our baby-naming adventure

July 9, 2012

how we chose annabel
i didn’t exactly LOVE being pregnant, but there were a few experiences along that 40-week path that were a lot of fun.  it turns out that one of my favorites was choosing a name for our baby!  it was something that josh and i got to do together, and there was something so special about giving our still very abstract baby-to-be a name.
giving her [or him, as we didn’t know the sex when we started to investigate naming options] a name was exciting.  her name would be part of her forever; something that perhaps in some small way could define part of the person she would become.  of course, something this permanent comes with some pressure, but i’ve never been one to agonize over life’s choices — even big ones.  
to begin making this important decision, i turned to the same source i used for almost every baby-related dilemma:  google!  my first discovery was the baby name wizard voyager, a very cool site that allows you to see the popularity of any name over the years.  
graph from the voyager:  
annabel is on the rise, but certainly hasn’t reached ava or sophia heights . . . yet.
these graphs were a lot of fun, but i needed more resources for generating ideas.  i came upon a rather no-frills-looking blog called swistle baby names which turned out to be a fantastic resource.  the author of the blog has an amazing knack for coming up with creative naming solutions given all kinds of different scenarios, and i think i first noticed the name annabel in one of her entries [perhaps this one — yeah, i dug deep].  
we wanted a name that wasn’t super-popular [i think i had 4 sarahs in my class one year growing up . . .] but that had history and was instantly recognizable as a name.  i leaned towards classic and feminine names, and decided that since her last name would begin with a vowel that i didn’t want her first name to end with one.  
i ended up perusing the above book as well [the baby name wizard, by laura wattenberg], especially for boys’ names [these are tough!].  the book is organized into lists of names by style, from “greek-inspired” to “preppy” to “classic feminine.”  you can also look up individual names and find names commonly associated with those names, which i can imagine would be especially nice if you’re looking to name a child other than your first.  
our boys’ name choices?  i loved cameron, but josh wasn’t sold.  quentin and leif were also considered, among a few others.  obviously, we didn’t end up having to use these this time, but perhaps someday in the future!
so, that’s pretty much our story!  annabel isn’t named after anyone [although perhaps we can consider the first consonant “a” as a nod to my father alex!].  but we both loved it and once we ‘tried it out’ on our unborn baby, it just seemed to fit — and then it stuck.  i hope she ends up loving it too!
random aside:  we ended up choosing the stripped down spelling annabel rather than the more traditional annabelle because it just looked cleaner and more modern to us.  but i like it both ways!

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