Sunday Summary 8.14.16I’m a planner by nature, but for years I didn’t recognize it. My assumption was that everyone made a spreadsheet about possible summer camps for their kids to attend right around the holidays, and brainstormed Christmas gift ideas before Labor Day.

And maybe we all do this at least sometimes, because the pace of life demands it. But me? I love nothing better than looking ahead, preferably with a day-planner and markers for color-coding.

What does this have to do with baby names?

Plenty of us have made lists of our favorite names forever. That’s usually not about planning. It’s about enjoying names as a hobby.

And yet, I wonder if planners feel more confident about their name choices – and if they’re willing to share those names sooner.

A few months ago, I wrote this list for Nameberry: When Should You Share Your Baby’s Name?  Around two thirds of the respondents said that they share names only after the baby is born.

But a significant minority – around 20% – shared their names before their child arrived, as soon as they’d made a choice. That definitely described my experience, and reflects others I know who I’d call organized – much more organized than me, in fact.

My more free-spirited friends tend to text from the hospital, still undecided, debating the merits of Luna versus Marlo as the birth certificate forms languish in the corner. (Think of the fabulously creative Jools and Jamie Oliver. If they have a name for baby #5, they’ve yet to share it with the world.)

Planners, I think, need to mentally move on. And so our deadline for choosing becomes sooner. And because we’re used to following a decision process, we know when we’re done.

Of course, it’s not as if being a planner is a genetic trait, something that you are or aren’t, like being over six feet tall or having flat feet. And I don’t mean to imply that planning is good. In fact, if I’d been less locked into our son’s name, we would have chosen a better middle.

I’d love to know: do you consider yourself a planner, and if so, did you choose your names earlier? Did you share them sooner?


Let’s see if I can get this into a single poll:



I’m not sure that captured all of the possible answers, but I’d love to hear your experience and thoughts!

Now, on to the name news!

  • Michelle nicknamed Millie might be the most brilliant nickname ever. It completely revives a mom name and makes it 2016-ready. I’m a sucker for so many names on this list. While I do think WYSIWYG names are the prevailing trend, there’s no reason that a nontraditional nickname can’t work, too.
  • Am I the only one watching the Olympics for the names? Here’s just one of the great stories: the Trio in Rio!
  • Brazilian baby names, via Baby Center UK. If you’d like to visit the original site, it’s hereArthur is #2 on their boys’ list, and Alice is tops for girls!
  • One more Olympics(ish) story: 2008 silver medalist in gymnastics, Alicia Sacramone, and her NFL husband, Brady Quinn, named their daughter Sloan Scott. I think Sloane/Sloan is going to be big for girls, but I’m surprised at Scott in the middle. No word on what inspired the choice, but I’m surprised that I like the brisk sound of three single-syllable, unisex names together: Sloan Scott Quinn.
  • I hear parents say this all the time.
  • Do these names strike you as particularly suited to the American MidwestGalena sounds Russian to me; I find Lincoln broadly popular. But Prairie maybe … I would be curious to hear from any readers with Midwestern ties!
  • This is my favorite celebrity baby name in a while. But I wonder why the sister and brother have such similar middles? There must be a story …
  • Speaking of celeb names, Cat Deeley went the Adele route, and revealed her son’s name via a necklace!

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

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. I just moved back to my home state of Illinois. I have a hard time imagining people using Prairie (Il is the “prairie state”), but I have heard Lincoln a few times in the past several years.

  2. I don’t know if I’d qualify for what people call a “planner”, but I am baby-name obsessed, and have excel sheets with several dozen names I love.

    But, we don’t choose our names early on. I discuss my list with my husband far more than he would like during the entirety of pregnancy, change my mind regularly on which one is my absolute favorite, and continue to research names which has me constantly adding & subtracting names from my spreadsheets.

    For our two kids, we didn’t find out the sex, and we did have our lists narrowed to our top 2 or three of each in the last couple months. But we didn’t decide or announce the name until they were born.

  3. I’ve seen Prairie used a handful off times, but it’s a very rare name. I have never heard Galena or Granger. Lincoln is used, but not only in the Midwest. Medora is a name that I would consider very regional. I know of at least half a dozen girls who were given the name, all after a tourist town in the North Dakota Badlands. I don’t think it charts on the popularity chart. There are probably other place names of that sort that qualify as Midwestern.

  4. Wyatt Oliver and Esmé Olivia? I’m guessing they wanted their kids’ names to match in a subtle way. Really cute together!

  5. Besides the place names Galena and Granger, the only names on that list that strike me as truly midwestern are Lincoln, strongly associated with Illinois whose motto has been “Land of Lincoln”, and, obviously, Dakota. (I’ve never heard Prairie used as an actual first name for a person; my association would be prairie dogs, “herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America”.)

  6. Galena, IL, comes to mind when I hear the name Galena. I live in Iowa, and Galena in western Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from Dubuque, IA, is a favorite regional destination. Galena, population 3350, boasts that “Our rolling hills, scenic roads and historic charm revitalize the spirit. Inspired by nature and overlooking the banks of the Galena River, our welcoming Main Street embraces a simpler time. You’ll create cherished memories spending time together relaxing and unwinding.” I would definitely associate the name Galena with this village. The name’s Russian roots would be secondary at best.

    Granger is a town in central Iowa, as are (not-on-the-list-but-could-be) Huxley and Boone.

    For me, all of these names would be off my list due to their associations with well-known small towns in the region.