Naming Boheme & Reverie

Bo in stars, Rev in spots
The names. THE NAMES! The names. I've been meaning to write about Bo & Rev's names for some time but felt daunted by the task. It took me three months after Fable's birth to finally explain blog about her name for the same reason I've been putting off this post: I feel like I spend half my day explaining to strangers what and who and how and why we chose their names. As previously mentioned, Boheme and Reverie's names were the only names Hal and I agreed on after sorting through many, many (manymanymany) options. Here is what they mean and how we came to them.

Reverie: (n) daydream
Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Reverie: It all started with a song. And a painting. But first, there was a song.

Reverie by: Claude Debussy is Hal's favorite song and when we first got together he would play it for me on the piano. (Aw.) It was also the last song on the first mix tape he ever made for me and became in a way, "ours". So? When after three months of dating Hal, I painted him a painting as an "I love you" gift I included the first three scales of the song and wrote out its name in a cloud above "our" heads. I was pregnant at the time but didn't know it yet and wouldn't for another two weeks.
True, it's incredibly cheesy and "painter" I am not, but it was meaningful at the time and was made a thousand times more meaningful when I found out I was pregnant. It was one of the many signs that pointed to "keep this pregnancy, kids." I mean, Jeez Louise! I painted a picture of "Hal" coming out of my belly days after conceiving Archer. Clearly my subconscious inner-wannabee-artist was looking to make some babies at some point. And no I can't explain why Hal looks like an understudy for Blue Man Group. That was just me trying to be artist-y. (ED: Perhaps Archer gets some of his pregnancy premonition from me? Maybe?)
Anyway. After the fog of "wtf" wore off, Hal and I agreed that if we were pregnant with a girl, we would give her the middle name "Reverie". After the song. And the meaning. And the painting. But we weren't pregnant with a girl. We were pregnant with Archer, our incredibly perfect son.

When Hal recommended we name one of the twins Reverie it made sense in a full-circle kind of way. (See also: Revere as one of our boy names). Much like Archer was our surprise, so would be Reverie... theoretically unplanned as wonderful usually is. (We knew we wanted a third someday but never thought in a million years we'd have a fourth.)
We decided that "Reverie" would be our last born, our "Twin B". UNLESS, when we met the babies we thought otherwise. That, of course, was not the case. When we first saw the girls, Reverie was clearly Reverie and Boheme was clearly Boheme. Reverie even looked like Archer with his same curious, wide-eyed way. (The other day Archer explained to me that "Reverie talks to him with her eyes." I think I know what he means.)
Reverie is our zen baby. She is exactly as ner name suggests, wide-eyed and dreamy, her face full of light. She is as easy as they come. Serene and quiet, delicate - like the Debussy song she was named after. A dream. I don't even believe she's real half the time. She's more doll than human, blinking away in her bouncy chair, happily alive.

...Which brings me to Boheme (Bo-Em):
Boheme: (re: Bohemian) Gypsy; a person, as an artist or writer who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.

Just as Reverie had meaning to us for sentimental reasons, Boheme was a name decided well before I ever got pregnant. It was the first of the two names we set in stone. It was an idea I pulled from the sky after toying with the name "Gypsy"... A bit much and on the nose but the sentiment interested me. That and my Hungarian great-grandmother Frances whose parents were gypsies and who always fascinated me. When I read the following passage by Gelett Burgess, I was sold. If I ever had another daughter, I thought, I wanted to name her Boheme.
"To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind... It is a light and graceful philosophy, but it is the Gospel of the Moment... What, then, is it that makes this mystical empire of Bohemia unique, and what is the charm of its mental fairyland? It is this: there are no roads in all Bohemia! One must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life!"

- Gelett Burgess
Where Reverie is our sweet solo-melody, Bo is our OPERA! She is strong and mighty and ROARS! She ARRIVES, our feisty little fire-cracker. Loving and attached, she is, with eyes that connect and refuse to let go. She is more intense than any child I've ever met. She is dramatic! (And perhaps a little colicky.) Intense and beautiful and strong! As demanding as her sister is acquiescent. Even now as I type this post with my right hand I'm rocking a (finally!) sleeping Bo in my left, her little hand clinging to my ponytail.
People tend to think we named her after Puccini's La Bohème which isn't the case. But it is a lovely opera and I love that their musical associations unite them in a way.

