What.s in a Name?


When Chris and I found out we were having a girl, we were super excited for a lot of reasons (Chris’s reason was mostly because I’d told him I was going to just keep having babies until I had a girl, so he was off the hook on that one…). One reason we were stoked was because girl names were easy for us. We had so many great options, it was just a matter of choosing our two favorites and then fitting them together in a way that was just right for her.

Our top name choice had always been Caroline. We loved the name because it was the epitome of Southern to us. We both agreed that we wanted our own sweet Caroline (bum bum bum). The second name was trickier in some ways. When we found out we were pregnant with Gracie, I went through a bout of depression that had me all kinds of upside down. But when I finally came through it, one word stood out head and shoulders above all else: Gracie. God’s Grace. It was how I’d gotten through, how our family had survived the past two years of ups and extreme downs. It just seemed right that we name this beautiful gift after the greatest gift of Grace.


The trouble was that we wanted to call her Gracie, but we didn’t like the sound of Grace Caroline. It just sounded… strange. Like a triangle upside down. It just didn’t balance out somehow. But Caroline Grace was beautiful. We went back and forth about that. Should we go with the beautiful name and curse her forever by calling her by her middle name???? Yes. Yes, we should. So, we did.

Gracie goes by her middle name, and other than the first day of school, I don’t really see that being a huge problem. Sure, it’s going to be a little inconvenient at times, but only with paperwork and strangers. I really didn’t think calling her by her middle name was that big of a deal. So, that’s how we cursed our child with a middle/first name. Little Gracie Girl. My sweet Caroline Grace.

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14 Thoughts to “What.s in a Name?”

  1. Mary

    LOVE both of those names. My name is Mary Elizabeth and people often think its all one word. Part of growing up in the south I guess 🙂

  2. Nikki

    I was also “cursed” by always being called by my middle name. Well sort of, middle name is Nicole. But I love having a formal name, and having a nickname when I’m with family and friends. My first name is actually my Grandfather’s name, so I think that’s pretty special! Also, teachers are pretty great at going by nicknames. Even my college professors were kind enough not to call me by a name I probably wouldn’t have turned around to : )

  3. Casey

    My second daughter’s middle name is Grace, it’s a family name on my side but she goes by her first name that is wildly popular, Olivia. My third daughter is Caroline Quinn. Caroline for my sister Carrie, but I wanted something less nickname-like. And because she was born while we were stationed in Beaufort, SC so it’s a sweet reminder of our time in the South that we love so much. You have great taste in girl names 🙂

  4. Sabra

    In my family, we have a naming tradition…I am the sixth woman to carry my first name and my daughter is the seventh. Obviously, having your great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and you all living with the same name can cause some confusion, so I always went by my middle name. And not even my proper middle name but a nickname of my middle name. Now my daughter does the same. It can take some explaining once school starts, but otherwise it’s no biggie, 🙂

  5. All the men in my husband’s family line have the same first name, John. They then alternate using the first name, or the middle name. So my husband and his grandfather both go by John. While his Dad goes by his middle name. Which means that, should we eventually have a son, he’ll be John XYZ. 🙂 It’s sweet.

  6. Libby

    I’m the same as Sabra – I go by a nickname of my middle name (Libby from my middle name Elizabeth) which is even more confusing. But I always actually liked it and as a kid felt quite special with my ‘secret’ name!

  7. Courtney

    Aw, I am also cursed like little Gracie. My full name is Mary Courtney, but i’m a 5th generation Mary…so my mom is Mary, and my Grandma is Mary. We all go by different names – Mary Jane, Robin, and Courtney. It was never an issue growing up…kids don’t really know the difference. They just call you what everyone else does. And when she’s an adult, she has a great conversation starter and something that is a little bit unique.

  8. Lara

    My daughters name is the exact same!!! My middle name is Grace for the same reasons! Love your blog 🙂

  9. Anne

    In my mother’s family, all of the girls went by their middle name except for my mother. My grandma and both of my aunts go by their middle name. My mom always felt left out, because she was called by her first name. My brother, who shares a first name with my father, goes by his middle name. It doesn’t cause much confusion.

  10. And kids usually pick what they want to call themselves as they get older…Gracie could turn into a Carrie…it will be whatever she thinks fits her. My mom never imagined I would take the last 3 letters of my name and end up with a nick name!!

  11. LOL. For us Chinese, it gets confusing when Westerners have no idea which part of our names to use! Thank God my parents were smart in that they gave me an English name as my last name and so everyone knows to zoom in there. The family name is always at the front and I’ve been refered to as that, as well as my middle name. Makes me giggle every time.

  12. Mae

    I love Gracie’s full name! I go by my middle name too (Mae). My mom always liked it but thought it was too short for a first name so I became Samantha Mae…but family and friends call me Mae.

  13. Annalee

    Great choice!! My first name is Annalee, and I grew up being called both Annie and Annalee. Now that I’m older, everyone calls me Annalee and people always assume Lee is my middle name! But coincidentally… Grace is my middle name too! Annalee Grace! Going by your middle name is no hassle at all… Caroline Grace had such a great ring to it and the name Gracie is too adorable!

  14. Farrar

    I am a middle name baby too. I think that your parents somehow just know the name that will fit you just right, I don’t think I look like an Eleanor! :0) I went to a small private school so that wasn’t an issue and in college they didn’t care what my name was so most of the time I just answered to Eleanor there for ease. I reall never had much of a problem with it until I got married and that was only because the state of Alabama requires a legal name change to drop your first name. I could have kept all my names and added my married name but I just didn’t want to – so my stubborness made it more difficult than it would have been otherwise. – BTW – Gracie is a beautiful name we have a Gracie in our family too! :0)

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