September 27, 2007

First of all, thank you so much for the books/movies/music suggestions! I’ve got Knocked Up added to my Netflix queue; I downloaded Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Etc (LOVE), A Fine Frenzy (feeling lukewarm about this so far, but I think it’s one that will grow on me), Giant Drag’s “Wicked Game” cover (LOVE), Kanye’s “Stronger” (this song makes me do ridiculous things with my butt); and I’ve got a fantastic to-read list (including “The Nasty Bits“, which I have been meaning to pick up for a while now because man, do I ever love me some Bourdain). You guys rock, as usual.

(Also, here’s something I’ve never known: how are you supposed to reference books or music or movies? With italics, with quotation marks, or what? Is it different for each medium?)

In the spirit of good suggestions for good things, indulge me while I plug the newly-launched business of a family friend: Steve the Art Director has created a very cool website for ordering collage artwork. If you’re like me and you have shitloads of great family photos but no idea what to do with them other than periodically posting them on Flickr, his studio can create some really amazing options—matted, framed, the whole nine yards. Recognize this suspicious little guy? I have that image as a print, beautifully matted and framed, hanging in Riley’s room right now (there are some other cool samples here). Go check it out, and if you have questions, Steve will answer.

Okay, so . . . BOY NAMES. We had a great girl name picked out, but we’re struggling a little with a name for the dong-bearing Smalltopus. If coming up with fabulous-sounding boy names is a passion of yours, your input is welcome. Some possibly-helpful parameters: the middle name will be Emmett, and our last name sounds a lot like Sparks, so first names like Sam or Sheldon are out.

We have considered and mostly discarded the following:

• Ethan (love it, but it’s also the name of my new Workplace boss, who will be starting work—and sharing my office—as of next Monday. “Hi! I’m really hoping you won’t decide to phase out my position, and as a gesture of goodwill I have named my child after you! Hope that’s not awkward, ha ha!”)

• Jake (love, but do not love Jacob)

• Dexter (possibly influenced by my deep adoration for the Showtime TV series, possibly a name most people won’t find very appealing)

• Cody (cute, but maybe too trendy-sounding, especially when combined with Riley)

• Garrett (JB’s choice. Not mine)

• Casey (too gender-ambiguous; also not sure about another name ending in an “ee” sound)

The top contender is a name we both like very much, it just isn’t ringing the same bells that Riley did for us. I’m not sure if we can expect to have another “YES! YES THAT’S IT!” moment, or if we need to let a name percolate and become more familiar. I guess we could wait until the babe makes his appearance and name him then, but I’m concerned we’d end up with something like Vermixy or Red-n-Squashed or Hiccups Von NeverSleep.

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rebecca
14 years ago

I love the name Miles, but I guess Riley and Miles kind of sound goofy together. Miles was a top contender for me before I found out I’m having a girl! We are up a creek, because we had tons of boy names we liked, but are really struggling with girl names.

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

I recently met a guy named Aubrey – not sure if that’s what you are really looking for but since you liked Audrey for a girl. Riley and Aubrey? Hmmm?

I concur with the Griffin suggestions but that’s only because that’s the name I would like to use if we have a boy this time around.

I understand your struggle…not easy picking a masculine but cool, not too popular but not too odd boys name.

Lisa
Lisa
14 years ago

Chaz
Chase
Aris
Holden

Melissa
14 years ago

Before we even started trying for kids, my husband liked the name Oliver but I scrunched my nose at it. Then when I actually got pregnant–before we found out the gender–I had a bunch of dreams about a little curly-haired boy, and the name Oliver grew on me more and more. Now I have a real little curly-haired Oliver and I can’t imagine having called him anything else!

Naming another human being is quite a task. Whatever you decide will be just right for the little guy. :)

victoria
victoria
14 years ago

I tend to think one should steer away from anything too trendy. Names like “Mackenzie,” “Madison,” “Caitlin,” and “Zoe” all sound really dorky to me for that reason because there was such a fad for those names in 2004-07. Names like “Blake,” “Chance,” “Hudson,” “Ranger” and “Ryder” all sound (to me) way too much like they’re the names of male characters from a really bad romance novel. They belong on dreadful dust jacket blurbs: “Then she found herself falling for Chance Maxwell, a man with a reputation as a bit of a cad and a bit of a rake. Yet his eyes seemed to pierce her very soul.” “Could callous ladies’ man Ryder Corrigan finally understand her the way no man ever had before?” “Will saucy Brianna ever be able to tame Hudson McConnor’s fierce pride?”

My husband’s name is Nathan. He goes by Nate. It’s a great name — manly, brief, solid, untrendy, slightly unusual but not weird or hard to spell. I like the names Frank and Mark for the same reason. Jack is a good name. Aaron is nice, not too trendy.

sooboo
sooboo
14 years ago

I’m suprised no one mentioned Dylan. Maybe it’s too 20th century? I have always liked Jackson, but I don’t have kids, so what do I know about such things? Just wanted to add that I went to school with a Fabian, a Zepplin and a Santana. I also have a friend that really pushed for Vader as a middle name for his son. His wife said no way to that.

OMO of the Rock
OMO of the Rock
14 years ago

Kyle
Kirk
and my all-time favorite ever
Joel

But hubby would only agree to Joel as a middle name. Moot point since we had two girls — and that was back in the day when you were “surprised” — none of that fancy ultrasound stuff for us!

Christy
Christy
14 years ago

I will second (or third, I don’t know, I didn’t read that far in the comments) Gavin. I also really like Kade or Cade but not Cayden.

Jen
Jen
14 years ago

I like Jake, think Dexter is cute but not very realistic, and am in LOVE with Owen. Especially when you put it together “Riley and Owen” “Owen and Riley”

Ethan could be Evan instead.

Joel?

Jack?

Andrew? (Drew or Andy)

Evan Emmett Sparks. Joel Emmett Sparks. Jack Emmett Sparks. Andrew Emmett Sparks. Just tryin’ ’em out.

biscuit
biscuit
14 years ago

My favorite of your list is GARRETT.

Some names I think would sound lovely with the middle + sounding of your last name:

-Gregory
-Dalton
-Clayton
-Carson

victoria
victoria
14 years ago

I like Luke and Grant, too.

missbanshee
missbanshee
14 years ago

Charlie, Nathaniel (Nate), Logan, Henry, Jack, or Quinn. I have known and loved little boys with all these names, if you couldn’t guess.

warcrygirl
14 years ago

Maverick! Nah, too Top Gun sounding. How about Emmett Wade? Now that I have my two boys I haven’t even thought about boy names. If I were to have another boy *shudder* I’d pick something traditional like James or Joseph. The first thing I thought of when I read Emmett was The Muppets, how about Kermit?

Just kidding.

Kate
Kate
14 years ago

My son is just a few months younger than Riley and I’m expecting another one in April (don’t yet know gender). Our son’s name is a family name that I absolutely LOVE (of course) and I don’t know why everyone doesn’t name their boy babies this name. My heart hurts just a little whenever I hear another boy with this name – stupid and selfish and weird, I know, but I feel like it’s MY name. Anyway, to get over this stupid thing I have with my son’s name, I’m sharing it with the world, well at least Sundry readers. I think it was already mentioned above – just once, and not the way we spell it. Are you ready?

Greyson

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. And Grey is such a cute nickname, although I’m really not a big fan of shortening names. We use the full name, for now.

If this next child is a boy, I will never find another name I like nearly as much. But, I’m trying and here’s what I’ve thought of for boy names:

Either Wesley or Weston

Again, a family name. I like going with family names (assuming you like the person you’re naming after).

So, there you have it. My list is short. I am too picky with names. I hate that about myself. I never have “lists” – it’s always just one or two names.

Rebecca
Rebecca
14 years ago

Benjamin. I’m not for trendy names, but I do like Keegan as well. Good luck deciding!

Leslie
Leslie
14 years ago

My favorite on YOUR list is Ethan….. I also love the name Tyler and so far no one has metioned it. Goes well with Emmett too…..and with “sounds like Sparks”.

LauraH
14 years ago

I don’t like trendy names. Perhaps that makes me boring. The funny thing is I met a 24 year old Keegan just yesterday at the bank. Also, one of my daughter’s friends is named Keegan. I thought this was very odd because I had never before met a Keegan. If we had had another boy we would have named him Benjamin Emmett. My son’s name is James Christopher. I was dying to use my husband’s name (Leonard Scott, or a variation of) for a boy but he wasn’t having any of it.

lisa
lisa
14 years ago

My short list for boys:

Addison
Aidan
Benjamin
Evan
Gavin
Harrison
Ian
Jasper
Parker
Riley
Leif
Liam
Tate
Zane

But, I also have to speak up for Cody. I’ve always liked the name, and I know several grown men named Cody and it never occurred to me that it was a non-manly name.

Whatever you do, don’t do Jake. I am a teacher and Jakes are EVERYWHERE.

kristin
kristin
14 years ago

DEXTER DUDE!!!

Megan
Megan
14 years ago

I’m loving these names lately:

Hayden
Reid
Lucas
Jackson
Eli

Do any of these grab ya?

Kate
Kate
14 years ago

I’m like you and like Jake but not Jacob, but I think the perfect alternative to this is the name Jackson (could be Jack for short, but doesn’t have to). And, IMO, it goes great with Emmett and coordinates well with Riley.

Also, my son’s name is Max and I still just love that name. Maxwell is actually his full name.

I’m also loving the names Henry and Charlie these days.

Siena
14 years ago

I love playing with names, even though I’ve got no intention of having somebody to use them on anytime soon. I went to the Social Security website and the top ten most popular names for 2006 were:

Jacob
Michael
Joshua
Ethan
Matthew
Daniel
Christopher
Andrew
Anthony
William

I’m not sure if you want to avoid a name that’s overwhelmingly popular, although some of these are pretty classic recurrents – Daniel and William would work nicely with Emmett. I like Luke a lot also, and Timothy, and also Mark. Ooh, and David. My husband has a family name that’s really unusual – Green – and if I had a boy I’d probably try to work it in as a middle name.

deanna
14 years ago

ooh i love the baby naming game. in my spare time i actually really enjoying looking up different names, their origins and meanings. you seem to like names with an irish/celtic sort of “bent.” i must say i have always adored the name ethan, but what about some of the following (and i tried to pick ones i hadnt already seen listed here)?

declan (with the awesome bonus of having the nickname “dex” and being sorta like dexter, only not…)
rowan (my friend just had a son and named him this)
colin (i also have a friend, cullen, which is similar)
nolan
blaine (also, blaise)
neal
caleb
gabriel
derek (possibly influenced by the fact that its my best friends name!)
brendan (or brennan)
emory (which is actually a boys name, but i always thought it would make a lovely girls name as well…)

Michelle
Michelle
14 years ago

I really like the name Garrett.
Cody sounds like a pet name to me as I once had a dog named Cody

Some other names I really like

John
Nathaniel
Mason
Callum
Britton
Oliver
Owen
Aaron

Jem
Jem
14 years ago

I’ve always loved the name Cody. Out of all those names, I like that one best!

Umm…without choosing my favourite name ever that I’m saving…(I don’t think its one you’d particularly care for anyway)

I also really like Nathan’s nickname of Nate…

– Aidan
– Max – this one is funny. Our friend (male) and his wife just had a kid called Max, and he went to fill in the birth forms. They asked for a middle name and he couldn’t think of one, so he just put “Danger”. As far as I know, they haven’t denied it yet
– Nikki
– Kendal
– Timothy
– Caleb
– Connor
– Damian

Tessa
Tessa
14 years ago

My cube-buddy Matilde is pregnant with a boy, and every day I come up with at least one terrible name from our list of patients to give her. She first repeats it back to me in English, then with a Spanish twist (as her parents speak only Spanish, and it has to sound good with them, too, and then she tests it out to see how it will sound when she’s yelling at him to stop whatever he’s doing.

My fave so far? Purvis.

For you, though, I’d go with yesterday’s name, Dragos. Or Ethan…
:)

Fifi
14 years ago

Well, Tyler sounds good alongside Riley. Digby Yourlastname sounds like a cool spy, but Do Not Name him Digby! And more congratulations to you!

Janet
Janet
14 years ago

Gage Emmett Sparks.

– Janet in California

Mandy P.
Mandy P.
14 years ago

Please, no Cody. I hate it for a dog, cat, mouse and especially a little boy. Um, Kathy Lee named her son that, which should be enough to make you run far, far away. Please. Casey is another option? No more. You guys have to hand over naming rights.
What about Oliver?

Alyson
Alyson
14 years ago

So what’s WRONG with Garrett? OK, I’ll give you Garrett Emmett, something that sounds like Sparks, doesn’t work. Our last name ends with “son”, so any of the first names that end with “n” don’t work for us. One we never used but I always loved was Rhys. Pronounced Reese. One of our cousins almost used Nolan. I loved Nolan! Didn’t work for us, because of the last name, but I loved it with theirs. We go for uncommon, but not weird. “Er” names are interesting to explore, too. Ya know, Walker, Cooper……names like that.

Also look at family ethnic background or a family geneology chart, if you have one. We found our youngest son’s middle name in a family history. Came up with a cool name, and honored a whole side of the family at the same time. It was supposed to be his first name, but when we discovered that no one would pronounce it correctly, we made it his middle name.

Alyson
Alyson
14 years ago

Oh heck! I forgot to tell you my trick for testing out names. Imagine hollering the name of a three year old as he runs away from you in Bellevue Square. You have to use all three names. If you think you sound like an idiot yelling the name, out it goes!

Ooh, but Karey is right…….Owen Emmett sounds like “Sparks” rocks my world!

Jean
Jean
14 years ago

Sawyer
Eli or Elias
Silas
Avery
Jonas
Luke
Patrick
Seamus
Finn
Noah
Charlie

Amanda
14 years ago

Our second turned out to be a girl (who we named Genoa) but if she’d been a boy, we would’ve named her (him) Isaac and called her (him) Zack.

Nancy
14 years ago

Oh my god these people love baby names. I wanted to chime in to say that you shouldn’t worry about how many so and sos will be in his Kindergarten class, because you never can tell. My brother’s idea was to look at the top 3 or 5 names of the year and veto all of those. I teach Kindergarten and I have a colleague who has three Ivan’s this year. So like I said you never can tell.
My vote goes for Emmett as a first name, or Nicholas. Because the name Nick with a short last name makes me think rock star.

Sue
Sue
14 years ago

Jason (my son’s name)
Joseph
Mason
Colin
Martin
Grant
Rowan (my daughter’s name… but totally a cool boy name)
Blake
Michael

Can you tell us why you chose Emmett? That is a great name.

Trina
Trina
14 years ago

I am having a boy also. My husband is Italian so we wanted to go with an Italian name Rocco Nicholas. Here is our list of Italian names in case you want to get crazy. ;)

Rocco
Luciano
Marco
Lorenzo
Alfredo – This was my husband’s choice not mine

Joanie
Joanie
14 years ago

“Anderson” comes to mind. I also like Max, but it doesn’t seem to go with the middle name.

Katie
Katie
14 years ago

Man, the baby naming thing is so personal. But it is my favorite conversation. So I’m adding my new favorite boy name: Tate.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

owen
luke
ted

owen is my #1 and i think it sounds adorable with riley, as well as “sparks”

CaraLee
CaraLee
14 years ago

Love

Drew
Josh
Logan

Never met a Drew that wasn’t handsome and charming.

Leah
14 years ago

Craaaaaap. Someone mentioned the name I’m saving for myself. Here, let me distract you: MacGyver. Or Chuck. As in Norris.

Elissa
Elissa
14 years ago

HEY! My husband is a Casey but that is just because he goes by his last name. :) He doesn’t like “Erik.”

I like the name Xander – short for Alexander. :)

I also like “Logan” but not for Veronica Mars – but because of Mike Logan in Law and Order!

We have boy names picked out for the very distant future – Dylan and Aidan. Cute!

CA
CA
14 years ago

Many of these sentiments have been shared, but I have to throw in my 2 cents:
-Do not let it rhyme with Riley
-Don’t like Garrett Emmett also for rhyming reasons
-I think Keagan/Keegan is awful
-I think Casey and Cody are also awful
-Could definitely use Jake without Jacob and it is a great name
-I think Jake, Jackson, Jack, and Finn are great, hot names, and my favorites mentioned
-Theo is also great and I think Riley and Theo sound really good together. Theodore Emmett sounds really good too
-Here’s my throw in: Gus.

mo
mo
14 years ago

i luurve the name arlo. don’t think my fiance will go with it though. actually, i kind of DREAD the choosing of names things because i have a kid already with an unusual name, and so i kind of favour the ‘unique’ names so he doesn’t grow up feeling like the odd one out. i think my fiance is a little more conservative though… normal names and all that.

last time round though, my ex suggested we name the kid balthazar. so theres always that to look forward to not going through again :P

Josh
Josh
14 years ago

Well, the obvious choice for this one would be Joshua. It’s a lovely name that many fine leaders through out history have held.

Of course I understand if you feel ambiguous about naming your child after such a lofty and ambitious lineage. Maybe he will end up being a jack ass who posts arrogant comments on the serious blogs that strangers post online in the future. I mean who the hell would do that? Seriously?

But no joke, I’ve always wanted to name my own son Noah or Luke. I really like those two. I’m not sure you should be asking for outside opinions though. This is a very personal thing that you and JB should work through on your own. I’m just gonna say from personal experience that Lorne is not a very cool name to grow up with. And maybe you should stay away from names that rhyme with “squash”.

lisa
lisa
14 years ago

Xander. I can’t believe I forgot Xander. One of the coolest kids I know is named Xander, and the name is pure bad-ass.

Erin
Erin
14 years ago

I really like the name Teague! I have an amazing, good-natured little boy named Teague in my preschool class (which, incidentally, is comprised of 14 boys and 5 girls), so now I like it even better than before.

Other (student!) names that I like:
Mason
Alexander
Cameron

I feel like too many people name their children cutesy kid names without remembering that those children will someday be ADULTS, and while Kaylee may be cute for a 5-year old it might be a bit hard to swallow as a doctor or a lawyer, you know?

I KNOW, I AM A BITTER PESSIMISTIC OVERGENERALIZER.

bonkrood
14 years ago

My favorites which have already been suggested by others are:

Reid
Declan
Rhys
Tate
Harper

Plus I like Grayden… (I like how it sounds but not that spelling although I can’t figure out how I would like it spelled….

Also, my favorite boy’s name of all time is Tobin.

Amber
Amber
14 years ago

Okay drop these in the hat…

Teigan/Teagen/Tegan however you wanna spell it, it’s like Keagen but less trendy

Taryn (spell it like that so people can’t call him Terry)

Cadence shorten to Cade or Caden or as the kids in my son’s class say : Caydie or KD

Don’t be afraid of the feminine sounding names, one of the most charming,masculine men I’ve ever met was named Ashley

A friend recently named their baby Jones (nickname Jonesie), with a single syllable last name. No one thought it would work, but it really fits.

My sister is a nanny for a boy named Dash. Yep, you heard right. As in “The Incredibles”. Super cute lil blondey just like the movie…

Sayler & Sawyer are cute but both start with S…

I happen to know a guy named Brookes and love the name. Everyone assumes it’s a last name/nickname thing though

When I hear older names like Charlie, Frank, Willy, Tommy, I always think of someone friendly and good natured. Can’t go wrong with that.

I personally like the name Reggie (boy or girl). Even though it has the 2 R thing I think it sounds good with Riley because it sounds more traditional less trendy than say Reagan and Riley

I’m excited to hear the final verdict!