We chose Shalom (Peace, completeness) and Lux (light, unit of illumination) as middle names because "peace & light" are partners. Because Shalom is the soft to Boheme's strength and Lux the strength to Reverie's soft. Archer and Fable's names also balance strength with softness. Archer and Sage, Fable and Luella (Luella means "girl warrior"). Archer and Bo share middle initial, "S" and Reverie and Fable share an "L".

Boheme can go by Bo or Em or Bowie for short. (I recently started calling her "Boa" based on her ability to constrict my finger every time I hold her.) Reverie can go by Rev(e) or Revi, Eve, Rie, and Evie. I actually planned on calling Reverie "Eve" for short until I saw her and thought, "Rev". Such a reve.
"Bo Rev" (Beaux Rêves, a la Fais de Beaux Rêves) means "sweet dreams" in French, something we put together long after their names had already been selected. A sign, we thought that their names belonged to them and that they belonged to each other. Sweet + Dream =
Much like with Archer and Fable, we chose our babies' names after things that bring us joy, people that inspire us, words that hold sentimental value, literary references, moments in time, philosophies, ideas. Our hope is that our children will grow to love their names as much as we do, that their monikers will suit their spirits or at the very least, support them in their quest to dream fully and live freely, with peace in their hearts and light in their pockets, amen.



Maria P | 1:04 AM

Oh! Love the names! Bohemia and Ensueño ;)
A Spanish girl following you from Shanghai!

Anonymous | 1:21 AM

This comment is from an Irish girl following you from Spain :)

Beautiful names, beautiful meanings, beautiful kids!
Lovely to see how much thought and creativity you put into your children's names...:)

Abi | 1:24 AM

Love their names!

The matchy-matchy poses are killing me with their cuteness!

BTW, I love your post about #zombiemoms. Thank you. I very much needed that to get through the past few days.

Brooke - Little Miss Moi | 1:32 AM

Rebecca, you weave the most wonderful, ethereal tales, even when the tale = true life.

They're just beautiful.

Glenda | 1:41 AM

Love, love this post. Beautiful x2girls and names... meaning...thought and creativity!

I think Bo resembles Fable (the 2 in the middle) and Rev resembles Archer. Definitely a full circle!

Beautiful family!

Tove | 1:45 AM

Wow, so much thought!
I love the Reverie painting, and I can imagine she will think it's so awesome when she grows up that you had a painting with her name on it several years before she was born!

Abby@AppMtn | 2:57 AM

Such rich stories - it is as if those are the only names your daughters could ever have possibly been!

June | 3:16 AM

Wow. I had a sense that your detailing of your daughter's name choices would be intriguing, but I am blown away. You and your husband are such reflective, thoughtful people and parents. What lucky, lucky (and beautiful) children.

Anonymous | 4:50 AM

What beautiful meanings behind the names. The depth of your story resonated with me- partially because I'm pregs and hormonal, but also because it's wonderful beginnings for your perfect babies.

Alaythea | 4:50 AM

I absolutely love names that have so much meaning and thought behind them! Not to mention they are such gorgeous names. My husband and I don't know if (or when) we'll have another child but it's funny because I recently decided I loved the name Reverie and I had never heard anyone with that name....then I found your blog! So I'll put that name on the shelf but I absolutely love it!

Beth Anne | 5:18 AM

love love love, all the way down to my toes.

Arnebya | 5:57 AM

Finally! And thank you; I've been waiting patiently (w/many others, I'm sure) to get the background on their names. All I can say is wow. The explanation gives the names whole new meaning. (And I actually like the quirky painting!)

Anonymous | 5:58 AM

beautiful names.......

I looked back upon your "manymany" names list and noticed you had Phoenix on your list of likes.

My 5.5 year old son is Phoenix Eric and 17 month old is daughter is Zara Josephine (middle names are family names). Oddly enough if we ever had another boy he would be Beau Harrison I always loved Beau for boy or girl but was not brave enough to use it on a girl. Boheme is stunning.

