What's in a name?

Monday, September 20, 2010

We kept our baby name choices a secret throughout my entire pregnancy, even though we were pretty much 100% settled on them from the very beginning. We never even opened a baby name book, as we had a boy's name and a girl's name already in mind from conversations we had before I even got pregnant.

The secrecy drove a lot of people crazy and sometimes we got questions as to why we were doing it that way. The thing is, we just REALLY wanted the surprise--with both the baby's sex AND the name reveal. It was also nice that we never got any unwanted "feedback" about our choices since we didn't share them to begin with. (Although, now that it's been revealed, we've been overwhelmed by the positive reactions we've received!)

Now that Nora is here, we've gotten a lot of questions about her name. Why we chose it, what it means, and most of all... what was the boy name choice?

And, well, I can't help with that last question. :) We had so much fun keeping the names secret from everyone that we've decided that we'll likely do the same thing next time, too. And that means we won't be revealing our boy name choice, just in case we want to use it for a potential future baby boy. Sorry, people.

But for Nora...

We don't really know where Nora came from. We're not sure where we heard it, or when we first discussed it. It's just a name that we discovered at some point and decided that we both really liked it. We knew that when it came time to name our kids, we didn't want anything super popular, but we also didn't want anything completely unique or obscure. We like nice, "normal" names.

Depending on your source, Nora means "honor" or "light."

Our choice of Grace for a middle name has a bit more of a story behind it. When I got pregnant, we were already decided on the first names, but we weren't sure what we were going to do for the middle names. One thing we did know was that we wanted to use family names. We discussed several different options over the first several months of pregnancy.

I really wanted to honor my great-grandmother, who died in 2002 at the age of 96. She was greatly loved and respected and we all cherished her as a member of our family. There was so much to love about her, as she had the best personality. It's actually really fitting that I'm telling you all about her today, as September 20 was her birthday.

My great-grandmother's name was Madeline.

As much as I love the name Madeline, it didn't seem to fit quite right (Nora Madeline), plus it seemed a bit long for a middle name--especially when put with our last name. One day, I was thinking about my great-grandma and remembered the stories about her nickname--Gracie.

My great-grandfather (whom I never met, as he died before I was born) always called his wife Gracie. Back in the 1950s, there was a show called "Burns and Allen" that starred George Burns and Gracie Allen. Apparently, my great-grandparents loved this show. On it, Gracie Allen played a really ditzy character--and to tease her for her own (sometimes) ditzy nature, my great-grandfather dubbed my great-grandmother "Gracie." And it stuck.

And so I came up with the possibility of using Grace as the middle name for Nora. I asked Michael if he liked Nora Grace, and as it turned out, he loved it.

Next thing we knew, our little Nora Grace was born. And although it may not be as obvious a connection as using her real name, our daughter's middle name was chosen in recognition of the matriarch of my family, one whom we miss very much.

Happy Birthday, Grandma. I hope you are looking down at Nora with a smile. I know you are part of the group of angels who sent her to us, and for that, I thank you so, so much. I love you.


Eric's Mommy September 20, 2010 at 9:06 PM  

That is so sweet. Nora Grace is such a beautiful name. When I was pregnant I had no girl names picked out. I found out I was having a boy (I am super impatient) and my Husband actually chose the name Eric. I liked it, it wasn't trendy but it was different. There aren't any other Eric's his age around here. We chose Robert as his middle name, it's my Father in Law's name and he isn't my Husband's biological Father but he raised him and we thought it was a nice way to honor him. Plus Eric was born on his birthday too.

Katie September 20, 2010 at 9:27 PM  

What a wonderful honor. We've decided to keep our daughter's name a secret, too. It really does drive some people insane, and we've even gotten some friends/family members trying to pressure us into telling them. We just didn't want criticism or opinions, and also thought it would be super fun to announce it once she's born, especially considering everyone knows it's already a girl. We've also had her name picked out before I was pregnant. My husband came up with it and it's a twist on family names. We looked through baby books, but nothing made us change or minds. I'm in love with her name, and can't wait to announce it! :) Good for you for keeping everything a surprise, too!!

Mama Lungo September 20, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

Congrats on the birth of your beautiful girl!
What a wonderful name story! We kept both our kids names secret for lots of reasons and we also honored my grandmother and both of Hubby's grandfathers with out kids names. They are special names for special kids!

Name stories: http://thelungos.blogspot.com/search/label/whats%20in%20a%20name

Anonymous,  September 21, 2010 at 2:36 AM  

Hi Heather - First time commenter but have been following your blog for a few weeks. I really love that you guys kept everything a surprise and I love the name you picked out. I teared up a little at today's post when you talked about your great-grandmother. I too plan some day on honoring my grandmother by giving my future daughter (I hope!) all or part of my grandmother's name. What a great tradition! Congratulations on your baby girl! - Courtney

Anonymous,  September 21, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

I love hearing the stories behind name choices. And Grace seems perfect! What a nice way to honor your great grandmother.

Anonymous,  September 22, 2010 at 8:43 AM  

Nora Grace is lovely, and the meaning behind it makes it all the more special. :)

I hope you are enjoying your special time with your daughter! (Cherish every moment, it goes by SO fast!) How many weeks of leave are you able to take?

~Kristen M.

Brooke,  September 22, 2010 at 7:17 PM  

This may sound silly, but I've been reading your blog since you were planning your wedding and am just now commenting :) Congrats on your new little one !

I remember the name Nora from a Disney movie I watched growing up 'Pete's Dragon' the lighthouse keepers daughter was named 'Nora' :) Lovely name !

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