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abby 3-3-14a

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

You’ll never guess the name that repeats in my son’s third grade.

It isn’t Alex.  Despite having a Top 20 name, he’s never had to share.  His friend Matthew is also one of one, and has been since kindergarten.  The same is true for Chloe and William.

The name that repeats?  Micah.

It’s one of the new realities of baby naming.  In our quest to avoid calling our kids the 2014 equivalent of Jennifer and Jason, Ashley and Josh, we skip over the Top Ten and even Top 100.

But that’s no guarantee that our relatively uncommon choice won’t be shared.  My kids know more than one Lucia and a couple of Finns, two Jareds, a Skyler and a Skye, a boy Jordan and a girl Jordan, a boy Seamus and a dog Seamus.

So it isn’t really a surprise that the high profile birth announcement name to repeat this week wasn’t Ava or Isabella, but Bodhi.

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abby2-16-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Not so long ago, globe-trotting was the exception.  Immigrants quickly adopted the language of their new homes, and we tended to marry and raise children with partners from similar religious and cultural backgrounds.

Now, in our globally-connected world, many families are faced with naming across cultures.  The high-profile parents in this week’s round-up can claim roots in Colombia, Cuba, France, Sweden, as well as the US, UK, and Australia.  The baby names they chose reflect this diversity.

Some names seem like an attempt to bridge several cultures, like the Monegasque arrival.  Others, like one of Michael Jordan’s new daughters, or Melissa George’s son, seem to celebrate one parent’s roots.

The trend isn’t just limited to celebrities and royals.  Plenty of us are trying to solve naming riddles: combining Irish roots with Polynesian heritage, or finding Japanese names that work well in English.

If we’re all the jet-set, is it any wonder that our children’s names are so rich with influences from French and Spanish, from history recent and far past?  There’s a healthy splash of creativity and daring, too, which seems fitting in a world filled with so much possibility

On to the nine most newsworthy baby names this week:

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kevin-jonas-baby-photo

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Reality television has become a real influence in baby naming.

And why not?

Hollywood A-listers like Hugh Grant and Owen Wilson might hesitate to announce details of their new arrivals, but reality stars tend to be eager to share pictures, and, of course, baby names.

There’s no shortage of reality stars, either.

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abby--2-03014

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Let’s talk about middle names.

Family names, filler names, fallback names – there are so many approaches to choosing your child’s middle that it can make landing on the perfect first feel almost easy.

Factor in a growing number of children who receive not one, but two middles, and it can become quite the puzzle.

I still regret choosing our son’s second name too quickly, and I remain ridiculously pleased with our daughter’s bonus middle.  (It’s Wren, a nod to my sister’s nickname, Bird.)

There’s nothing wrong with using Elizabeth or JamesPlenty of us have loved ones we wish to honor with a traditional choice.  And a more conventional middle can anchor an out-there given name.

But the opposite is true, too.  Jeremy Renner’s Ava Berlin is far more interesting than say, Ava Grace.

Middles that are meaningful and interesting and maybe downright original have their place, and I’m an unapologetic fan of big, stand-out middles.

This week’s daring middle names in the news are:

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football names

By Denise K. Potter

This Sunday February 2nd, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will go head-to-head at Super Bowl XLVIII. And while the U.S.A. is in a complete football frenzy, loyal name nerds everywhere will be questioning which team wins—the name-game that is. Take a look at the 12 most enthralling names of Super Bowl XLVIII. Which is your MVP?

From Seattle

Byron Maxwell – The name of Seahawks’ cornerback is arguably the dreamiest of the league, with its romantic, windswept aura stemming from images of the poet Lord Byron.

Golden Tate – recognized as an All-American player for the University of Notre Dame, Golden H. Tate III was drafted for the NFL in 2010 and became the Seahawks’ wide receiver. With its shimmering metallic connotation, this unisex color name is almost too stunning for an ordinary boy.

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