Another on my list for boys is Asher, similar to Archer but becoming increasingly popular.

I LOVE NAMES! I could not resist telling you about my little cats.

All the best momma

Shelley Senai | 6:04 AM

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. You guys WIN at naming babies.

doahleigh | 6:08 AM

Love the names, and love the meaning behind them, the stories. They - the names and the babies - are just perfect.

bbgHappY1 | 6:17 AM

It is a great story to share with them when they get older.

I can honestly say your blogs never disappoint.

meekasmommy | 6:24 AM

Love the names and meanings! Your children are going to love coming back to this (these) posts some day :)

Robyn | 6:39 AM

Perfect. Love.

Sarah (mrsgryphon) | 7:13 AM

Such thoughtful consideration and such beautiful sentiments (although I expected nothing less!). Amazing how well they seem to suit their personalities already! They will treasure this post as they grow up and realize the love and family history that went into their naming.

Also - Bo Rev (beaux reves) just makes me swoon with perfection - Love it!!

Anonymous | 7:17 AM

Ohhhh, Rebecca. Be still my aching heart.

kittenpie | 7:33 AM

I love how you think of names, how you put so much meaning and thought into them. You always end up with things that are beautiful and unique, without being ridiculous. >love<

I'm stuck with someone who like traditional names, so for us, it's all about compromise.

nicole | 7:42 AM

Wow... this is even more beautiful than I could've imagined. I, too, hope they grow to appreciate the sentiment in their names; names that you and Hal bestowed on them, because their names are true gifts! xo.

Just Keri | 7:45 AM

This is awesome! You have beautiful children with amazing names. Wow.

Rhonda | 7:50 AM much deeper then I expected!! I love their names and their nicknames. Beautiful Girls Indeed!

Expat Mom | 8:12 AM

I think their names are so perfect for them, just like Archer and Fable's. We have a lot of issues with choosing names for our kids. I have lots that I love, my husband is SUPER picky. We had finally settled on a name and then it got all mixed up so we're back to square one. Well, not quite, since we have a middle name. :D

~Kristina | 8:16 AM

You move me.
I am one for the story've floored me with this one.

Archer | 8:18 AM

Dang! What great names! Perfection.
I have an Archer. We call him Archie.

eponymia | 8:20 AM

I love name stories -- great job naming your girls. Taking into account meaning, balance, kismet and personality -- you couldn't have gone wrong.

AliB | 8:24 AM

So I've decided to never have children... I just can't compete... this is too good of a story and I'll try to recreate and will fail terribly and curse my children with horrid names that will be the bane of their existence for their entire lives. SO I'll stick to dogs and cats and birds.

Clandestine Road | 9:00 AM

I love these names so much and I love the thought and love you and Hal put into them. Those quotes were so touching.

You are a gifted photographer.

Anonymous | 9:00 AM

Man, oh man! I knew this would be one super awesome story--all names should have such stories!

Truly beautiful, Rebecca, just like these babes. Such balance and symmetry and meaning and awesome loveliness!!

We're big fans of Debussy here, too, and especially of that song! (Claude is a favorite name of mine, as well, simply for it's likeness to 'Cloud'.)

May your sweet girls hang on to that dreaminess and bold individuality--can't think of any better gifts to bestow upon human beings!


Alex | 9:02 AM

The story of their names is as beautiful as the names themselves.

Christine | 9:22 AM

I really enjoyed reading this! I am fascinated with names and naming people, you did a very good job of explaining the reasons and the "rhymes."
Plus you and Hal make cute kids. haha :D

Jess | 9:31 AM

very interesting story on naming. we're trying to decide on a name right now (without knowing the sex first) and it's SO hard. i want to really love the name and for it to have some meaning to us; but of course, i want our child to love it someday too.

Bless with a Boy | 9:43 AM

I always enjoy reading how you and Hal came up with each childs name. They are unique. Just like your family. Love your family!

Beautiful names for beautiful kids.

