We are having a baby boy (due 3/23). Most of the boy names were on our list the first time around and so it feels as though all of the names have been discussed before and it is...less fun. Our first is Carter Nicholas Holland. Nicholas is my husband's name and it is a tradition from his side of the family we chose to follow. If this baby had been a girl, the short list we had included Stella, Penelope, Josephine, and Scarlett.
Right now our list is:
As you can surmise from the list, we generally like shorter, surnamey names. Both my husband and I would probably be fine with any of these. His favorite right now is Brooks, while mine is Grant. Are we missing a good first name option since the list is just a repeat of what was there but ultimately not selected before? The only new name is Dexter and I'm not sure I like repeating the -ter. Names that were on the list but have been dismissed are Pierce and Lincoln. We like Lincoln but for me Carter and Lincoln is a little too much matching with President surnames (I do realize Grant is as well, but it isn't as obvious, right?).
For the middle, we have thought of using my father's name, Gary, or a great-grandfather's name, Merrill or Roger, both of whom have passed away. None of these names are really our style but we like using a family name since Carter has a family tradition for his middle. Another idea we had for the middle was to use initials only for the middle names, as it is quite common on my father's side of the family. My papa's (Merrill) middle name was D, my uncle's name is J, and my great-uncle was J W. This would allow us to honor both the great-grandfathers. So it would be Brooks R M Holland or Grant R M Holland, etc. I thought of using the initial only but my husband thought of having both initials in there. I think since we like shorter names, it feels like too much to him to have a full double middle, as in Brooks Roger Merrill Holland. Is the double initial-only middle names strange? Should we just pick one of the names?
Of course I realize there is plenty of time but I already feel like we've exhausted the topic.
Thanks so much for your help!
I've found that every name can stand to have something unusual about it, but that it works best to limit the number of unusual things. In this situation, you've got three unusual ideas to consider:
1. Initial-only name
2. Two middle names
3. Changing concepts between first child's name and second child's name
I think I would choose no more than two of those. If, for example, you had given your first child two initial-only middle names, it would be no big deal to do the same for your second child. Or if you wanted to give your first child a middle name and your second child a middle initial, I think that would be okay. Or if you wanted to give your first child one middle name and your second child two middle names, I think that would be okay. But I don't think I would give a first child a single regular middle name, and then give a second child two initial-only middle names.
On the other hand, I've found that having a good explanation can topple a tower of unusual things. For example, if in this case you explained to people that you'd named your first son using a naming tradition from his dad's side, and your second son using a naming tradition from your own side, that makes pretty quick work of combining three unusual things into one.
If you'd prefer, however, to follow the same pattern as your first son's name, I don't think there's any need to try to cram in more than one honor name. When you named your first son, you gave him just one honor name as a middle name, without trying to honor the other side of your husband's family as well. I think the same choice would be perfectly appropriate for the second child: give him one name from one side of your family. My own preference would be to honor your father, especially since he's alive to enjoy the honor, or to choose whichever grandfather you were closer to. I think honor names are most satisfying when they are given based on relationship rather than on naming style.
But there's something to be said for naming style, too, and on that basis I think if I were you I might solve the dilemma by first choosing a favorite first name, and then using whichever honor name sounds best with it in the middle. Carter Nicholas and Grant Merrill, perhaps, or Carter Nicholas and Sebastian Gary, or Carter Nicholas and Brooks Roger.
I agree with you that Carter and Lincoln is a very presidential combination, and that Carter and Grant is less so. Graham seems even better: very similar to Grant, with no presidential issue at all.
Here are a few more possibilities to consider: