Sudden Baby Naming Issue: Unexpectedly Fast Adoption Leads to Unexpectedly Urgent Naming Situation

Hi Swistle!
You and your readers helped us name our little girl, Sylvie Clara, 2.5 years ago (baby boy or girl Campton with an O). Now we have a CRAZY new naming dilemma. We are adopting baby number two, and TODAY, after only being approved for FOUR DAYS, we got the call that we have another daughter!! She was born 6 weeks ago and has been in temporary foster care due to some issues but we are picking her up Friday (!!). Her birthparents chose not to name her, and her foster mom has been calling her Lucia. We are supposed to decide by Friday what we want to name her so the paperwork can be filled out accordingly. I know technically it’s not set in stone because we can legally change it when we finalize the adoption but I’d love to have her name on the paperwork. I am a name nerd that poured over Sylvie’s name my entire pregnancy, and now we have to decide in two days what to name our baby girl. Pertinent info: although not on our original list, we do like the name Lucia, but it is way more popular than what we generally prefer. Sylvie’s middle name is my grandmas name, so we will use an honor name from my husbands side as a middle this time: Pearl or Jane. We hadn’t gotten really involved in name talk this time, but our shortlist contains:
Pearl (as a first)
Louisa (definite frontrunner)

So I guess my question is, if we like Lucia, and it’s awfully close in sounds to our frontrunner Louisa, do we go with it, or start a fast and furious search for the THE name? Could it be that easy? Another tidbit: baby girl’s birth parents are both from Mexico, so is Lucia a better fit? My brain is completely overwhelmed at this point so I’d love any input from you and the readers.



Name update:

Hi Swistle,
Thanks for posting our question, everyone was so supportive, insightful, and helpful. There was a big Lucia/Luisa debate for that 24 hours, but we finally decided her name had been cemented in our hearts the minute we learned of her, and it was confirmed when we saw her. We welcomed Lucia Pearl to our family Friday, and we are so in love. I wish I could share a picture of her–she is the most beautiful little thing, and her name fits perfectly thanks to all the support from you guys.

Baby Naming Issue: Blake, Cooper, or Hudson?

Hi Swistle,
Really hoping you can help me out. Baby boy #3 is due in less than 6 weeks (but will most likely be here early). My husband and I have been unable to agree/decide on a name. Last night, he told me he really wants to get the name settled by this weekend, so we need to make a decision. We have three names- Hudson (his favorite), Blake (my favorite), and Cooper (which we both like, but not enough where either of us want to give up our #1 choice). I’m not including any info on the middle name, our last name, or our boys’ names, because at this point we don’t really care what sounds best with what (all three have their own drawbacks).

Unless we can come up with some other method, we are going to be picking baby’s name out of a hat. Or using a dartboard. Or some other arbitrary method. My suggestion was letting each of our boys pick a name out of a hat, and then use the remaining name. The idea of a Facebook poll has been discussed.

We are okay with a random choice. We’ve tried list ranking and ended up with exact opposite lists.

Any ideas (from you or your readers) would be appreciated.



Here is my idea: say “no” to your husband’s decision that the name has to be settled by this weekend. It’s thrown everything into a completely unnecessary panic. You guys have approximately six weeks to decide, and it sounds like you need that time. If anything, I’d suggest taking a short break from name discussions if they’re getting stressful: say, no name-talk until AFTER the weekend.

It also sounds as if you guys are stuck in a “My first choice is his/her last choice” loop. Sometimes the only way to maximize happiness in this sort of situation is for both top choices to be tossed out. This could result in choosing Cooper, the second choice for both of you. Or this could result in going back to the name book to see if you can find more options to consider.

Depending on how old your other two sons are, you could decide to make this a family vote—not by having them choose randomly out of a hat, but by asking them which name they like best. A poll of your friends and family might be fun too, as long as they can be trusted not to make negative remarks about the names they didn’t vote for.

Or you may need to go to the hospital with three names and see which one seems best. Some parents do this on purpose; others avoid it.

I can put up a poll here, but I’m not sure it’s much help without sibling names or surname. Still, if it would be useful, here it is, with the names listed in alphabetical order:

Choose your favorite: Blake, Cooper, or Hudson

Baby Girl, Sister to Juliet, Oliver, and Rose

Hi Swistle,

I need help again!

