The stories behind their names: 

Norah Josephine

When Peder and I got married in 2010, we went through a very private and stressful time when we thought we wouldn’t be able to have kids (or at the very least, that it would be difficult for us to get pregnant). It was hugely stressful for me, and left me desperate and anxious to know that we would someday be able to have a family. After a year and a half went by, the issues I was struggling with health-wise started to resolve themselves and shortly thereafter we found ourselves pregnant with a surprise Norah.

It was unexpected, and came with a lot of life-altering decisions. At that time, I wasn’t working full time (and would have to postpone my MA and teaching certification for 7 additional months), we lived in an apartment, we were making peanuts on Peder’s TA salary {still are, ha!}…it just wasn’t the life that I had envisioned bringing my baby into. Not many people know this, but I was very anxious and even regretful for most of my first trimester of Norah’s pregnancy, simply because I felt like I had already failed her by not having my life together in the way I thought I should have. Of course by the time she came into the world in February 2013, my love for Norah had evolved to an instantaneous, unequivocal kind of love that I could never have imagined before having her, but it was a very emotional journey to her birth day. Her name means “light,” and fittingly enough represents the warm light that she shines on every part of my world–even the parts that don’t look the way I always thought they would.

Her middle name, Josephine, is after a  long lineage of strong women in my family: My great-grandmother, Josie, my mother,  Lori Jo, and me, Hannah Jo. We later learned that there are also Josephine’s in Peder’s family, which is a really cool connection, but I love sharing Norah with the pioneer women I’m descended from.


Simon James Laurence

With Simon, I had the chance to actively want him. I was desperate for a baby for a good 6-9 months before we actually got pregnant with him, filling my heart with the kind of ache that only the empty arms of a mother in wanting can feel. I had my Norah, which is more than many have, but my heart ached for another. It was a long, long wait for the “right” time to conceive Simon. And even then, Simon came earlier than we had expected and meant another round of hard choices–including leaving my job and staying home to mother my two children. But Simon, whose name means “he has heard,” did exactly that: He heard me. He heard my heart crying for him, and he answered my whispered calls and immediately, instantaneously, filled my heart with love from the moment I first knew he would be here. He had heard me. My Simon, who joined my Light.

In another fun coincidence, Simon Peter was one of Jesus’ original 12 disciples. His original name was Simon, but Jesus later changed it to Peter {which is as close to Peder’s name as you can get}. We thought it was a fitting connection for Peder’s son to have that biblical link to his name!

“James” comes from my dad, James (Jim) Lincoln. He passed away when I was 16, and I think Peder and I have always known that we’d use James in our son’s name in some way. Though I wish we didn’t have to use it, it fits Simon so well. He even looks like my dad, in such incredibly striking ways.

“Laurence” is, of course, in honor of Peder. Peder’s second middle name is Laurence, partially named after his mother, and it just flowed so well with Simon and James. We loved the thought of having our son named after his father, and having two middle names like him as well.



My children’s timing hasn’t always made sense to me, but it has unknowingly given me the two most amazing babies I could have ever asked for.Through a lot of fate and opportunity, everyone in our family has a “J” and “L” middle name (well, except for Norah. Poor girl). Something fun that connects us all 🙂

Peder Jay Laurence Thompson

Hannah Jo Lincoln Thompson

Norah Josephine Thompson

Simon James Laurence Thompson