Anonymous | 9:43 AM

My first comment on your blog :) I am a passionate name lover and your children's names are an absolute revelation!!! I love them all - they sound wonderful and they are incredibly meaningful. Like you, I strongly associated with bohemianism...I actually started a name blog very recently and decided to call it Boheminames because the names that I love "choose their own path" - unconventional, maybe idealistic, inspired by art and literature and some romance. Needless to say, this was the name nerd within me's favorite post of yours...ever :) Congratulations on your beautiful and beautifully named little ones. And do check out my name blog - the first post is tree names, and my next few will be about literary-inspired names (think Kerouac, Salinger, etc etc!)


I have shivers!

~ Noelle

clueless but hopeful mama | 10:06 AM

What a gift to your daughters this is! Not only the post, but the thoughtfulness with which you chose their names. So full of meaning and depth and love.

Thank you for sharing!

erniebufflo | 10:36 AM

Love it. You should contract yourself out as a baby name guru. Wanna help me name my twins?

Especially love the Debussy reference. My hubby is a talented pianist and I love for him to play me Debussy. Clare de Lune is also a favorite.

Angela YBlood | 10:40 AM

Truly love everything about this. Your babies, their names and your words are beautiful.

Amy Jacobs | 10:41 AM

Love that!!!

Ambrosia | 11:11 AM

Such beautiful stories behind these names! I feel a little lame now choosing my in-utero kid's name... but I know it will fit her perfectly. :)

By the way, I checked out the blog with the list of names you had previously mused over. You had commented on difficulty of a nickname for the name Autumn. Well, fear not - my cousin's name is Autumn and we call her Autty. It's cute with her being two, but we'll see if that changes over time.

Home Sweet Sarah | 11:44 AM

I love it when people put as much thought and care into naming their children as I did. Not that traditional names aren't great, too, but I love a good name story!

Anyway, beautiful names, beautiful little lady babies :-)

Unknown | 12:02 PM

I absolutely love the names...and it's nice to hear the story behind them. I'm a little partial to Reverie...of course.

Molly | 12:04 PM

I love the story of their names, especially of the way that you decided Reverie would be the last one who would bring the family full circle back to the beginning. They *do* seem to look like their names, especially with the Boheme's cheeks which very much make her a kind of Dionysian figure relative to Reverie. I have a question though about naming twins with words with such different connotations. I'd imagine that just to give them room to grow, I'd try to look for the ways in which Bo might be calm and thoughtful, and Rev might be impulsive and loud--so that they know that their names don't "name" their personalities. I know you're determined to let them "make their own path," but I was wondering if you thought about the difficulty of finding complementary names that go together (as these do) without predetermining that they'll have complementary personalities.

Moe | 12:29 PM

Ahh...adore those names!

MamaG | 12:36 PM

I love all of your unique names, Rebecca, and the wonderful stories behind them...awesome. Give their grandma a big, big hug from Sienna's gramma...please. (Andrea and I love reading GGC.)

Lainey | 3:03 PM

Such a fantastic telling of something so beautiful and close to your little fam. You had me in happy beautiful tears. Thank you for making my Friday morning magical

Cally | 5:10 PM

I love the stories behind all of your children's names. I love that you name them with such purpose. My mother heard my name on on a soap opera. Nothing behind that. :)

LuLu | 5:12 PM

I was wondering what the twins names would have been if they were boys? I remember you mentioning you would share once the babies were born and am very curious!


@ LuLu - I posted about that here, actually:

If they were boys they would gave been Vox Shepherd and Revere Blaze. Revere Blaze and Reverie Lux are pretty much the male/female equivalent of each other and Vox, like Boheme was the first name we mutually loved. It means "Voice" in Latin and Vox Shepherd means "The voice that guides"..

xoxoxo to all of you for your kind words!

Anonymous | 5:41 PM

I like that you don't just pick unusual names for the sake of picking an unusual name. There is thought behind each one.

Anonymous | 6:30 PM

LOVE the names and the name stories, they are just plain awesome! I was looking back through some older posts and came across this one, "Gratuitous Face", posted Tuesday, November 25, 2008. It's crazy how much Bo and Fable look alike!!! (And of course Rev and Archer.)

Shannon Locker | 6:57 PM

What great names and thoughtful meanings behind them. I also love a name that has many nickname options (like your sweet twins.) My daughter's name is Evan but she started calling herself Evie (as in Ev-EE-just like would be nickname for Reverie).

