Cupcake riotThe Chinese zodiac says it’s the year of the snake, and my day planner insists it is now 2013.

But here, as of this week, it is Year Five.

The first blog posts at Appellation Mountain went live on January 23, 2008.  It was a very different moment in my life – I had one toddler, was new in town, and was only working a few hours a week.  My husband, on the other hand, had a new gig where he was all but sleeping at the office.

The Jolie-Pitts only had four kids.  The Duggars?  A mere seventeen.

I was bored, bored, bored, and spent an awful lot of time on baby name forums.  It occurred to me that I was repeating myself, and I really ought to round up all of those oft-repeated thoughts and put them in a blog.

And so Appellation Mountain was born.  I now have two school-aged kids, and a sometimes very demanding day job.  Happily, my husband now comes home at a predictable hour, so it all works out.

So in celebration of five years, I decided to reboot a few of my earliest posts:

  1. Ava and Harlow: Hollywood Baby Names
  2. Alternagirl, now Ruby, Elise & Sheena: Girls Names from Alt Rock
  3. Avalon & Astoria: Unusual A Names for Girls

They were rougher than I thought.  I also remembered that they were published at a time when I had zero readers.  Or very nearly zero – there are a handful of people I’d met back on the forums who were kind enough to visit in the early days.  Some of you are now friends in real life, too, and that’s an unexpected bonus.

It’s sort of de rigeur to add in these posts that you never expected all of this when you started blogging.  There’s some truth to that, of course.  But what really surprises me is this: it is so exciting, so completely joyful when someone you know welcomes a new child.  Writing about baby names allows me – all of us, really – to share in some of that happiness.

When I was walking my kids home from school in the snow the other night, I found myself wondering: Will I be blogging about the names of my grandchildren?  Maybe.  I supposed that depends on my kids’ opinions, as well as technology and all of that.  But lately it feels like I could be in this space for years to come, and I hope you’ll be here, too.

Thank you!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Wow, five years! Congratulations on the milestone! Thank you for so many inspiring and insightful reads.

  2. Congratulations on 5 years!

    I love reading your blog – it’s always inspiring, not just because of the names you look at but also as an example of a truly great blog 🙂