Naming Another: fourth baby surprise

Each of our boys have received their names in line with a tradition. Cashel Rock arrived first, almost five years ago. Camper Phog who’s name may be the most unusual was named oh so close to his due date. With Corban Hawk we had his name selected a few months ahead but I honestly thought he’d never have a name as I found naming another boy so daunting since we had “used up our names.” However, with the third we still knew we’d carry on our tradition. With our fourth pregnancy we were not quite as certain if tradition would win out, first because we didn’t know the gender and thought if we had a girl we might break with it slightly. Secondly, after naming multiples of the same gender it feels like you use up your “favorites” and it just gets harder to pick. That being said with each baby the lists really were not that similar and the names that made the top cuts were different with all our kids. Each had a different girl option and I love looking back at the saved lists we had for each boy. I hope you’ll read their stories by clicking their names above.

As we named our boys we started with the clear pattern of an Irish first name, for my heritage and family connections to Kilkenny, Ireland; and a tribute name to the state of Kansas and the Kansas University Jayhawks. Benjamin grew up there and it has been our way to give them a tribute to him as well. As time flew by the pattern got even more clear and complicated. We have “nature” related middle names – Rock, Phog, and Hawk, and also noticed that we really were drawn to the syllabic pattern of three syllables total, 2 in the first name and 1 in the second. It just was what felt “natural” to our ear. That meant that often times certain names or name combinations just didn’t work for our ears. We also took advice from some good friends, “Yell it, practice call their name across the house and see how you like it, you’ll be doing that a lot.” Makes me smile, but was absolutely something we did with each name. We also wanted the names to go well together, be as special for each boy, and also totally unique and special for each child. Boy is naming a child tough or what?!

Then came our decision to not find out gender, something I wish now we had done with all the kids. It was so fun not knowing, imagining our lives as the next baby entered our family not knowing the gender, even the gender dreams that ensued because we didn’t know. What we ended up doing was creating  a top names list. Several names at the top of the list were gender neutral – really they all were. We didn’t really pick gender specific first names, and tend to be drawn to neutral names in general. We nailed down the middle names first – and had one “girl name” but otherwise the first name choices could go either way. So for those of you wondering, yes our top name for a girl was also Copeland (with one other backup “girl name” – my plan was to let Benjamin select which one he liked after he announced gender since I loved them both.)

You can read my birth story soon and it will include that “moment” where Benjamin announced to me and the room that “he’s a boy!” Saving the details for later…

And with all those considerations came the name…

Copeland Oread that would suit our fourth child so well.

Copeland is traditionally a surname, but our selection came from our Irish family tradition, after Copeland Island in Northern Ireland. Like our other children we look forward to taking him there to visit someday. There is a gorgeous lighthouse and some lovely places to visit in the Northeast side of Northern Ireland. Just this week some Irish friends of ours were in Donaghadee and snapped some photos with Copeland Island in the background. Such a special treasure to get to see it directly from loved ones there.

We first heard the name Cope over Father’s Day weekend on a camping trip. A little boy who’s family was camping nearby was named Cope and we love the meaning of the verb “cope.” The timing and meaning was precious and I feel like that weekend in my heart of hearts I knew that would be the name (especially if was a boy.) We loved that it was also in line with our Irish tradition and thought it was fun that it was in Northern Ireland as the Rock of Cashel, town of Camp, and Corban Lane are all near our loved ones in the Republic of Ireland. An excuse to travel the whole country!  It flowed beautifully with our middle name selection and was similar in popularity (statistically) with our other boys. In fact it might officially be the most unique.

We knew Oread was a top choice for a middle name as Kansas University is built on Mount Oread. (We pronounce the name like O – read, like read a book.) In Kansas it is pronounced (ôrēˌad). Our other boy’s middle names were also tributes for this same University and their mascot so it it directly in line with that part of our tradition. Plus we loved the sound and flow of the name as a whole, Copeland Oread, despite the fact that it was not “nature” related or one syllable. You guys you can’t win them all.

So here we are with our #boysquad and the tradition continues. Here are each of the boys within the first twenty-four hours of their lives wearing unique Jayhawk hats. This Momma’s heart has grown bigger with each addition, and it is truly the greatest honor to be their mom.


We are so enamored by this sweet little one and his disposition, and feel like his name is just the perfect fit for him. I look forward to sharing more with all of you.
In the meantime I would love to hear about how you named your children. Did consecutive children get easier? Harder? Do you have system or formula? Criteria?

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