Most of the “regulars” will recognize my name and know that I am an avid reader of your blog and am also a fellow baby-name-nut!! You and the other readers helped us name our last child AND boy… do we ever need help this time!

This is our fourth, and last, child; we have a Juliet, Oliver, and a Rose. If this babe is a boy, we have a list of names that we both love – Charles, Louis, Wells, and George – so we aren’t so worried about choosing a boys name. It is, once again, girl names that are giving us trouble. The style of names we love: older/vintage names that are gender-specific. We do like names that are less common… although all three of our kiddos names are climbing up the charts. We also prefer names that are stand-alone rather than instantly shortened, but that isn’t a deal breaker.

Names that I like:
Pearl – Sigh. I love this name. I REALLY want to be able to use this name, however my husband isn’t sold, he’s not sure if he even likes it. I just feel like it fits in so well with the other three kiddos. I’m still campaigning on this one!!

Esme – I also love this name; however, I feel like it will be mispronounced often. My husband feels that it isn’t really a stand-alone name, rather it seems like it is short for Esmerelda (We both like Esmerelda, but feel that it is too whimsical for our tastes).

Simone – I like that this is so uncommon. I don’t know if it really fits into the naming style of our other three children. This is one name that my husband does like. I’m also hesitant about the possible nn of Mona. But other than that, I really do like it.

Emilia – My husband also likes this name. I feel that it is not special enough… it is quite common (when you take into consideration the other spelling – Amelia). We like a bit of “wow” factor; I love that people are surprised when they hear that our girls are Juliet and Rose. Emilia just feels that it doesn’t stand up to that. That being said, I feel that it fits in better with our childrens’ names better than Simone. Thoughts???

I’ve tossed Georgia around in my head, but not sure how I feel about it. Too different of styles?

Husband vetoed: Vera, Lucia, Stella, Estelle

Names my husband likes:
Penelope – I really do not care for this name. I have vetoed it.

Aria – I have vetoed it.

Emilia – see above

He also likes my suggestion of Simone.

Other names that we like but we cannot use due to close friends/family having children with this name:
Thea (would’ve likely chosen this name but my cousin, who we are good friends with and they also live in the same city, used Brea – just too close for me), Brigitte, Alisa, Eloise, Eliza, Nora.

Names that we “like but not for us”: Eleanor, Florence (don’t like Flo and Flora is too matchy with Rose), Beatrice, Violet, Sophia, Isabel.
Names that we either don’t like: Cora, Claire, Celia, Cecily, Camille, Alice, Madelyn, Dahlia.

Why are girl names so difficult? Thanks in advance for all your help!!
Kelsey D


I’m immediately drawn to Simone from your list. You both like it, it’s unusual enough to get a bit of wow factor, and I think it goes very well with the sibling names. I would not have thought to use Mona as a nickname for it; I’m hoping a Simone or a parent of a Simone can let us know if that’s an issue.

I like Georgia, too, and I think it fits fine with the other names, though I personally prefer the name Simone in this group.

The name Emilia doesn’t feel like a better fit to me: I agree with you that it lacks the wow factor. Emeline feels more the style of Juliet and Rose.

I wish you guys liked the name Cecily: that’s the one that came to mind when I was thinking about the sibling names. Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Cecily. Good wow factor, good vintage factor, clearly girl, etc.

Perhaps Lydia? Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Lydia.

Or Sabrina? Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Sabrina.

Or Winifred. Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Winifred. Hm. Suddenly I realize I’m not crazy about three kids having three-syllable names and one kid having a one-syllable name. I don’t THINK it will matter, but I think I would like even BETTER to find a non-three-syllable name. I wouldn’t rank syllable-count over name-love, though.

Gosh, it seems like all the names I want to suggest have three syllables. Minerva. Millicent. Naomi. Sylvia. Karenna. Bianca. Linnea.

Clara is probably out if you have Claire on your No list, but I will suggest it anyway, just in case. Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Clara.

Ooo, maybe Celeste. Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Celeste.

Or Noelle. Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Noelle.

If Thea is out, I wonder if you’d like Thora? Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Thora.

Or Tessa? Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Tessa.

Or Willa. Juliet, Oliver, Rose, and Willa.

But my top favorite is Simone.

Baby Boy Bradley, Brother to Brennan, Bailey, and Brock

Hi Swistle,

We are expecting our 3rd little boy and are in need of a B name. My husband and I are Ben and Brittany Bradley and we have 3 children: Brennan, Bailey, and Brock Bradley. We feel B named out at this point and are struggling with a name for our 3rd boy. Any ideas would be appreciated!




