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How I Named My Babies: Nico Gianna & Jasper Graham

October 28, 2020 Sophie Kihm
Nico Gianna & Jasper Graham

Alanna Shore, stay-at-home parent, and her husband Keith, artist and art director of Mikkeller Beer, live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with their four children.

In May they welcomed their latest arrivals, twins named Nico Gianna and Jasper Graham. Here, Alanna shares the story of how she and Keith named their babies.

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How long did it take you to decide on names?

Almost the entire pregnancy! We settled on names a week before the babies arrived.

When did you know you found “The Name?”

When I texted my husband the combo I felt good about and he replied “I’m into it” without any negative feedback or associations.

Jasper Graham is called that because he is a treasure and with this quarantine, the homestead meaning felt right! My husband has liked the name Graham for many years, but we didn’t use it for our older children, so it was time!

And we chose Nico Gianna because we wanted a gender-neutral first name that would sound nice with our older daughter’s name, Parker. I knew I would use Gianna right away, as it is for the Patron Saint of mothers and unborn children, who I prayed to through my pregnancy. 

Whose baby name opinions influenced you the most?

My best girlfriend, both our mothers, my sister-in-law, and our two children.

What name did you hate to let go of?

Frankie for our baby girl. My husband Keith grew up with a male Frankie, so he couldn’t see that as a gender-neutral option.

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What would your babies be named if it was totally up to you? If it was up to your partner?

If it were up to me, baby girl Pearl and baby boy Otis.

If it were up to my husband, baby boy Graham. I’m not sure he had a girl name he liked on his own!

Did your feelings about any of the names on your list shift over time?

Yes, before the pandemic we originally loved a lot of C names like Coco and Calvin, but we decided against those with similar sounds to the words COVID and corona.

Was it important to choose names that ‘matched’ your babies’ older siblings’ — or future siblings’ — names?

Yes. We have a daughter Parker and a son Quentin (nickname Quinn). We liked the gender-neutral vibe and something not too common but not super eccentric. We also wanted the twins’ names to sound right together without being too matchy.

Was it easier to come up with girl or boy names?

Girl names felt so much more abundant. It was much harder to find boy names we both liked that were not high on the Social Security name list.

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Did you decide on middle names before the first names, or vice versa?

We knew that Graham and Gianna would be in there somehow. If not as first names, then definitely as middles.

How important a consideration was the flow of the first, middle, and last names?

Very! I wrote them out to assess the visual flow. The sound and initials were important to me as well.

What was your biggest fear related to baby names?

That I would pick names that would be shared by many other kids at school.

Did your babies’ older siblings have opinions or suggestions for names?

Oh yes! Our 9- and 7-year-olds were very opinionated, and it made it more difficult because we didn’t want them to dislike the names we decided on. Our daughter liked most of the names I liked. Our son would suggest the names of his first-grade friends which was cute.

Which partner had more fun with the baby name process?

Definitely me! I just presented names to my husband. I would look on Nameberry a ton as well as the Social Security name lists.

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Did you share your babies’ names before they were born?

With a couple of people, like our older kids. But most didn’t know what we settled on.

Have any unexpected nicknames come up for your babies?

Not yet, really. My son calls Jasper, “Jaspy” because he said it sounds like a Pokémon.

What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?

How hard it is to select names for two babies at the same time!

What advice would you give someone just starting the baby name process?

Put them down on paper and keep a written running list. I think name feelings fluctuate so much through a pregnancy. We thought we would circle back to our original combinations but in the last days we came up with Nico and Jasper. They felt so right to us but were unexpected for most of our friends and family.

Thank you so much, Alanna!

For the chance to participate in How I Named My Baby, please email sophie@nameberry.com

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

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