How I Named My Babies: Wesley Clark, Emma Colleen, Leah Evelyn & Nora Elizabeth
Ashley, a stay-at-home mom, and Lance Crandell, a business owner, live in Queen Creek, Arizona with their five children: daughter Isla Hope and quadruplets Wesley Clark, Emma Colleen, Leah Evelyn, and Nora Elizabeth.
The quadruplets were born on February 11, 2022. Ahead of their first birthday, we talk to Ashley about how she and Lance named their babies.
Tell me how you named the quads!
We had two of the names picked out already. Our boy name, Wesley, would have been Isla's name if she was a boy. Wesley is my dad’s middle name, and Clark is Lance’s dad’s middle name. Lance’s middle name is also his grandfather’s middle name — it’s a family tradition.
I wanted to use the name Emma forever, and now it’s super popular. One of my friends named her daughter Emma, and she was born just a few months before the quads. Colleen is my mom’s middle name. We wanted to include family names for all the babies.
Leah was the one name we had a hard time choosing. Originally, I wanted all of my girls to have four-letter names that end in A. They do, pretty much, but we decided to spell Leah the traditional way. I did some research and found that you could spell it Leia, but I’m not a Star Wars fan and people would have pronounced it LAY-ah. Evelyn is my husband's grandma's middle name.
I’ve loved the name Nora for as long as I can remember. My sister wanted to use it, but she’s done having kids. I finally convinced her that I could have the name Nora! Her middle name, Elizabeth, is Lance’s mom’s middle name.
Did you consider any other names for the quads?
We did try to find more boy names! When we found out there were four babies, we figured we’d have a mix of boys and girls. We had Wesley and Emma, but we went through so many name books, lists, and websites.
Honestly, we never really found any other boy names that we both loved. I always liked the name Ezra, which goes along with the four-letter, ending in A theme. But Lance doesn’t like it.
The other girl names I liked were Mila, Maya, and Mara, but I worried they sounded too close to Isla.
What names did you like when you were younger?
The name that sticks out the most is Emma. Emma was the name of a youth student of mine that I had when I was a leader at my church in Minnesota. She became a little sister to me. I always told her, “I want to use the name Emma for my first daughter.” When we named Isla — after Lance's great-aunt Ila — she messaged me right away and said, “I thought you were going to use Emma!”
I told her, “We went with the family name, but I do still want to use Emma!” As soon as we decided on Emma for one of the quads, I told her we were finally using her name. She was really excited.
How do you feel about your name, and how did it influence your choice of baby names?
Everyone’s name was Ashley when I was a kid! I don’t know if it ever bothered me that much that other people had my name. Generally, there were two or three other people in my class named Ashley.
Now, if I hear the name, I think, “Oh, you were born in the ‘80s!” It’s really trendy right now to go with wild and totally different names. I don’t have anything against that but I wanted names that would be classic for my children.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
My sister used the name Adlie, and my other niece is named Jane. I also have a friend with a daughter named Jane and a cousin with a daughter named Jane!
Lennon is a popular one right now for boys and girls. We're around a lot of homeschool families, and most people have somewhat traditional names.
Did Isla have any suggestions for baby names?
Yes, one of them was Glitter Girl! We had to break it to her that that one didn’t make the list.
She likes the name Sophie — she names a lot of her dolls Sophie or Sophia. She also loves Eliana. She was disappointed when I told her that Mommy pretty much had all the names decided.
What was the most difficult part of naming quadruplets?
Coming up with all of the names! At 16 weeks, we found out that there were three girls and one boy. I was worried that we would have them and find out there were three boys and a girl, or something crazy like that, which would have been hard because I was set on their names.
With multiples like that, our doctor told us that they’d try their best to identify everybody by their placement, but when they come out it might be a matter of just choosing a name. I wanted to keep their names based on their positions because we had been calling them by their names.
When the surgeon for my C-section asked if we had names picked out, he asked to know the placement. Leah in particular weighed a whole pound smaller than the others, so she was easy to identify. But the surgeon was great. He was like, “Okay, we’re grabbing Wesley! Here comes Emma!” It was so cool how he used their names — I can’t believe he remembered them!
How did you decide which of the girls got each name?
When we did our first scans, they labeled the babies A, B, C, and D. Wesley was A, because he’s the boy, and the next girl was Emma — the first name we decided on. We went in order of the names we had chosen.
How would you describe your style beyond baby names?
We are a homeschooling family, so that is a big part of our life. I try to be pretty minimal — my husband thinks we need more Legos! We're a pretty classic family. We have five kids, two dogs, my parents live with us. We’re home a lot and I like to have cozy but simple décor.
When planning for the quads, we decided to minimize and not get four of everything — we only have two swings. They have natural wood cribs just to keep it simple and clean.
We moved a month after they came home from the NICU. They all share a room right now, and eventually, Isla is set on sharing a room with all of them. We have a bigger bedroom upstairs that will turn into the kids’ room.
What are the cool things for parents and kids to do in your area?
We live in Arizona, where it’s beautiful nine months out of the year. We haven’t been able to get out a ton, but we like to walk to the park. The Queen Creek farmers market is nearby.
We’re in a great spot. Queen Creek is a little bit country — there are cowboys that live out here! It’s a small-town feeling but the town is growing.
Ashley's (and Wesley, Emma, Leah, and Nora's) Favorite Things
This is our favorite thing. We use it everyday!
We lay the babies in here to drink their bottles!
Nested Bean Sleep Sack
The babies are in a sleep sack for every nap and bedtime.
Kidoozie Ball Drop
Wesley always wants to carry these around.
Thank you so much, Ashley!
Photos via Ashley Crandell and Michaella Diamond Photography