My guess is that by now you have been through the B section of the baby name book so many times, it’s somewhere between unlikely and impossible that I will think of a name you have missed. But sometimes crowd support for a name can help move it ahead of the pack, so let’s make a list and see what everyone likes best.



My favorites are:

Baxter Bradley; Brennan, Bailey, Brock, and Baxter
Beckett Bradley; Brennan, Bailey, Brock, and Beckett
Bowen Bradley; Brennan, Bailey, Brock, and Bowen
Brogan Bradley; Brennan, Bailey, Brock, and Brogan
Bryant Bradley; Brennan, Bailey, Brock, and Bryant
Bryson Bradley; Brennan, Bailey, Brock, and Bryson

Baby Naming Issue: What’s the Problem with the Name Ignatius?

Hi Swistle,

I am writing to question the seeming total unpopularity of a name I really love – Ignatius.

A brief outline: My husband and I are expecting our second child, a boy, in September. We have a son named Theodore. Our preference for boy names is long, traditional names with a cute shortened version for everyday use and familiarity (Theodore goes mostly by Theo and also Ted and Teddy). We also don’t like anything *too* popular.

Our favourite name for our son is Ignatius with the nickname of Iggy or Nash/Nashy (and maybe even Nate when he is older if he prefers it).

My issue is, it seems like such an unpopular choice … Why? It seems to live in the world of Alexander, Theodore, Oliver, Frederick … But no one seems to use it.

When I research it online it seems to be only discussed as a name considered trendy simply because it is so out of style and even termed ‘ugly’

We really want and plan to use this name – but I thought it might be good to see some discussion – what’s the problem with Ignatius?


I wouldn’t have said that the name Ingatius was hanging out with Alexander, Theodore, and Oliver. I would instead have placed it, as The Baby Name Wizard does, with Leonidas, Tiberius, Octavius, and Ulysses. I wouldn’t pair it with Theodore: I’d pair it with Theodosius or Theophilus.

It’s hard to say WHY we’re not really using that category of name in the U.S. right now. Styles come and go, and some names that would have been seriously startling to use two generations ago are now in the Top 100. Perhaps we will soon have a revival of names such as Euphemia and Euclid. But right now, at the time you plan to use it, the name is extremely out of style, and this will be part of the package deal of choosing to use it. You can do a lot of research trying to figure out WHY it isn’t in style, but I suspect it will be as difficult and as simple as figuring out why we’re not currently wearing togas: they just don’t appeal right now. Perhaps next summer the maxi-dress will be completely eclipsed by the new toga trend (they’re not THAT different), but it’s not here yet.

If you like unusual names, you may want to go ahead and use it anyway, just as if you liked togas I might tell you to go ahead and get down with your bad self. People might be startled (especially when the child’s brother has a Top 100 name), but they’ll get used to it—and may end up envying/copying your style. But with names, it is good to keep in mind that you are making decisions on someone else’s behalf. We can’t know whether our babies will be the type to love an unusual name or hate it, but it’s still a good idea to consider the issue.

For me, Ignatius fails the “Would I want this name for myself?” test. I would recommend having your husband perform the Starbucks test on it: ordering a drink at Starbucks (or ordering anything else at any place where they ask your name) and giving Ignatius as his name. I also suggest that whenever you’re in a busy place for the next couple of months (a mall, a restaurant, etc.), you mentally put the name Ignatius on every boy and man you see: it’s like trying a new clothing fashion on a variety of people instead of just on a model. But again, there’s no real way to tell if he’ll be the kind of kid who fits the name or not. You’ve got some good nicknames in mind, which will help in case he does not. And I think the reaction to the name will be more positive once the child is already named: people feel freer to discuss potential issues when the name is not yet a done deal.

I do think it would make a fabulous middle name. I would not mind at all, if someone asked for my middle name, saying “Euphemia” instead of “Nicole.” I would use it with one of the other names you mention, such as Oliver or Frederick. If it were my choice, I would choose Wesley: wonderful with Theodore, and Wes may be my top favorite boy nickname of all.

