what’s in a name

I always love finding out the significance of people’s names.  Are they named after someone?  Did their parents make up the name?  Why did they choose to spell it that way?  Your name is your identifier – it is one thing that make you uniquely YOU.

I love the story behind my name.  I think  most of my readers are too young to remember (sorry Mom, but it’s true) the show Dallas.  In the show, there was a huge controversy:  Who shot JR?

If you are old enough to remember the show (or know just because you’re cool like that), you know that Kristen shot JR.  My parents didn’t land on that right away (my dad thought most of the names my mom suggested sounded like the names of dogs… awesome…), but my mom thought it was pretty, and thus I have my name.  (Although I think she wishes that she would have named me Caroline since it’s a family name, but I like Kristen better.)

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Naming your child is much more difficult than it may seem.  First of all, we are BOTH teachers.  Teachers have this much harder than any other profession, I’m pretty sure.  You have those kids who are perfect little angels that you just love and hope your child turns out just like them.  But, you also have those kids who drive you up the wall, and you can’t stand hearing his or her name because you are constantly saying it every. single. day.  CONSTANTLY.  Yup, those are the names that don’t even make it on to the list, or if they do, they are immediately vetoed out of fear that your child might end up remotely similar to that particular child.

I really wanted our daughter’s name to be unique, to be almost exclusively hers, but to also have some significance to it.  Luckily, the significance part was easy.

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Matt’s family has passed down a family name for several generations.  It was his great-grandfather’s first name, his grandfather’s middle name, his mom’s first name, and Matt’s (second) middle name.  We knew that this name would be used as our daughter’s middle name because Matt really wanted to keep the tradition going and he also wanted to pass it back to a girl, since it is a girls name.

Thus, we knew our daughter’s middle name would most definitely be Christy.  A beautiful middle name, if I do say so myself.  I was happy with it, but was having difficulties finding a first name that went well with it.  Especially since I was being particular and wanting her first name to start with an M.  We went through several M names (and several not-M names) and finally settled on 2.

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My other particular naming issue was I wanted her name to have a unique spelling.  Nothing like La-a (which is pronounce La-dash-a, in case you were wondering), but something, again with significance.  But, Matt was also being particular and wanted to have a child he could nickname Mac – his nickname growing up because of his initials M. A. C. (Like I said before, he has 2 middle names.)

Sure, we could name her with an M name, throw in an Ann before Christy, and have a Mac, but I figured we could spell her name differently and she could still be our little Mac.

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A beautiful name that starts with an M, is special to us, and is uniquely hers.  I’m so happy with her name and I can’t wait to see how her MacKenna personality shine through as she grows.

Does your name or kids’ names have any significance or a story behind them?  Did anyone watch “Up All Night” last night?  Jason Lee’s daughter’s name in the episode was MacKenna!  Although, I’m sure it wasn’t spelled like that.  I’m also happy we had her before that episode aired!

  • Haley

    I love her name and its uniqueness. My mom is an OB nurse and always tells me how when people come in and try to name their kids w/ crazy names (along the lines of La-a), they always try to politely “suggest” a different spelling…”have you also heard of this way many people are spelling that name…?”. You get the point. And one that I think potentially beats La-a…my cousin works in the health care industry and had a new patient…went in to meet her for the first time and her first name said “ABCDE”…thought it was a typo and that maybe the intake nurse had missed the name when scheduling the appt so put a place holder in there…nope, her name was “ABCDE”, pronounced ab-sah-dee…yup, true story.

    Hope those give you a nice laugh on a Friday morning. But back to the post…I love MacKenna’s name!

    • Kristen

      Hahaha! That is awesome!

  • Wow, that’s a lot of significance in MacKenna’s name- how neat!

    Our story is a little different. The night we found out we were having a baby girl, we started tossing out names. None appealed to us. Then I mentioned a name I had never even thought of before; Hailey. We both thought it was beautiful and classic (we aren’t very trendy and our style in everything is traditional and classic). I guess we liked it enough that it stuck! Her middle name is Ann, which is my middle name, my mom’s middle name and my grandmother’s name, so that has family significance 🙂
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    • Kristen

      I REALLY wanted to name her Hailey (but spell it Hayleigh) originally, but Matt vetoed me. It’s such a pretty name! But, I’m definitely happy with MacKenna!

  • Jen

    I love MacKenna’s name. It’s unique and beautiful!

    I was named after an actress on the show Dallas- Jenilee Harrison! The year I was born, 1982, is the only year my name was on the top 1000 list for girls haha. Too funny.

