BECOMING | Choosing Baby Names

When Timothy and I got married we talked early on about baby names and settled on a boy name pretty quickly.  Then three (yes, three!)  of our friends each had a baby boy and named him that name.  So we moved on.

Once we found out we were expecting, we surprisingly didn’t really talk about names that often.  I was afraid that we would find the “perfect” girl name and the baby would be a boy, or vice versa.  On the way home from the it’s a girl! doctor’s appointment, Timothy and I started name talking.  And talking.  And talking.

No one told me that it would be approximately a billion times more fun to talk names where there is an ACTUAL baby to name!

Surprisingly, our list of names in the running is never very long.  Well, it’s surprising to me because I’ve never been good at narrowing down favorites of anything.  And yet it’s not surprising if you have met my husband.  In a flash he can create an image of our little girl and her personality with each name we mention.  Or he can give a quick preview of every nickname the child will ever have for the rest of her life.  Ha!

afterlightTake the other night for example.  I was reading the list of top baby names and laughing at my husband until the tears were streaming.  His comebacks were so fast!  “Reese.”  “With her spoon?” –  “Hazel.” “Nut.”  – “Eden.” “Garden of.” – “Elise.” “Navidad.”

But back to the baby naming business.

For lots of reasons, we’ve decided to share the still-to-be-determined baby name once our little girl is born.  I’ve always loved the idea of waiting to see if the baby is a boy or girl until the birth, but I could never make myself wait that long.  So waiting to share her name can be a little surprise on its own.

This week, Timothy and I decided to “try out” names for our little girl.  There’s one name that I think is in the running for the top, so we’ve been privately calling her by that name and every nickname imaginable for the past few days.  It has been so much fun!  In a while, we’ll switch names and see how it feels.  This has really been helping to see if a name fits in with our little family.


So now I’m asking you all, for those of you who’ve named babies, do you have any tips and tricks for naming?  Did you do anything interesting to be on the lookout for names like watch movie credits or something?

And for everyone, what are some name ideas you have?  I’d love some input!  We kind of have a few “rules,” but we may be willing to bend them.  Our dream name would be a definite girl name – no gender neutral name or one that can be used for a boy or a girl.  We’d like it to be easily spelled and pronounced.  And any obvious nicknames that come from the name have to be favorable, because of my husband (obviously).  Take the name “Margo” for example.  It would never work because Timothy would probably at some point shorten the name to “Go” which would lead to “Go Go Gothra” and then “Go Go Gadget Gothra Girl” is as inevitable as the rising sun.

So, Go Go dear people, and let the name tips and ideas fly!

On January 22, 2015 · 27 Comments · In Lovely Life

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender reveal

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender reveal


To say we are overjoyed is an understatement.  When I’ve said that to a few people recently, they immediately ask if I was “wanting” a girl.  The answer is yes and no.  I wanted a girl.  And I wanted a boy.  Ha!  Basically, this baby is and was simply wanted and I would be overjoyed no matter if I were wearing a pink ribbon or a blue one.

Our whole family came to the appointment with us, but they weren’t all allowed in the ultrasound room.  So in the room were Timothy and I, and the two moms/grandmothers.  My sweet mom grabbed a phone and kept her thumb on the image capture button nearly the whole appointment.  We have HUNDREDS of pictures of the moment we found out our girl was a she.  What a priceless gift!

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender revealThe first moment I saw our baby girl was unreal.  At our last ultrasound, she was still so small that all we could pick out were her feet which were just wiggling away.  This time we could see in so much detail – and her feet were still wiggling away!

Almost as soon as the screen turned on, the technician pointed to the screen and said that if we wanted to know the gender now’s the time.  And then the room erupted with the news that she was a girl.

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender reveal

This was our first reaction.  I’m so glad we have a picture that captured it!  Oh, and all the weird cropping is so you don’t see the gigantic belly popping out.  No one needs to see that pale largeness!

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender revealThis picture absolutely cracks me up. Just to look at it, it looks like one of us is super happy about the news and one is super sad. But, if you know Timothy and I, you’ll know that in this picture we are both expressing the utmost joy.  Timothy in the form of a face-splitting smile and thumbs up, and me sobbing like a baby.  Yes, these are our happy faces.  Ha!

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender revealIf I ever wonder how my husband feels about me and our little family, I’m just going to go back to this picture.  I want to cry all over again.

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender reveal

We watched her for the next several minutes as the technician examined all of her little parts and organs.  Our sweet baby girl spent most of the ultrasound sitting on her bottom with her feet up by her head.  We even got to see her grab her feet with her hands and play with them!  Ah, the sheer miracle of it all.  The technician kept apologizing that she wouldn’t be able to get us a “good” picture of her profile because she was so snuggled up.  As a queen cuddler myself, I could only feel nothing but pride at the thought that my baby girl is already taking after me.

BECOMING WHITNEY |gender reveal

I wore a pink sash to announce to our waiting family that we were having a baby girl.  Aaaand there was more crying.  As we left the room, an elderly gentlemen asked if this was the first baby in the family.  Is it that obvious?