Baby Name to Consider: Laedyn


I read your blog religiously and am constantly looking for new and/or unique baby names to add to my collection of names. I currently have a 3.5 year old girl named E11ery (last name is the capitol of Alabama)- you actually helped me out with a middle name dilemma when I was expecting her. While we are currently not trying to conceive due to some life transitions, it won’t be much longer before we try to expand our family. At one point I pictured having two to three children but I’m currently 34 years old so I’m guessing we will only have one more due to my age. Anyway, I really hope that our next child winds up being a girl as well but as you know, we have no control over that. We have a name picked out that we would like to use for a future girl and that is R0zlyn. The reason I’m writing you is that I JUST came across the name Laedyn (it belongs to a little girl) and LOVE it which leaves me wondering a couple of things. I’ve never heard Laedyn as a first name- only as a last name spelled Layden or as the adjective spelled laden. Is this usable as a first name? Does it sound more like a girl’s name or a boy’s name or is it completely unisex that one would not be able to guess the gender based on the name? Furthermore, does it pair better with E11ery than R0zlyn? I’m sure you will make mention that it sounds very similar to Lakyn or Leighton (both have various spellings) and both are pleasing to my ear. I searched your blog to see if anyone had suggested this name before and no one had! I would love to have your thoughts on this name and would love a poll!



The basic elements of Laedyn work. It looks name-like. It sounds name-like. It would easily join the Aiden/Braden/Caden/Hayden group. The -ae- and the -yn make it feminine. The nickname Lady would be super cute.

Despite these promising signs, however, I wouldn’t recommend it. The first issue is the word “laden”: “burdened” and “weighed down” are not positive associations. The second issue is the connection to the sexually-charged word “laid.” And the third issue is that we already have the name Leighton, which dodges the first two issues: changing it very slightly doesn’t seem worth it in this case.

To answer your other questions: If the name were spelled Laedyn, the -ae- and -yn would make me assume a girl (and I do think that’s a very pretty spelling); if it were spelled Laden or Layden, it would be too unisex for me to guess. The Layden spelling would lean feminine for me because of Layla, but there are plenty of boys named Brayden and Hayden, so I wouldn’t be at all confident.

I hesitate to say it pairs better with E11ery than R0zlyn does; I do think so, but I hesitate to say it because it seems like an endorsement of the name. It’s not enough of an issue to make me want to use it, but both Laedyn and E11ery have a unisex/surname/modern sound, while R0zlyn is a very old name and distinctly girl. But E11ery and R0zlyn are fine together, and before recommending the name Laedyn for purely style-coordination reasons I’d come up with a long list of other options (Finley, Piper, Brinley, Campbell, Delaney, Linley, Teagan, Hadley, Gracen, Kinsley, Devany, Locklyn, etc.).

Let’s have a poll to see what everyone else thinks:


Do you think Laedyn works as a name?


Baby Naming Issues: Using III When Dad is II Instead of Jr.; A Middle Name for a Girl Named Stone

Hi Swistle!

I’ve heard of binge watching TV shows, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent hours binge reading blog archives until I stumbled upon your site. As someone who is slightly obsessed with baby names, I was instantly hooked. I have two questions and I won’t be upset if you chose to only answer one portion, but I hope you answer both!

First. Hubby is a second (II). James II to be precise. From the beginning, he told me that he didn’t want a James the third. However, now he has thrown me a total curve ball and is dead set on a Third. Normally, I wouldn’t mind. I actually think it’s kind of adorable. I even love the nicknames for a third (Trip or Trey), and am more in love with the idea of calling my baby JJ or even Jay as he gets older. Many options. Adorable. Here’s my only problem. Everything I have ever read has led me to believe that hubby’s mom did it wrong. He should have been James Jr., not James II because he is named after his father. I’m sure she just didn’t know any better. (And it’s never come up in our personal lives apart from my stealth internet research). BUT a part of me feels like continuing this name is perpetuating the improper usage of the name suffix. Like maybe it looks like I didn’t know what I was doing when I named my son the Third because his dad should have been Jr. but wasn’t. Is this pretentious? Maybe. Am I overanalyzing this? Would this concern you or your readers? Am I wrong? (I would LOVE to be wrong but my understanding is that Jr. and II only maybe become interchangeable when the Sr. dies?) I read your post about nicknames for the fourth (IV), which was very helpful in educating me, but I’m still not sure. Granted, I know that the whole Americanization of the lineage names has departed from the original royal usage purpose, so any modern use of Sr., Jr., III., etc. is probably not technically correct. But I’m still spinning my wheels on this one! Help!

