Cecelia Ruth (is the s sound ok with your last name, probably not, sorry!)
Esther Ruth (too biblical?, I love Esther)
Thank you so much for the suggestions so far! I have plucked several possibilities from them and put them on the list of names we'll be doing additional research on and reconsidering.
The name suggested that we had not previously even thought of that is going on our ponder list is Esther. At first glance, I thought, "no way!" But when I looked at it a second time, I started to see the appeal. Now I find myself rapidly warming to it. That's why this sort of thing is so helpful!
Hmm…a friend re-suggested Aviva this morning. We're worried it would get shortened to Avi, which will make my husband think of birds. Any thoughts on other nn possibilities? Is Viv a stretch? I'm not sold on the name nn aside, but I probably like it enough to put it on the reconsideration list.
I think these names would go perfectly with your list:
Penelope (nn Penny)
Annabel/Annabelle (nn Annie/Belle, etc)
Alexandra (nn Alex)
Amelia (possible nn Amy, though Amelia is lovely on its own)
Lots of lovely names on your lists, good luck choosing! :)