Sunday SummaryWe still have snow everywhere here in metro Washington DC, and school? What’s school? My kids had three days off last week – in March!

But the temperatures are slowly creeping upwards, and I can hear birds singing outside as I write. Plus, it must almost be spring, because March Madness Baby Names launched yesterday!

As of this moment, the boys’ opening round features two really close competitions: Soren and Atticus are close, and Sullivan and Everett are also neck and neck. Everett won the 2014 tournament, so there’s a lot on the line with that match-up.

In the girls’ opening round, Anneke and Selah is close. But it’s Esme and Wren that has me torn. I love both names – wouldn’t that be a great semi-final match? It always feels unfair when two great names face off in the first round, doesn’t it?

Voting remains open through Friday, March 13th, and the next rounds will be posted on Saturday, March 14. If you haven’t voted yet, you can vote for the boys here and the girls here.

Elsewhere online:

  • Congratulations to Nancy on NINE YEARS! Time for confetti and champagne – she really is the grande dame of baby name blogging!
  • British Baby Names’ latest birth announcements round-up included two girls named Robyn. Robyn strikes me as a 1970s name – I grew up with a Robyn, and knew another in college. The numbers back it up – Robyn was a Top 200 pick in the 1960s and 70s, and left the US Top 1000 after 2004. But could this name be coming back, buoyed by our interest in bird names, and also Robyn’s similarity to Brooklyn, Madelyn, Jordyn?
  • Do names like Pepper and Cricket stand on their own? Or do they need a formal name? I once would have agreed with the Name Lady that Phillipa “Pepper” and Zoe Catherine “Cricket” were better options. It’s still the direction I’d go if I were choosing names for my own children. But I’m beginning to think that skipping the formal name isn’t such a big deal in 2015.
  • Esme Marvel and Olive True, both at Names for Real’s most recent Alaska post – proof that a bold, daring middle can really make a name. Other middles from the same postSage, Love, Halcyon, Cedar, River, Ignatius, Maxine, Sachiko, Royal, Biker, and Alaska!
  • Oh, look – even more surprising middles in a post devoted to that very topic. My favorites are Nola Darling, Zeke Hollow, and Ezra Golden. But there are some really surprising choices mixed in, too. Alexx Mayhem is all set if he decides on that professional wrestling career.
  • I had no idea that Dulce was a Marian name until I read this post from Nomes e mais Nomes! I always thought of Dulce as just plain sweet. Also interesting: it’s a little dated in Portugal, though Ana suggests that Ana Dulce might feel fresh. And I think Dulcie or Dulce would wear well in the US right now. Though I’d probably go with Dulcinea on the birth certificate.
  • I’ve heard of boys named Deacon and Bishop, and now Parson. I kind of love Parson!
  • Have you read Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things? The main character is named Coralie. I stumbled on this dress while looking for a dress for my daughter – also called Coralie. With all of the Cora names on the rise, wouldn’t this be a great possibility?
  • If you use a surname first name, should you avoid a surname middle name? Swistle gives a good answer here, making the distinction between surname names that we recognize as common firsts, and surname names that are less familiar. So Mackenzie Miller Smith is fine, but Smith Mackenzie Miller is a law firm. Do you agree?
  • This list at Roses and Cellar Doors of Big A, little a names is great! Who knew there were so many names that started and ended with A? From fast-rising Aria to rare gems like Alba, I keep thinking of more possibilities.
  • One more A-a name? Aela, as in fabulous blogger Aela Mass, who shared her story about having three different names over the course of her life. Fascinating.

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. Esme and Wren was tough for me too. I think I ended up opting for Esme — I get Wren confused with the nickname Ren (Renato, etc.) sometimes, and that was enough to push me in the other direction.

    I like Parson as well! It sounds cute and old-timey, and doesn’t hit me over the head with the religious association (unlike Bishop). Wonder how they came up with it.

    Thank you for the congrats! 🙂

  2. My mom used to watch Y&R growing up and their was a character named Cricket. For years, I wanted to name a daughter Cricket, but now I would definitely give her a formal name. I do think kids could rock them as given names for the right family, but it is not for me.

    I had a hard time voting between Esme and Wren. They are both lovely. I eventually went with Wren.

    Those surprising middle names are my favorite finds as is probably obvious when you look at most of my titles for my blog. 🙂 Thanks for the mention as always.

    Have a good week.


  3. Team Soren and Everett, Everett most of all.

    I found out the Dulce thing by accident – I was pondering using Mara or Molly as a first name and I went looking for a middle name to turn it ‘bittersweet.’ Not as clever as I thought I was! (The list of names meaning ‘sweet’ I found was so short that I threw in ‘cinnamon’ just to keep it going…)

    I like Robin for a girl but I wouldn’t spell it Robyn. The y makes it feel more dated and less wordy-birdy to me. If I was concerned about it being distinctly feminine I’d switch to Ravenna. And Wren is cute too.

    Cricket to me would be a great chance for Catherine, OR a more unusual Chris- name (Christabel, Chrysanthe, Cristiana). Pepper I love for Penelope.

    Would not use just Cora ever, voted against it in March Madness. But I kinda like Coralie a lot.