When I was a little girl I met a beautiful dark haired baby named Rayleen and they called her Ray. I thought it was so cool that she had a boys nickname! Here she was this dainty little thang with such a twist for a nickname. This began my obsession with boy names for girls; Toni, Stevie, Bobbi, etc.
When Jack and I first got pregnant back in 2008, Rayleen, Raylin, Raylee was on our list of names (not because we were in love with those names but mostly because we both wanted to call her Ray). He too liked the boy nickname for girls. Then Ray moved to the potential middle names list. Then we buried it along with our dreams of having a baby girl.
Nine years later when it was miraculously time to actually name our baby girl, we couldn't agree on anything. All the names we used to like, didn't fancy us any longer. Its harder to pick a name nowadays with social media all around us, because you see the same names over and over, that they seem to be overly used. Its not like we are ever going to meet all those people on instagram, but no one wants their child to be the 5th Jane Doe in her class. I loved all the short bohemian/hippie names or the super long fancy names and the hubs liked... well he didn't seem to like anything!
We agreed that we both wanted something short to go with her brothers Jack and Maxx and something that no one else had in our circle of family, friends, coworkers, associates, or acquaintances. So when he asked me if we're still using Ray for a middle name, I threw out that we could make it her first name? I honestly didn't think he would say yes, just like when I suggested the name Maxx, I was totally shocked that he actually liked it! He surprises me at times. He was SOLD! Ray it was, the only name we could agree on. Ray, just short and sweet Ray. Like our "Ray of sunshine", or "Sweet Baby Ray" (bbq sauce).
Yayyyy we had a first name. Yes I know Ray isn't some super unique name, its very common as middle names or nicknames, but I have never met a girl with just the name Ray for her first name. Odds are there won't be another Ray in her class, so that was good enough for me. I liked Rae for the spelling but he liked the traditional spelling Ray, so I let him win that round -relationship tip#1: its all about compromising. Plus I had a middle name in mind that I was going to need to sell him on -relationship tip#2: think ahead and know when to choose your battles lol!
Her middle name... Around 5 years ago we were having a family meal at Buca Di Beppo and my older brother pointed out a photo of the beautiful Italian old time actress Sophia Loren. He was shocked that I didn't know of her since I used to be obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and they were from the same era. I had no clue who this beauty was but I FELL DEEP IN LOVE WITH HER NAME!!! It sounded so fancy, feminine and different! It rolled off your tongue. I had never heard Loren pronounced like that! I knew I had to add it to my list of baby names. Then a few years later I watched Star Wars with Kylo Ren (which is pronounce the same way, lo-Ren)! Ps. No we didn't find the name Ray off of the star wars movie Rey. That was totally coincidental, but imagine if Rey and Kylo Ren had a baby, she'd be Ray Loren! Hahah you would think we were big star wars fans, but the hubs has never seen a movie! Yes he lives under a rock!
So I knew I wanted Loren for her middle name because I liked how it sounded with Ray and I felt that it softened her first name up a bit. Now how to convince the hubs. Luckily it wasn't as hard as I thought, he actually liked the way the names sounded together but wasn't big on the spelling. So I played with it... Lorén, Loryn, LoRen Lorynn, anything to get him on board. We had liked Ray Loryn because the way it looked with two y's, but after many of our family and friends pronouncing it wrong we realized that it didn't matter how it was spelled people are going to mess it up anyway! So we decided to spell it the way we originally saw it, Loren! So that at least the people who know of this actress will catch our drift!
I know her name isn't for everyone, trust me, we've heard it all...
- Why don't you spell it Rae since it's a girl?
Because the hubs wanted it Ray and I didn't mind.
- You know Ray is for a boy?
Yes, we know.
- You've waited so long for a girl and you're going to give her a boys name?
Yes, we like boy names for girls.
- You should spell Loren like Lauren, thats more feminine and people wouldn't mess it up as much!
But Lauren is not the way we want it pronounced. Its Lo-Ren. Lol! Forget about it, just call her
- What about Lauren Ray?
- Ohhh its like Ralph Lauren!
Not at all. lol!
- I like it better this way, or that.
But we LOVE it and we cannot wait to meet our little lady Ray in a few more weeks!
I'M JANELLE MARINA
Wife, Mama Shark, + Photographer.
Most days, you'll find me in mismatched socks and a top knot, working behind my computer with a smile on my face, listening to Zac Brown Band and R&B
--or, dancing in the kitchen with my 3 littles and hunka husband, seeing who could come up with the coolest dance moves. I'm a wedding photographer, West Elm lover, aspiring advocate for our buddies with special needs, and a Certified Dreamer since 1986. We live in a cozy city in Southern California and are always up for a good adventure. I enjoy telling stories with my camera, grubbing on spicy food, and solving the latest Dateline case.