Question number two: Stone is a family name that has an incredible amount of meaning to me. It is the last name of my grandparents who are both still living and are like second parents to me. Obviously it was my mother’s maiden name. And now it is both mine and my brother’s middle name. We don’t share the same surname so this was our mother’s loving way of linking us. My grandparents had three girls- my mom and her two sisters. They are all married with children who took their father’s surname. The Stone surname has ended for our family which is crushing to me. We are the Stone Family. (Not to be confused with The Family Stone! Ha). Anyway my point is, my aunts, uncles and cousins all identify as the Stone Family despite having a different name. I will take future hubby’s surname and keep Stone as my middle. It is woven into my very being.

I LOVE the name Stone as a first name. Love it. I used to love it as a boy’s name and it looks like about 150 or so boys have been named Stone each year for the past few years. But someone said to me in passing once, “Oh Stone would be a pretty girl’s name.” And, Swistle, that rocked my world! It took a couple years of careful pondering but now I am sold. (Hubby is not so sold, but I think I can get him there). I just know my future little girl’s name is Stone. To me it feels so sweet and smooth for a little girl, rather than rigid or tough or even cold when I think about it for a boy. I picture a gemstone, smoothed until it shines. I can see her with ribbons in her hair playing with her friends at school. I can see her as a sassy teenager and I can see her as a mature, strong adult. Your post on Atlas also helped with this, so I’m not so much asking whether you or your readers could see this as a name. It is a name. Although, from what I can tell, less than 10 girls per year have been named Stone in recent years, but I love that also. I love that it is unique but not made up. It is fun but not overly cutesy. Full disclosure- I am Emily. I have been desperate for a unique name my entire life, but obviously never got it. I am giddy over how unique a girl named Stone would be.

Here’s where I need your help.

A. The middle name. With Stone as a first name (somewhat masculine, one syllable, word name), I am stumped as to a middle name. Surname is @llcorn. Just like if you said I ate all the corn at dinner. My thoughts have been that the middle name needs to be a pretty traditional feminine name. Like Stone Margaret or Stone Eleanor. I don’t think either of those are it, but just for illustration. Stone Rosemary or Stone Willow won’t work because I don’t want her to whole name to be objects. I am drawn to middle names with vowel sounds since Stone is so consonant-heavy. Like Stone Elizabeth or Stone Isabelle. Alice and Ellen are family names that I love, but Stone Alice or Stone Ellen sound too short and choppy to me. Hubby’s fave family name is Pauline nn. Polly but I’m not a big fan of that name and don’t even think it would work here.

I just know that you have the key to all my problems!

B. The sibling names. I love classic names. I love the names of my generation’s grandparents. Ruby, Sophia, Henry, Charlotte, etc. Other than my potential James III, boy names I love are George, Michael, and August (though I LOVE August for a girl too. Maybe I have a thing for traditionally masculine names for girls?) August is a family name for me too so it’s pretty high on my list, but I don’t see as much of a problem coming up with middle names for either gender. My point is, the rest of my children will not be named Slade or Onyx or Kynleigh. Those names are beautiful, but the classic names are my style.

So, thinking back to question one, or to any future children, will Stone work with my little JJ? To me, Stone is almost as traditional as these other names because it has been such a hallmark of my family for as long as I can remember. Other people probably see it as trendy, but I don’t.

Also, I am a big proponent of use it or lose it when it comes to names, so if I only had boys, I would still go with Stone. But for purposes of this question, I am only considering the possibility that my Stone is a girl. So to recap, names for future children that are high on my list (I hope to have three):

James III (JJ)

Stone (girl)

August (boy or girl)



Hopefully this gives you an idea of my style. Does Stone work with these options? Am I crazy? Will my little Stone wake up one day and wish I had named her something common like Emily?

Thanks for all your help and for providing such fun reading material!


I have good news about the suffix situation. From what you’ve told me, it does sound as if your husband’s parents should have used Jr. instead of II: in current U.S. usage, Jr. is used when a child is given the exact same full name as a parent, and II is used when a child is given the exact same full name as a non-parent. But! Sr. and Jr. are the only non-numerical suffixes in the line-up: after that, it goes III, IV, V no matter what. That is, let’s say your husband had been named for his grandfather or uncle, and so he was indeed supposed to be a II: in that case, his son would be a III. Or let’s say your husband had been named with the Jr. suffix: in that case too, his son would be a III. Either way, III is correct and no one will think you did it wrong. If I encountered a family where the dad was a II and the son was a III, I would assume the dad was named for his grandfather or uncle—and that’s if I gave it any thought at all.