Photo-Jan-08,-8-12-13-PMTimothy had an idea that it was a girl from the beginning, but I flip flopped from boy to girl the whole time.  I could just see a baby boy AND a baby girl.  When we found out, my first thought was “what I’ve always wanted!”  Not in the sense that I preferred one gender over the other, but in the sense that this baby – this baby girl – is what I’ve hoped and prayed for.  God knew she would need us and we would need her.  Oh, my little Pumpkin Cuddle Bug Feet Wiggler Bunny Baby, I love you.  And I promise we’ll give you a legit name one of these days.

On January 12, 2015 · 11 Comments · In Lovely Life


A new year.  A fresh, freezing, freeing time to begin anew with lists and goals and hopes and resolutions.  Now is the time that most people shed off the old year like a too-small coat and look toward growing into the new one.

My mom and I were talking about resolutions a few days ago and I realized I haven’t made a single one.  I lamely said that “having a baby” was my resolution.  I mean, yes, that is magnificent and powerful and probably the single greatest thing that I’ll ever do with my body.  But, I’m pregnant.  It’s kind of inevitable that birth will happen, you know?  It’s like saying, “2015: the year I shall eat chocolate.”  No one’s surprised by my high goal setting.

I think the problem with my inability to make new year goals is that I just can’t quite let go of last year.   Not that I’m wanting to still live in 2014 and not dive right into 2015 – I think this year is going to be one of the best of my whole life.  But last year was so meaningful to me.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but so many things came together last year to culminate in a year that will forever mark me.

At a church ladies meeting recently, we were asked to quote a scripture that carried us through this past year.  We had all been trying to memorize more scriptures together, so most everyone had a scripture.  A lot of them were about the strength of God being more than enough.  Some were about the joy of the Lord coming as sure as the morning.

Immediately a verse popped into my head that I had actually memorized in 2013.  Two years ago that verse hit me square in the heart and just stayed there.

That verse was Romans 5:5. “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Two years ago, I was desperate.  Well, I could say the same for three years ago, four years, and so on.  There was a matter that I just couldn’t get the victory over.  It was a deeply personal, private thing.  It was one that I couldn’t write on the prayer card at church, or casually mention to a friend over coffee.  It was a continual hurt hidden in my heart, and I honestly could not see how God could change the situation.

Then when I joined a Bible quizzing team at church, I came across Romans 5:5.  I know I’ve read that verse before, but sometimes the Word of God is made new for just when you need it.  That verse felt like an arrow that swiftly went to my deepest hurt.  And it said hope.  Hope hope hope.

I was too tired for hope.  Mainly, I was too afraid for hope.  I had battled that situation for so long, hoped for a change for so long, that I was beginning to feel foolish.  I had reached a point that I didn’t even want to think about what life would be like without that situation.  I didn’t want to hope and then be let down again.  So I had let hardness cover over that hurt.

But this verse was saying hope maketh not ashamed.  No matter how much I hoped, no matter how much I believed in my answer, the end result would never be shame because God has poured his love over my heart.  His love was enough to cover that hurt, not the hardness and hopelessness I had been using.

After encountering that verse, I let my hope soar.  Sure, there were times that I felt defeated.  That my hopes were crushed.  But I never felt foolish again.  I never felt that same level of despair.  I could just picture God’s love covering me and being enough.  More than enough.

Then, like some prayers are answered, my situation gradually got better.  Some prayers are answered with a BANG.  You know the exact date and time that your hope was fulfilled.  But some happen gradually until you wake up one morning and realize that the problem is gone.  The pain is gone.  The situation has completely changed.  That happened for me in the summer of 2014.

And not only did God change the situation, He somehow erased the years of painful memories to which I had clung.  He healed my mourning in a way that was nothing but miraculous.

And then, God answered a completely different prayer in the fall of 2014.  Timothy and I found out we were expecting.  I had previously heard some news from a doctor that wasn’t exactly full of hope.  Timothy and I were preparing ourselves for a long road toward children.  But God had other plans and chose to bring life.  I just went to the doctor’s office this week and the doctor was marveling that (or maybe just telling me, but I was marveling, so we’ll go with that) the baby is exactly on schedule.  The baby is measuring perfectly and there are no signs right now of the problem my doctor had warned me about.  Oh, do you know how much I wanted to just get up and dance around the office?

So when I say 2014 was a meaningful year for me, that’s putting it mildly.  God answered a prayer that I had been praying for years.  And then he decided to just cap it off with another answer to prayer in the form of a baby.  Hope did not make me ashamed.  It freed me.

So if you’re still struggling with putting your dreams for this new year into words, let me just give you Romans 5:5.  Maybe your past year was so amazing and humbling that you can’t imagine what this next year will be like.  Or maybe this past year was filled with more hurt than joy.  Maybe you’ve allowed hardness to shield the hurt in your heart, and you’re afraid to hope that this year will be different.  All I can say is hope.  Hope, hope, hope.  Hoping in God is the best guarantee in life.  Because no matter what the answer is, or when the situation comes, He’ll never leave you.  His love is shed abroad in your heart.  He lives inside you.  He’ll never leave you full of shame or regret for trusting in Him.

