The Meaning Behind the Names

When my husband and I were dating he made me a mixed CD (note: not a mixed tape…we only did that in high school). It contained the modern version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel. That song started showing up everywhere we went. A stranger in Albuquerque, New Mexico approached us at an outdoor café and began serenading us with this song on violin. The first movie we went to was 50 First Dates which featured this song. It was the song we played at our wedding when our attendants walked down the aisle. We dubbed it “our song.”

The stranger serenading us with “our song” of Somewhere Over the Rainbow

When it came time to name our first born daughter I was perusing a baby name book and came upon the name Iris. Iris was the Greek goddess of rainbows. She filled the clouds with water when they were depleted. We instantly knew we had to name our daughter this. Before our daughter Iris ever knew what her name meant she was fascinated with rainbows and still is to this day. Her birthday happened to land right when the flower irises are blooming so in the hospital where I delivered Iris, my sister sent up a huge bouquet. We have planted many irises in our yard, so during her birthday month our gardens are filled with irises. We have since told Iris what her name means and she has told many people that she is a goddess of rainbows. I think she is too because she fills our life with a spectacular beauty every day, that until she came I had only ever seen in a rainbow!

Iris right after she was born in front of her bouquet of irises

Iris on her 5th beauty in awe of the beauty of the irises

When we were expecting our second child and first son we found out my due date was to be on my husband’s, deceased father’s birthday. He had been a very important man in their family and is dearly missed by everyone. I never had the chance to meet him but my husband assures me that I would have loved him. Even though our son didn’t end up being born on his grandfather’s birthday it was already a firm decision that he would be handed down his grandpa’s name of Bency and carry my father’s name as his middle name. Our Bency even carries a second middle name of Harper. We weren’t sure if we were going to have more children and both my husband and I are huge Ben Harper fans (musician) and our whole wedding theme was based off his song, Fire and Ice, so we added Harper as well to his name. My husband comes from a large family and one of his brothers is also named Bency, as well as 2 or 3 other grandchildren carry this name as either their first or middle name. This makes for a lot of Bency’s in this family now and the funny thing is….my father-in-law wasn’t actually born with the name Bency! My mother-in-law can’t remember his real name but it started with Ben but was much longer. He had always gone by the name of Bency and so as a young adult, he had it legally changed! I am beginning to see the resemblance between my son and his grandfather.

Our 5 year old Bency

Grandpa Bency on his wedding day

When we got pregnant with our third child and second son the naming thing got very difficult. We had used up all of our historically, meaningful names and began flipping through the baby name book to see if anything conjured up the same kind of feeling of “this is IT!” Nothing did. Unlike our other two children who had their names in place pretty much two days after the pink line showed up on the pregnancy test, our third child was left nameless for months and months.

During my pregnancy with my third child, we had a dog. The dog was neurotic and psychotic. We got him as a puppy a month before I found out I was expecting. He was strangely attached to me and only me. He couldn’t bear the thought of me being out of his sight. If I dared leave the house to go grocery shopping I would come home to the house torn apart. He didn’t want other people by me and would growl and bear his teeth at anyone who got too close to me. Due to his strange behavior I found myself watching hours upon hours of The Dog Whisperer. This show presented some of the worst behaving dogs and a man would show the proper way to end these bad behaviors. The man who had a way with dogs and could tame the unruliest of canines was named Cesar Millan. I liked Cesar. He seemed like a very nice man and certainly had a talent I was lacking and had never seen. I asked my husband, Alex, one day if he liked the name Cesar. He said he did. I asked him if he wanted to name our son this. He said he did. That was that. I looked up the meaning of this name and it meant “full head of hair.” I felt this to be perfect because both of my other kids were born with…full heads of hair…so I was very sure this would be the case with our third. IT WASN’T! My Cesar was bald until he was almost 18 months old. However, our son has lived up to his name in a different way. Even though we chose the Spanish spelling due to his Hispanic heritage he has come to imitate Julius Caesar. He has the power in our household. He is the leader of our alliance of 5. We all bow down to him and say “Hail Cesar” as we scramble to meet his demands of more cookies!!

Our leader Cesar!


I ate a Caesar salad for my first meal after his birth!

30 responses

  1. I love the backstory to how you decided on a name your third baby. Strange irony though that Cesar didn’t have a full head of hair. Still, like you said, he has lived up to his name in other ways. Sounds like your little Cesar rules the roost! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  2. I wonder if your Cesar could could come whisper to our dog Mango that he shouldn’t try to bite Sam’s girlfriend, Crystina, everytime she comes over. Perhaps, Mango is trying to tell us something, though… I guess it’s best I never let his rabies shots lapse, lest we get sued one day. I never saw that Iris bouquet I sent, I don’t think. It looks like they took me at my word when I said I wanted you to have EVERY iris that they had put in that bouquet.

  3. Love your choices and it’s sweet that they all have a great backstory! 🙂 Our first was named after his deceased grandpa too but the next two were so difficult to agree on! I was sure we would just end up calling them “baby girl” and “baby boy” because I practically giving birth before we finally agreed on their names 🙂

    • Thank you! I don’t know that Cesar has a great back story but a story none the less!!! Well, I’m glad you finally agreed…baby girl and baby boy may have posed a few problems when they started school!!! LOL!!

  4. Hey,I love the Dog Whisperer.I watched him all summer recouping from knee surgery.I think that Cesar is named after an icon of calm assertiveness and should be proud.I mean you can thank God you didn’t have a whack a do monkey or something and then have to name him Tarzan.

    • This is hands down the funniest comment I have EVER received!!! I seriously had to just cover my mouth to keep myself from spluttering all over!! Thank you for helping me be thankful that I was stuck watching the Dog Whisperer!!! My mind is now spinning with what other horrible choices I could have possibly made by being stuck watching the wrong show!!! LOL!!!

  5. Gorgeous MH the links between people and songs and your naming of your children is wonderful. I too did not know about Iris – such a beautiful meaning. The likeness is so apparent between Grandpa Bency and your son & I have watched many many hours Of Cesar Millan and find him brilliant as I am sure your little Cesar will be. Interesting delightful post. x

  6. I love the stories! It’s fun when names have a significance behind them-I can’t say that my kids names are that significant. I always said that the kids had to have names that were unusual enough for the music teacher to remember but not so unusual that people say HUH? when they hear it. This decision came after I taught elementary music and had 7 blonde girls named Hayley in third grade that I had to evaluate for report cards. I had a terrible time remembering which one was which!

    I had what I thought I wanted to name my son picked out months before his due date, but when it came right down to it I went with a default name, Ezra. There was a motocross rider named Ezra Lusk and I always thought it was kind of cool. AND it’s in the Bible-bonus! My husband swore up and down that he never helped decide on that name and asked to name our daughter, he came up with Brynn, it’s a Welsh name.

    I guess their middle names do have significance-my son has my Dad and Grandfather’s middle name and my daughter has the middle name that my husband and several generations of his family have. 🙂

    • That is hilarious about the 7 girls with the same name in third grade! You could have potentially ruined their music careers if you got one mixed up!!! LOL!!! I love the names Ezra and Brynn and I love the stories behind them!! Your motocross rider is as funny as my Dog Whisperer!

  7. Baby meanings mean A LOT to me, whether they are family names, or the actual meaning. I have a Zechariah (The lord Remembered), Lily (delicate flower), Ruby (duh, a gem), and Nathanael (Gift of God). We chose carefully and pray over each one according to the significance of their name. I love stories on how children are named, thanks for sharing. (

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