    How we came up w/ our little guy’s name is rather random. We were watching a football game years ago and Colt McCoy was playing. I said his parents knew he was going to be a QB w/ a name like that. So we started rattling off boys’ names that would sound cool if ever announced during a football game with our last name. And we found one, and have loved it since, so it wasn’t even a discussion when we found out we were expecting a boy!
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    • Kristen

      I totally can picture your sons name (even though I don’t know what it is) being called out as he crossed an Ironman! 🙂

  • Lee

    My full name is not Lee (or Lee Ann) but Leidra which my parents sort of made up. The funny thing is that if you google “Leidra”, you’ll get a lot of hits about a woman who wrote a book called “How to Land a Sugar Daddy.” Ha.

    I like MacKenna!
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    • Kristen

      Oooh, I like your name! Very unique!

  • meghan

    Love the name MacKenna! Our sons middle name will be my fathers name and although I wanted to give him the full name John Joseph and call him JJ my Hubby vetoed it. So instead we found a first name we could agree on. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was the name I loved his cousin just named her little boy and my husband is a teacher and I work with kids in another setting. We had the same problems of stereotyping names off kids.

    • Kristen

      Working with kids makes it so hard! I am planning on using my dad’s middle name for a future son (if we decide to have more kids + if we have a son).

  • I LOVE names! Every name I have given to a pet has had a significance.. and it usually comes from Latin and sometimes ancient Greek. I’m a classics nerd like that. ANYHOW. I’m actually commenting because I had never watched “Up All Night” BUT U did have it on this week and heard “MacKenna” and thought, “HEY! THAT’S KRISTEN’S BABY’S NAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It stood out to me because I had never heard it before. It’s beautiful!
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    • Kristen

      Haha! I did the same thing to the Hubs – “Did you hear her name?!?!”

  • I’ve always liked names that start with “Mac” do I think your daughter’s name is beautiful!

    My daughter also has a family middle name, Charlotte. It was the name of my dad’s mom who died when my mom was pregnant w/me.

    Her first name is Lyric, which I love! It was the only name my husband added to the list and it fits her. I always wanted a name that was unique but not spelled funny! (no one ever spelled my name right since I’m just a Jessie, not a Jessica!)
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    • Kristen

      I actually have students who have a sibling named Lyric! I think it’s such a pretty name!

  • I love her name, and I completely agree with teachers having the most trouble naming their kiddos. I have so many “no’s” on my future baby name list due to my “special friends.”

  • I’m also named after a mid-80’s tv show! In the show Moonlighting, Cybill Shepherd’s character was Maddie! My parents loved the name, but wanted my full name to be Madelyne…which is a unique spelling, but mostly because they didn’t know how to spell it (since they were really going for Maddie!).

    Growing up I was the only Madelyne (or Maddie) in my school, but now it’s becoming a very popular name! I kind of liked being the only one though 🙂

    ps- congrats to your happy, beautiful, little family!

  • kristin

    My parents came up with my name because of Kristin on Dallas too. Mine is spelled with an I though.

  • Jen

    My parents decided that if they had a girl my mom could name the baby and if it was a boy my dad could name the baby. They had 2 girls so my mom named both me and my sister.

    My name is Jennifer and my mom picked it after she saw an article in the paper talking about how it was the most popular girls name in 1982 (I was born in December 82.) Thanks to her I was always known by my first and last name growing up since there were a bunch of Jennifer’s in my class. For this reason I will not name my future children any name that is in the top 10 most popular names no matter how much I like it.

    My sister’s name is Stephanie and she was named that because my mom is a huge Stevie Nicks fan. She wanted to name her Stevie but she thought it wasn’t the more mainstream name she was looking for so she named her Stephanie Nicole.

  • I have a friend who’s a Labor and Delivery nurse, and she was telling me this story last year about a family she took care of — the baby’s name is Turquoise, and the mother, grandmother, and aunt are Ruby, Emerald, and Pearl. Who DOES that?!
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    • Kristen

      Haha! That’d be like doing Faith, Hope, and Grace or something like that!

      • Cat

        Haha, my younger cousins are named Grace, Faith, & Hope (and they all have variations of Mary as their middle name – I think they’re Maria, Moira, & Mary). Plus, the youngest is a boy named Luke. They’re super sweet kids but we always thought it was kind of funny to name all the girls with similar names like that.

        • Kristen

          That’s funny. I have an aunt named Faith, but the rest of my aunts (and mom) are all L names. I am planning on keeping the M name theme I think though.

  • I love the name MacKenna :-).

    Our newborn’s first and middle names are both after family members. Her first name, Emmelina, is after her great grandmother who was Emelina (we liked it better with the extra “m” since we will be calling her Emme). My husband never got to know his grandmother since she died when he was young, so it was a nice way to honor her. Emme’s middle name is Lyn after my Grandma (her great grandmother) Marilyn, who is currently fighting cancer. We happen to think that Emmelina Lyn is a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl :-).

    • Kristen

      That’s so pretty – and very unique!