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behind the name - with Ari Ventura

Deerfield Beach, Florida, USA

My name is Ariana. As an adult, I’ve grown to love being called Ari. I was born and raised by the sea and have always been happiest barefoot.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom because of our amazing provider and father of my children Cody. We share a love for the sea that truly draws us together. Cody has been surfing for 20+ years and has introduced me to surfing over the last few years. Now as a family we’re introducing it to our children. We love to be outdoors exploring whether we’re picking flowers, on a walk, in the ocean, chasing birds or puddle jumping.

I have always been very creative and artistic as well. I find a lot of joy in creating things like macrame, party decorations, painting or just simply drawing. I’ve always had a feeling that in another life I’d be a fashion stylist or rockstar.

my name journey stories -

Teagan Jade.

When I found out I was pregnant I was only 18 years old and I had moved to another state 3 months prior with only a suitcase full of clothes. I was confused and very scared. I never knew whether I wanted a child or not and I was still a child myself.

I felt an instant connection and I just knew this baby was going to impact my life for the better.

At 20 weeks we found out she was a girl and I just knew her middle name needed to be Jade. I was so drawn to the color and name and when I read that the Jade stone was “protector of generations, living and dead”, I just knew it was meant for her. I knew as a first generation American woman that I needed to break tradition and it was going to start with my little girl.

When it came to her first name I was so stumped. Nothing seemed to fit. Nothing was truly sticking out.

I’ll never forget being 32 weeks pregnant and getting closer and closer to the end of my pregnancy when her father said “what about Teagan?”

At first, I hated it. I said absolutely not, I just don’t like it. I even remember distinctly saying “My hispanic family won’t even be able to pronounce it. They would be so upset.”

Then, I started to dream of holding her and calling her “TJ”. I had dreams every night for weeks where I was with my baby girl calling her Teagan, TJ, and even Tea. My mother even threw me a Tea party themed baby shower before even knowing any names we had in mind. Everything just started clicking. “My little Teacup. My little Teagan Jade.” It just felt so right. I ended up looking up the meaning behind the name Teagan after giving birth and I remember reading “little poet” and thinking I couldn’t be more in love. She looked like poetry.

Tillie Jae & Evie Rae

A few years later and a split from Tea’s biological father I met the love of my life Cody. Cody and I had suffered a loss of a baby early on in our relationship that brought us extremely close. We weren’t planning on growing our family by any means but, the universe had different plans for us. We were shocked to find out at just six weeks pregnant we were expecting twins! It was overwhelming. We had so many emotions and in a way we felt like we were getting a second chance with our first baby, our baby came back.

Before finding out the sexes we agreed to think of one boy name and one girl name. I remembered watching some cooking show and hearing Gordon Ramsey say something about his daughter Tilly and I fell in love immediately. I googled the name Tilly Ramsey and learned quickly her name was really Matilda. I wasn’t too fond of Matilda and I felt like Tilly was fun and very beach-like. I could almost already envision her just from the name. Once I mentioned it to Cody he also fell in love and we knew if one of them was a girl, Tilly was her name absolutely no doubt. We realized we had Teagan and Tilly now. It was time to think of a middle name and it came pretty easily.

Cody was raised by a single father and his middle name was just the letter J. So we gave her the middle name Jae to make it more feminine and to honor him.

Now we find out we’re having two girls. So we have Teagan Jade and Tilly Jae. We thought we may want another TJ but, we could not find a good match. I searched long and hard all over the name nest. Then I thought maybe we could do the initials JT and that idea didn’t last long either. We just couldn’t find something that suited both of us as parents. I finally decided to take a break from name searching. I was so exhausted trying to make something stick but, nothing felt right.

When I began to start nesting in my home I felt nostalgic when I saw Pokémon indigo league on Netflix and decided to turn it on when I found it. I found her name. It’s a long shot but, I began to cry. I saw the Pokémon named Eevee. She’s this adorable fox-like animal. Big brown eyes, brown fur and just flat out adorable. She reminded me of Cody in a way. When I started to google the name, I fell even more in love. Evie also tends to be used as a nickname for Evelyn but, I wanted just Evie. When I expressed this to Cody, I was so scared he would think I was being hormonal and just odd that an anime sparked her name but to my surprised he loved it.

I wanted the twins to be individuals as well as have names that fit together. Which is when we decided to change the spelling on “Tilly” to “Tillie” so we would have Tillie Jae and Evie. When it came to her middle name I wanted something similar and I came across Rue on the name nest. Rue didn’t quite flow the way I wanted it too but, when we thought of Rae it was almost instantly we knew that was her middle name. Evie Rae.

I knew already that Baby A would be Evie Rae and Baby B would be Tillie Jae and I never expressed it to Cody. So when we delivered and spent some time with them he ended up coming to the same conclusion on his own. Their names suited them so well I couldn’t believe it. They still do.

names I loved and did not use -

I ended up really enjoying putting names together and have helped some friends with sparking interest in unique names. I really thought I would be raising a boy or two but, I was meant to raise women.

Our top boy names were Jack, Tyde, Henry and Rocky. I also knew that I wanted the middle name Ace to honor my brother who’s name is Anthony. I also loved the name Azul and Sol for a boy.

As for girl names when I was pregnant with Teagan I really loved Penelope to call her Penny for short and Delilah. As for the twins, I really really loved Rumi and Rori but, I wasn’t willing to give up Tillie. Another few I really love were Blythe, Nora, Venus and Goldie. I tried to convince Cody for MONTHS to name one of our girls Goldie. I love that name with all my being. I don’t think we will have anymore children so this is an open list of names I truly considered.

how I found the name nest -

I was so truly inspired by the name nest. I was on the page every other day for the last 8 years. I would even send names to my expecting friends while I was single. The names and artwork just spoke to me. Almost every boy name we thought of was inspired from this page. There were days I wish I could have one more baby just to name her Goldie. There were multiple times that some of the art had brought me to tears. From the feeding journey art to your angel baby art. Thank you for your page.

my advice for mothers who are on their own naming journey

When going into naming your children there feels like there’s a lot of outside pressure. Well, at least for me it was. As a first generation American I was always so worried about my family being able to pronounce their names and even though many names spoke to me and my partner I would talk myself out of it. My advice is to name your child whatever speaks to YOU. Everyone will conform to their name whether they like it or not. I had one of my grandmothers tell me when Teagan was first born why would I give my child an ugly name and I just had to remind myself that she is MY child and no one else’s. That same grandmother is head over heels with Teagan and ask her to come over all the time, and has never mentioned her name again. Whether I was 19 or whether I was 40 my decision to give my child her forever name was MY choice. When you find their name, it will feel like a weight off your shoulders. It’s also okay to wait until you see them to give them their name. Everything feels right when you see your child and it’ll just come to you. Don’t stress mama, take your time. It’ll come to you as a feeling not as a name.


to follow Ari's story and to find out more about her, you can find her on Instagram @ariariarii

I hope you enjoyed reading Ari's name journey's and I can not wait to bring you more stories, from women around the world in this new journal series 'behind the name'.

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