It's no secret that the thing we do the worst as parents is come up with names for our newborns in a timely fashion. This latest attempt was no different. Carrie and I wrestled with the names (Carrie knows illegal ninja moves from the government, though, so the wrestling was hard for me) for quite some time. She even acquired a baby name book from the hospital (Clotilde? Really?) for inspiration. In the end, we decided on Maren Elise for our little one. I chose Maren, and I think Carrie likes Elise. She did come up with it.
Here's why I came up with Maren. The name is in our family from the Danish side through my mother. I had originally suggested Maren Marie, as I believe that is on both mine and Carrie's sides, but Marie was shot down...which is certainly fine with me. Pretty common (Mary), too. Anyway, Maren Marie Henriksen (Denmark) was by great-great grandmother, and Elise Pedersen (Sweden) married my great-great-grandfather Jens Christian Sorensen, who was widowed with three children (my great-grandmother among them) in 1880 and raised them plus the six other children born to her with Jens.
Additionally, in December of 1995, I had dinner with Andrea and Maren Gibb in Montclair, CA. A pretty average dinner at Olive Garden--I had known the Gibbs as I volunteered for the Upland Stake Creche Festival, and they were involved in the execution of the event somehow. Anyway, they must've noticed something in me and over dinner mentioned that they had a friend who was also a teacher (true), also spoke Spanish (true), and was also very funny (very true), so therefore we "should get together and go out." So Maren and her mother are the reason why I have such an incredible wife and an awesome life.
I can't think of a better tribute than that. We mix family and friends with one name. I really do have a great life!