Annabelle Charlene | When I was pregnant with Annabelle, Jess was pretty sure I was having a boy. Thus, dreaming up girl names wasn't high on his priority list. Still, I kept dreaming them up, and he kept nixing them. One day, very randomly, the name Annabelle popped into my head. This was just weeks before she was born, and thankfully, Jess liked it. He liked it a lot, actually, and so did I. Not only was it pretty and a little old fashioned, but she could also be Belle, close to the all too popular Bella, but not the same. (Bella has been my favorite name for years. Twilight has destroyed it for me, however.) Her middle name comes from Jess' grandma, Gladys Charlene. She also shares her middle name with Jess' Aunt Diana Charlene (Gladys' daughter), who passed away last year. The name is representative of a whole lot of love. Jess' grandma and aunt are are two of the most amazing women I know, full of wisdom, wit and humor. I love that she shares names with women to be admired and respected. When she just started saying big words, Grandma Charlene taught her her middle name. It was so beautiful to see how proud the elder was that a younger was being raised up. Oh, and it's actually pronounced with the "ch" (not a "sh). The original Charlene was named after her father, Charles. Thus the "ch."
Lydia Lou | Lydia's first name came about similar to Annabelle's. I had loved the name Charlotte for months but suddenly got sick of it. Jess and I tossed names back and forth for a while, each of us not liking what the other suggested. Then one night just before I fell asleep, the name Lydia popped into my head. I mentioned it and Jess said, "That could work..." And so we let that name simmer for a few weeks. I liked it more and more every day, and while I'm not sure that Jess was totally in love with it, he liked it enough. Her middle name is a special one. Jess' grandpa, Jesse Lewis Cheney, passed away this year (he's Charlene's husband). Because he's one of many Jesses, he went by Lew. If we had a boy, he would automatically carry the Jess name, and we were also considering giving a son the same middle name as well. But when Lew passed, I told myself that if we had a girl, I still wanted to pass on his name. And so we have our own Lou. We spelled it more feminine, but the name is for her great grandfather. He was a man of incredible strength, wisdom, and love. I hope somehow that by sharing his name, she'll become the same.