Roksalanna | 7:07 PM

Rebecca I absolutely love your and Hal's choice of names Boheme Shalom and Reverie Lux.
It's so great to read this and all the layers of special meaning that they hold for you as a couple.
I think they are perfect on every level.
It's nice the way Boheme's middle name Shalom contains Hal's name.
I like the way your name Rebecca and Reverie are similar in that they both have the Re beginning and the Re-e pattern.
Archer, Fable, Boheme and Reverie go beautifully together!

Noelle Spooner | 7:34 PM

Beautiful names for beautiful babies.

Anonymous | 8:26 PM

i LOVE this... and your children are BEAUTIFUL. MY GOSH, so adorable.

Anonymous | 8:50 PM

So much better than my guess of Beans and Rice!

Sarah @ | 11:02 PM

^^^^ BWAHAHAHAHA! That comment really made me laugh.

I love the thought you put into naming your beautiful girls =)

Anonymous | 1:05 AM

I love your names. I will state that first. But I wonder, when you use meaningful names such as these, how they might assert your own dreams and desires on little ones who have yet to formulate them for themselves. Yes, your children and their names are beautiful and delightful, but I do hope you tread lightly, which I am sure you will, when it comes to the development of their personalities. I would hate for them to feel that they must live up to their names. This is not a criticism, but food for thought. I love reading your blog and reading about your life.

Bekka Ross Russell | 2:27 AM

So gorgeous, mama - and the girls (and all your kids!) are so lucky to have this record of how much you love them to read when they're older.

Anonymous | 3:13 AM

What's as exquisite as the children's names (all four) is how you express the reasons/thinking behind the choices, and that one day they'll be able to read this (as well as be told) and know forever the love and thought and meaning that went into the choices.

My God you guys are cool. All six of you!

Thank you so much for sharing all you do. What a gorgeous, awesome family (including WWW, Larry, Nana, et al!).


Palaeontologist Mum with Babies | 3:40 AM

I love your words, making me cry as I lie in bed half way around the world with laryngitis creeping down my throat. Anyway so much meanings. I love the photos of Reverie, she is gorgeous and very strong eyes, as if she has been here before, an old old soul. Boheme in the photos looks like the opposite that you describe here, very relaxed and like a lazy sleepy cat.
I also just had a thought when you mentioned your gypsy hungarian blood that it seems you and your husband have also a bond from a long time past.
I have russian jewish blood and sometimes i get very amazed by the things my 4 year old son says as if he has been here before. take care and enjoy your precious bunch.

RSilvies | 4:32 AM

I wish there was a way to hire you to get into my head and pull out something equally unique, beautiful, and sentimental for my babe due in a few weeks. Names are so important! You did a lovely job. Now just send people to this link when they are inquisitive and you are tired of explaining! Gorgeous family!

Anonymous | 5:11 AM

Love the names, and love the meaning behind it all. You are so talented with words, and told this all beautifully.

Caitlin | 5:16 AM

ah, tears. in total collapsed tears reading this. what lovely children, what thoughtful and loving parents.

Confetti Prints | 5:51 AM

Great names! I love the fact that you put so much thought into it. Unfortunately not everyone does.

Anonymous | 9:07 AM

My grandmother was raised in Georgia. Growing up, she had a nurse named Urea. The lady's mother worked for a doctor and heard a lot of medical terms. She liked the sound of Urea. I'm not sure if she knew what it meant. My guess would be no.

Unknown | 11:29 AM

I love when there is a story behind a name! And here we got two beautifully written stories about two unique names - loved this post! Congratulations on your gorgeous new additons.

Shreya | 12:19 PM

What absolutely beautiful names (all four of your children). I love when a name is so thoughtful and has a story behind it :)

Anonymous | 2:48 PM

Beautiful names for beautiful babies!! I love how unique and meaningful they are.

Liz | 5:33 PM

You know, I have to admit that I didn't quite love those names... until reading this. It makes perfect sense now. I love, love, love the amount of thought and, well, love that you put into Bo's and Rev's names. It'll be interesting to see how much more they continue to fit their names' meanings as they grow.