Now, a middle name for Stone. For middle name challenges, I like to start by figuring out what sort of syllables/rhythm situation I’m looking for. I said “Sloane _____ @llcorn” again and again, changing the hm-hm-hm sounds in the middle until they seemed good to me. My favorite was the “four-syllable name with the accent on the second syllable” category which, luckily for my current self, my past self set up a whole post for. Here are some of my favorites:

Stone Amelia @llcorn (SAA)
Stone Elizabeth @llcorn (SEA)
Stone Honoria @llcorn (SHA)
Stone Olivia @llcorn (SOA)
Stone Victoria @llcorn (SVA)

These weren’t strong preferences: almost all the names on that list sounded good to me with Stone.

But I also think there are a lot of other names that work with Stone and aren’t in that 4-syllable/2nd-syllable mold:

Stone Bianca @llcorn (SBA)
Stone Celeste @llcorn (SCA)
Stone Josephine @llcorn (SJA)
Stone Louise @llcorn (SLA)
Stone Mariah @llcorn (SMA)
Stone Yvette @llcorn (SYA)

And so on.

With my own babies, when I’d narrowed down to a first name but was having trouble choosing the middle name, what I liked to do was take a baby name book and just go through it fast (in sessions, if it was a long name book), sort of skimming while saying the name combinations very rapidly, pausing only to write down any that seemed like they’d work. So for example, if I started at the beginning of The Baby Name Wizard, I would be saying under my breath: “Stone Aaliyah, Stone Abby, Stone Abigail, Stone Ada, Stone Adair, Stone Addison, Stone Adela…” Tastes will vary tremendously, of course, but in my own case I would have paused at Stone Abigail. I would then say “Stone Abigail @llcorn” and see if I liked THAT. And if I did, I’d add that to the list. Then I’d go right back to the skimming: “Stone Adelaide, Stone Adele, Stone Adeline…”

I think it is very smart of you to be thinking ahead to sibling names. I think particularly if you name a FIRST daughter Stone, it will not be too difficult: it may attract interest and questions (especially if you have a sister pairing of Stone and Alice), but “It’s a family name” is in my experience the best ever eyebrows-lowering explanation. If you happen to run into a Swistle type, she will have an almost bottomless interest in any further details you feel like sharing—but most people will drop it right there.

If you have only boys, I think JJ and Stone work very nicely together, especially with their similar levels of family honor; they’d be excellent for twin boys. JJ, Stone, and August works particularly nicely for brothers, I think, but I also like JJ, Stone, and George. I think you’re okay here.

As to your last question, a girl named Stone may indeed one day wish you’d named her Emily, just as an Emily may wish to have a name like Stone. There is no way to predict it ahead of time when we’re making a decision for someone else, someone we haven’t even met yet, so all we can do is make what seems to us to be the best decision, and then be flexible and understanding if the child later disagrees. I would not want the name Stone for myself, but it doesn’t have the meaning for me that it does for you, and that can make all the difference: if she grows up with a significant chunk of her family tree thinking she has the best name in the universe, she’s going to feel differently about it than if the name did not have a family connection. If you have tried the Starbucks test (i.e., ordering your coffee and giving “Stone” as your name to get a feeling for how the name will be perceived); and if you are on-board with the other issues that are a package deal with this particular name (being mistaken for Sloane, being mistaken for a boy’s name, the startle factor of being so unusual, the verb usage of stone/stoning, the association with stoners and being stoned, etc.); and if you have a wonderful naming story to go along with the name (which you do); and if you have made sure you are picturing the name on a wide variety of people and not just on a particular type (I like to go to a mall for this, and picture the name on every woman or girl who passes by); then I think the only other thing I’d do is something you’re already doing, which is to select something more common/traditional/feminine as the middle name. A child may grow up to dislike ANY first name, but with the ones where it feels more like a gamble for whatever reason, I like to increase flexibility by giving a middle name I wouldn’t mind if the child ended up using as a first name.

I’d also like to bring up the idea of using Stone as the surname for the children, especially as you say it’s the end of the line for that branch of your family tree. I realize this is a long shot, especially with a husband who wants a III, but I think it’s good to keep in mind that this sort of thing is an option.