. It took me a l.o.n.g. time to convince him that B's name was great, and he finally came around. I actually think I've changed his mind on the Frank and Bob thing along the way, because Joey was even suggesting some different names this time around. I will tell you that his #1 pick for a name was Boston. Bless his heart. We didn't pick Boston. I've never been there, neither has he, but I'm sure it's a lovely town. :)

His only qualification is that our kids' names be "nickname proof". While I agree with him in theory, and also look to avoid all the common annoying nicknames, I think making something nickname proof is impossible. Plus, I survived being called "Alice In Wonderland" (ha. haha.) growing up.

Joey has two middle names (one of which he didn't know how to spell officially until we were getting his passport for our honeymoon, but that's a different story...) - as do both of his brothers. And well, telling me that Joey has two middle names? Is like giving B a bowl full of Sugar Smacks. Because as soon as I started processing that we could give our kids two middle names also, my naming-loving-brain went crazy. Two. middle. names?! So much better than one. And especially if it has family ties.

So, how did B's name come to be? In college I was watching the movie Road Trip, or some other equally subpar Breckin Meyer movie and his name kind of stuck with me. Fast forward 7ish years, and it was still a front runner. Thankfully, the ultrasound showed we were having a boy, because Joey was already on board with it by that point, and we had ZERO names for girls. I had to switch Breckin to end in -en though because I have this weird thing with symmetry, and it seemed like it needed two e's to me. I am WEIRD, I know.

And what's this new baby's name? Which I'm sure is the whole point of you reading this really (really) long post, if you're still there. Sorry, you'll have to wait a few more months to find out. Joey has sworn me to secrecy. B knows, but he will tell you "puppy" if you try to get it out of him. I can tell you that his first name starts with a J - so I might refer to him as Baby J sometimes. (My mom and aunt just breathed a sigh of relief, no more B babies for now - it's hard to keep B and his cousin (also a B) separate on your tongue! :) Baby J also has two middle names, one a family name, and another we just liked. We can't wait to tell you what his name is!

So! If you're still there... tell me about your name or your kids names if you have them. How did they come to be?


  1. Landon was the only name Tom "didn't hate". He normally has a one syllable and very plain name preference. I can't blame him...his family is filled with Tom, Chris, Bob and Scott. Can't get any more normal (aka boring) that that! Hoping we have a little easier time when we have the next child, but knowing my husband, that is a no.

  2. i'll let the blog do the talking:

  3. I love my Alison with one L because I am your Tonja with a J. I also disliked my name growing up because everyone spelled it wrong. I actually got a note from my high school principal my Jr. yr and it was spelled Tonya. Guess I made a big impression on him. I mean seriously there were 15 in my graduating class. :) I used to tell my Mom I was going to change my name to a Y when I was 18. She told me I could do that but then my entire family would keep spelling it with a J and well then I would be correcting them and ya... I have learned to love my name and its uniqueness. I also discovered that there are a few other Tonja's in Nebraska because one has the NE personalized license plate TONJA and I can't get it. Boo, maybe she'll give it up one day.

    As for our boys, Zachary was going to be Carson Charles Vyhnalek, CCV initals just like Craig, if he was a boy. I thought playing board games might get confusing when we were keeping score but decided I could get over that possible problem. Both of are Dad's are Charles Fredrick, (Fredrich) crazy huh. So the middle name was in the bag. When he came out a boy we looked at him, talked to him and he just didn't look like a Carson. Craig said, What about Zachary. I said yeah he looks like a Zach and when we asked him if that is what his name should be, he didn't argue. Thus, Zachary came to be. When we shorten his name it is spelled Zach. Just can't do the Zac b/c it looks incomplete to me and Zack, well then we should have named him Zackary because how do you tell a kid learning to write his name to use a k in the nickname but not his full name, change it back to a h. HELLO confusing. Whew-Zach it is.

    Cameron, well we thought he was a girl all along and his name was going to be Haley JoAnna or Katie JoAnna. Jo and Joan being Craig's family middle names and my grandma's name was Anna so a good combo of the two. Well we didn't get to use it. He is all boy and when he came out we were not ready with a boy name. It really took us a good hour or so do decide. We came up with Cameron Craig. Craig wanted Cameron Charles but I don't agree with giving your children the same middle name. Yet another weird thing I stand firm on, not sure why, just do. We had Zach be the first one in the room to visit us and asked him if that was a good name for his baby brother. He was beaming and said yes that's a good name. So we kept it.

    Wow, more than you wanted? I love your blog Alison. Keep it up. You inspire me to get going and start mine back up again. We'll see if I actually do it. I want to start sewing a t-shirt blanket. Can you motivate me to get on that? Love ya Momma!!!

  4. love it! i think naming our babies is so much fun too! stella was going to be isabella rose the whole time i was pregnant, but then, about a month before she was born, i realized it was the #2 most popular girls name in the us - so, i didn't want her to go through life with the same name as 20 other girls in her class (kinda like "sarah"), so we did some more looking. i found stella and liked it 'cause i thought it was kinda old fashioned and unique, but not too, too unique and then trent actually liked it too because of the song "stella blue", so that's what we went with. oh, and rose is my grandmother's name so getting something from my family in there was important to me too (she'll always be an amstuz . . . well, i guess until she gets married, but oh well!) :-)


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