Sunday, July 1, 2012

How We Named Josephine AND a HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Choosing the name for our first child was a long and daunting process. I had a lot of criteria:
  1. I prefer longer names that have the option to be shortened, since if you have a short name, that's all you've got. I love options.
  2. I wanted something that was classic and traditional. 
  3. I wanted something uncommon, but not "you-nique." I didn't want her to have to be one of five girls in her class with the same name, but also didn't want people to hear her name and make a "huh?" face.
  4. I wanted it to be "pretty." I like serious names and I like fun names, but I really wanted something a little girly.
  5. I wanted to avoid names that had nicknames that I hated. 
I also had a long list of names, most of which were very long, sing-songy, and Italian.
Jeremy had different criteria:
  1. Jeremy had to like the name.
He also had a list of names that were WILDLY different than my own list. Many were one-syllable and not what I would consider "pretty" -- there were a lot of harsh edges to the names he liked. When I thought of names for my little girl, I thought of something that people would hear and think, Oh, how beautiful! That could be the name of a princess! not Oh, yeah, we have a dog with that name ... a male dog.

The other big struggle we were having at this time was that I NEEDED to know the sex of the baby, and he REALLY wanted to be surprised. A few days before the 20-week ultrasound, I swore if he let me learn the gender, he could name the baby. I assumed he would see how desperate I was, agree, and then not hold me to my promise.

I was wrong.

So, from his top-three favorites, he chose Scarlett. I liked it ... but I was having a really hard time with people trying to shorten her name and calling her "Scar" or "Lettie." I told Jeremy I would sit with it, and I did, for months, until one day I broke down crying, saying it was a beautiful name, but I just didn't think it was HER name. There were plenty of those names on our lists, actually. We liked them in theory, and if someone else used them, we would think "how pretty!" but it just wasn't the name for OUR kid we were imagining growing in there.

Jeremy took it pretty well, and we were back to the drawing board. It was not going well. Then, all of a sudden, when I was about 7.5 or 8 months pregnant (I know!), I was walking across campus to teach a class and the baby kicked me so hard I doubled over in pain. When it happened, I shouted at her ... and I called her by name ... and I called her "Josie."

To say that took me by surprise is an understatement. Jeremy had been making a case for the name Josephine for YEARS (obviously the argument heated up a bit when I actually got pregnant!), and he always said he would love to use Josie as a nickname. In the past, whenever he brought up Josephine, I couldn't get past the fact that it was just a male name with an "ine" tacked onto the end, which, I suppose is the appeal for many people. Jeremy has always loved the name Josephine, and as he had already pointed out to me countless times, it was a family name for both of us, so that would be a nice bonus for everyone (my maternal grandfather is Joseph, my father's beloved godmother was Josephine, and there are multiple Josephines on Jeremy's family tree -- not as close, but there nonetheless). Jeremy loves history and tradition, so this made him love the name even more.

It was the weirdest thing. I went from not even considering the name to knowing it was "the one," all in the span of a baby kick, but that's exactly what happened. From that moment on, I did not have a single doubt about her name. It was perfect and I knew it would fit her.

Our little girl was named Josephine Isabelle, and we could not love it any more.

I love Josephine because it is a classic name that can take all different forms. She can be "Josephine" and be strong, classic, and reliable, whlie still being girly; she can be "Josie" and be cute and spunky; she can be "Jo" or "Joey" and be a tomboy. On top of all that, her name has great rhymes and has spawned nicknames like Josephine the Bean and Josephine the Queen. I love Isabelle because it was my grandmother's name, a name I always loved and wanted to use for a daughter. Unfortunately, it got awfully popular in the last few years, otherwise, I would have lobbied to have it be her first name.

Even though it took a long time and a lot of tears on my part, we found the perfect name and we love it!

Now I'm 30 weeks pregnant with our second little girl ... and the battle is in full swing again!

It wasn’t easy, but that is how I decided on my baby’s name. How did you decide on your baby’s name? Or do you have a great story on how your parents decided on your name? Tell me for a chance to win a year’s supply of cards from! has expanded their offering of birth announcements!

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