Liz | 5:39 PM

PS: I really like that painting. I like the colors and the style. You should put paintings on Etsy!

Unknown | 6:34 PM

Of all the mom bloggers I read, you are the most brilliant writer, and clearly gifted. Reverie is my favorite song, too. Rebecca, you constantly amaze me by your spirituality without religion, your love for your family and your resistance to the world's expectations.

You rock, in a beautiful, unique way.



Unknown | 6:36 PM

PS- Don't sell the painting. I am attached to it. You have inadvertantly (or purposely?) had it in so many pictures. That painting belongs to you and you to it. It wanted to be painted and must stay with you and yours always.

lacey | 9:12 PM

Maybe Hal was blue because you were subconsciously recalling paintings of Krishna?

Ray | 1:05 AM

Wow. So much thought process went into the girls' names. I especially love how you came up with Reverie's name. I don't know anyone who went into such deep thought for a name, but I'm glad you guys did.

May Boheme and Reverie be blessed forever. <3<3

Anonymous | 2:40 PM

Just watched your video about having a large family. We had 5 children in 6 years, and when I would get the question of why? I came back with, "we didn't want 6.

jessica | 3:19 PM

oh man what ugly babies.

jessica | 3:24 PM

hahahahahahahahaha!!! oh my god I'm kidding!!!!!!! your babies are GORGEOUS and i just wanted to say something no one has said before!!!!! hahahahaha i crack myself up!
my own children looked more like Bo with the chubby faces- there is something about that Rev though. My 16 yr old daughter and I read your blog together (GGC-bringing families together) and she wants Bo and I want Rev. We argue and say things like, "but look at those EYES!" ..."but look at those CHEEKS!!"

Anonymous | 5:56 PM

arLove the story behind the gorgeous names (and painting)! The babies are getting more and more beautiful by the day. I wonder if Bo has (silent) reflux? V. common, esp. among babies born early b/c their esophagus isn't fully developed yet. Once we got my baby on Zantac, she changed within a few days from a very intense, high-needs (and high work) baby to a little Rev - chill and happy. Anyway, all of your children are beyond precious.

E | 12:51 PM

Rebecca, your children are stunning, and I love your pictures. Thank you for explaining why you & Hal chose the names you did. What a powerful gift to give your children.

Anonymous | 6:07 AM

It is a decade in the future and your kids have friends over. In the midst of playing, the bizarre painting is noticed.
Friend 1: Oh my god! What IS that?
Friend 2: She's naked, with a blue deformed man coming out of her stomach.
Friends 1-4, in unison: Ewwww! That's sick! Where did your mom get that? It's nasty.
Friend 1: I don't think I'm allowed to play here anymore.

Anonymous | 10:15 AM

Thanks for sharing all of that.
I think it is totally cool.


Victoria Strong | 10:55 AM

That is the most beautiful "Why you picked a name" explanation i've ever heard.

Kate | 9:10 PM

I loved this so much, you inspired me to write my own...

Anonymous | 7:44 AM

I think "Ree" would be a much cuter nickname than "Rev."

oh, jenny mae | 4:05 PM

you are so very thoughtful in all you do. i love the names

Living on Love | 9:56 AM

Love this! Working on a post about baby names myself! :)


Jessie | 7:40 AM

I just stumbled across your blog and you come to your children's names just as I come to mine. Meaningful and beautiful to you. Your children are beautiful, their names are beautiful. What a gorgeous family. CUTE CUTE CUTE

Amber | 7:01 AM

I love your children's names!! They are wonderfully orginal and beautiful. I just smile when people give me that questioning look about my own children's names after I've had to repeat them about 30 times.

My precious girls are name Auburn Lynn and Aspen Grace. I also intend to have four, but it's pretty common where I live. My next two will be named Sterling Faith and Baylor (undecided until gender determination is made).

I think original names are awesome!

Gem | 3:28 AM

I love how you have chosen your names for your children. I'm new to your blog and think you're an amazing writer, you come across as normal person (by which I mean I can relate), who isn't insanely together or sterile or too safe. I have twin girls too, they're toddlers now. Very glad I have only just stumbled on to your blog, as I have soooo much catching up to do... can't wait!