Naming Our 3rd Human

We are serious about names around here. Both of our big kids' names come with all sorts of built-in prayer over their identities and futures and declarations we have made about who we want them to be (I realize this might sound a little culty/commune loco--no worries. I used to be the same way until I married into this family, and was given my ration of Kool-Aid). 

We have written the stories of our processes of naming Judah David and Layla Embryand seeing them grow up and grow into themselves, we know we made the right calls (and that God gave us these names for them) because they just SO ARE Judah and Layla (even to the folks who thought these names were straight bonkers or even ugly when they first heard them).

Now we have another baby to name! And with only 6 weeks to go, we might want to speed it up.

Third time is hard. You have to make sure the name fits with the existing kids (Judah, Layla and baby Gertrude just doesn't have the cohesion we're looking for), but maybe you've already used your super-faves on your existing children. Of course since I was expecting this babe to be a boy, we had several boy names that we LOVED all ready to go, so another adjustment to the GIRL announcement was jettisoning those gems and rustling up a girl name from scratch.

It did not ease my adjustment into the pink pool when Jesse suggested (hours after finding out the gender, when I was still dealing with my weird feelings) a few names that just repelled me--not because they are ugly in and of themselves, but just because they super duper weren't my taste for a child in our family. "Neena" and "Jael" were two that literally made me cry when he texted me. I was like, "IS IT POSSIBLE YOU WANT ME TO HATE THIS CHILD!?!?! AND ISNT JAEL SUPERMAN'S DAD!?!?!" 

He took a break from suggestions at that point.

Once I was back on planet earth emotionally and appropriately excited about this little lady, we set out with a wish list of what we would ideally find in a name. The parameters were:

1. A meaning we could feel good about
2. Unique (I'm already stressed that Layla is climbing the charts!)
3. Fitting in with our Judah/Laya theme (which I guess is a tad hippie/weird, but also classic, and having an "UH" sound at the end wouldnt hurt)
4. That indefinable X factor where it just feels like "yes, that is who this baby is."

I also looooooove unusual boy-names-as-girl-names. Not so much the ones that have already been done, but more making them up myself.  One of our closest friends is named Lukas, it has a great meaning, and I would ADORE that as a girl name, but with our last name, it could never happen. "Lukas Dukas," anyone? I also do not hate Gideon as a girl's name either. Judge if you will!

So i focused on the cool/unique side of things and Jesse went deep into the meanings (remember how went into the rabbinical notes from the Talmud for Layla's!). We both have full veto power at all times.

After I found a favorite that same day, we tossed it around for awhile. Jesse loved the meaning but we hadn't had that LOCK IT IN moment yet. Oh but it came.

So we are very excited to share with our daughter's name:

pronounced just like "Noah"

The first thing we noticed the day of the ultrasound was this kid's bicycle legs! It seriously looked like she was on a recumbent bike just pedaling her little heart out!  She has only amped up that activity since then. NEITHER of my first two moved like this. It got so hilariously crazy that I actually googled "fetal seizures" because sometimes it feels like she's quite literally having a fit in there.

the pic is blurry not because the ultrasound wand was moving, but because SHE was!

So imagine my surprise when I decided I really liked this pretty little name and went to see what it meant. It means "movement/motion" in hebrew! Um, okay that will do nicely. But I don't JUST want her to be about insane, frenetic motion--we're not looking to speak a little ADHD dervish into being (though that might be on the ticket anyway thanks to my DNA). And then Jesse found out that Noa also means "love/affection" in Japanese. Oh yes...

With typical Jesse speed and brilliance (and dashing good looks), he combined these two translations into a beautiful statement of what we want our daughter to be in her life: Love in Motion.

And obviously this name slides quite nicely into the triumvirate: Judah, Layla, and Noa.

So pretty early on we knew this was our A #1 choice. But the kicker of THIS IS HER NAME didnt happen until Jesse made a really cool family connection about a month ago. One day he said, "Hey, wasnt your grandmother's name "Genoa?" And I almost started crying! My beloved grandmother, my dad's mom, (known as Mano to me) who died when I was 11, had "Noa" built right there into her name!

looks like i inherited my gift of blinking in photos from her.

And boy was Mano love in motion. She was a sassy, classy, always-on-the-go broad whose love I felt like no one else's (that look on my face above is how I ALWAYS remember feeling around her).

My most powerful memory of her is spending the night at her house when she was dying from cancer, beautiful in her headscarf, and she heard me say something about a painful plantar's wart on my foot (geez, 11-year old Keight, have some perspective about ailments and complaints!). I will never forget her kneeling at my feet to soak my hurting foot in a epsom salt bath. If that wasnt love in motion, I'm not sure what is.

Such a poignant, Christlike moment that used to make me cry with regret after she had died, thinking I had mistreated my grandmother when she was sick, but that I now know was just one instance--in a lifetime full of them--of Mano putting her heart for others into action by serving and loving them. That is a legacy I will rejoice to see carried out in my own child.

And so we had our lockdown moment. Our baby is Noa.

We are still tinkering with middle names, the frontrunner being one that Judah of all people made up out of the blue. 

We know this is an unusual name for most people (though a friend in our small group has a sweet niece named Noa who goes to our church too, so ours won't be the very first that our church people have heard this name!) And we are already chuckling through the fun awkward silences after we tell people the name and they just so don't get it (we had this a LOT with Judah, and are much less likely to break down about it now), and the people who think that because the baby isnt born yet, the name could still be changed or that we are open to suggestions. LOL big time.

She will probably have a lifetime ahead of her saying "Without the H" and hearing the word "NO" and thinking someone is calling her. Luckily, if this gets too annoying she can just remember she is "love in motion" and not "fist in motion." 


  1. Such a beautiful name, the meaning behind it is icing on the cake. I love it for a girl, and I am partial because I have my own Noah.

  2. I, too, am a massive fan of boy's names for girls. I'm going to be the mom calling out to Elliot, Jude, and Sawyer and three little redheaded girls will turn around.

    So I just want to say I LOVE Noa and I can't wait to hear the song Jesse writes for her (I hope he's writing her a song!)!

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  4. I like Noa! I've always liked Noah for a girl but i prefer your spelling.

  5. Welcome to the family, Nintendo Of America! :D

  6. Sweet name! I get the "ooohhh.....?" Even after telling them our little boy 3 is Oliver!

  7. A very pretty name!!! Also, please tell me "I also do not hate Gideon as a girl's name either. Judge if you will!" is a Bible joke. I am a sucker for a good Bible joke.

    1. ARG! i seriously wrote that and said to myself, "aw dang, if only Gideon was one of the judges, that would have been ART!" so double fail for making the correct joke without even knowing it was AND for bible knowledge failure.

  8. Love this little lass, and her name already, especially that she has part of your beloved grandmother's name in it. Family connections are awesome, and Love in Motion is incredible!

  9. I haven't followed your instagram or blog for very long but! I had to say I am so excited that your little one will be named Noa. Our second daughter is 10 months old and is a Noa. This name has been such a great introduction to talking to people about God and His Gospel. I hope the names you have given your children are a blessing for your family also!

  10. What a beautiful and meaningful perfect name! I'm such a stalker of this page when it comes to home decor and cute baby names--was not disappointed!

  11. I literally cannot stop my tears right now. That name is beautiful, just beautiful. Congratulations Dukes on a third beautiful baby.