Is there a verse that was meaningful to you last year?  Or one you’re praying and believing in for this year?  I’d love to hear. There’s something so powerful about using God’s own words to shape your year and outlook.

On January 9, 2015 · 2 Comments · In Lovely Life

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I have been scouring all of my baby apps daily for news on what this little Pumpkin is doing inside my belly.  Oh, it’s developing taste buds!  It’s the size of a lemon!  This week it can frown!  It’s the size of an avocado!  This week it’s developing fat!  So now I have this vision of this fat little baby all frowning around in there because I’ve been on a spinach smoothie kick.  And I can’t imagine that’s fun for anyone not craving a spinach smoothie.

A couple weeks ago the apps started mentioning the possibility of feeling the baby move.  Generally, first time moms don’t feel any movement until at LEAST 16 weeks, which I was on Christmas day.  So I prayed diligently for my baby to move for me on Christmas.

Later Timothy told me that it was like asking Jesus for a present on his birthday.  But, since He is already busy in there forming the little baby, I thought He could possibly throw some flutters in there along the way.  I still prayed.  And poked.  And nothing.

But today, whilst subbing for some angsty teenagers I felt the first little thing that was for sure baby and not just hopes and dreams.  I’ve read that it feels like a little butterfly wing flutter.  Or a little poke.  Or bubbles.  Mine felt like a tickle.  It caught me off guard and I reached to scratch my stretched out belly, and then it dawned on me.  Baby!  It did it a couple of times again on a much smaller scale.  But that moment?  Oh, I’ve just been dreaming about it for what seems like ages.

I almost interrupted the class to share my good news, but I saw one guy picking his nose and wiping it on his shirt.  This moment was too precious for a teenage nose-picker to partake in.

In other news, thank you to everyone who has been commenting or e-mailing with pregnancy tips and ideas.  I can’t wait to  comment/e-mail back, now that I’m rocking the energy of the second trimester that is.  (The second trimester splendor is not a sham!  It’s real!!!)  And a special thank you to my sweet friend who texted me about her birth and let me ask her every single private question I wanted.  Pregnancy kind of pushes away all kinds of boundaries I’m finding out.

And, in case you tire of baby-related posts, some day I will be posting on something else besides the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me.  But that day is not today.  Mwahahaha.

But seriously, come back Friday for a non-baby gush fest.  It’s happening.

On January 6, 2015 · 8 Comments · In Lovely Life

Excuse me while I crawl out of the pits of despair and wave hello to this nice little neglected space of the Internet.


Well, I’m not literally in the pits of despair.  And I know what you’re thinking.  No one wants to hear your complaining … take it to Facebook where it will be welcomed amongst the shared recipes, weird article links, passive aggressive statuses, and general loveliness.

Photo Nov 28, 6 41 11 PM

According to the maternity store, this is what I’ll look like in three (?!) to five months.  I mean, that’s impressive.

Pregnancy is a wonderful, glorious, and delightful thing.  I’ve loved every minute of it.  Even the puking and the aching and the vein bursting from all the blood drawing.  This baby is so loved and wanted, and that thought helps keep the first trimester yuck in perspective.   But for weeks I’ve been longingly staring at this particular week on the calendar as my reward for the first trimester yuck.  The second trimester.  Past pregnant women speak of this glorious time as if it’s dripping in glitter and fairy dust.  Apparently you get your old self back and are no longer bffs with Saltines.

Well, I think I had about one day of this splendor and then sickness hit.  Like some sort of cold or flu?  And being sick while pregnant has moved its way onto my five-most-hated-things-of-all-time list.  It’s quite at home with others such as the phrase “long hair don’t care” and insurance.  It kept me in bed for nearly a week, and then I crawled out  for a doctor’s appointment.  I thought I was on the mend, and then combined with the bliss and sheer joy of hearing our little baby’s heartbeat again, I was ready to conquer the world.  I even bragged about it on Instagram.

I get home that day and Timothy is sick.  I’m sure he is so glad I shared.  I spent one day taking care of him and then BLAM.  I’m sick again??!!  What is that?  It’s like this bug said, nope, not finished with you yet!

At least I got our tree halfway put up.  A half of a tree is better than no tree, right?

So the Gothras have gone through three bags of cough drops, an absurd amount of tissues, and lots of orange juice.  And this pregnant woman has done more than a small amount of side-eye at her non-pregnant husband who can take the GOOD MEDS.  And when said husband threw up for the first time in this sickness and came to me expecting some sympathy, I *think* I was able to muster up some.  Ha!

So to the ladies out there, I’d love to hear tales of your second trimester magical rainbow unicorn time.  Also, when does this whole “nesting” thing start?  And does it make you actually want to clean?  Because that would be awesome.

On December 5, 2014 · 12 Comments · In Lovely Life