old country house blog


I will probably never completely get over not having a fourth child. Selfish, I know, and I am eternally grateful for the three healthy beautiful children I have, what can I say…I wanted one more.


It has been 13 years since I needed to come up with a name to give a human being to last them a whole life. That one name..that would define them, make them identifiable. It is an insurmountable task and quite often the best names…just come up on the fly. Like they say…”Don’t overthink it!”

I grew up with many family names...Lesli Jean (my Mom was Bonnie Jean), Mallory (My Dad’s Mom’s maiden name )and Smith, (my maiden name). Lesli Jean Mallory Smith. A mouthful. All four of us Smith kids had family names and the only thing I knew going in to naming my own children, was that I wanted NEW names…not family names.


When Cooper was born I could not decide on his name for a day. I knew I was having a boy and I had already used my dream name “Tate”…Coming up with a second boy name was harder than I thought. I arrived at the hospital with two names in my pocket…”Cooper” which was a name I had intended to call Phoebe if she was a boy and “Mack”…because I liked the sound of it. It would be short for McCoy, after the famous Jazz musician. But then, I did so love Cooper, I mean, the name just makes me smile. So I decided to wait until I met this boy….then name him.


So I met him, such a hearty fellow… all  8 lbs 6 oz of him, chubby and feisty…I was stumped. Mack or Cooper? Cooper…or Mack? He was born at 9:47 pm and 12 hours later, I had still not decided when my highschool friend Jill called to congratulate me.

“JILL, help me I cannot decide between “Cooper” or “Mack”…!!!”

…and my dear friend  Jill, never the one to sugarcoat things simply said…

“My son knows a boy named “Mack” and he is not nice…go with Cooper.”

COOPER Ellington

Now, I know that there are many fine Mack’s out there, stellar ones even, but this is what I needed to just make this huge decision. That was the tipping point and he has been Cooper ever since and I have not for a moment looked back.

I did not find out what we were having, boy or girl, with Phoebe. I had my baby boy, Tate, and deep down I wished for a girl but I did not for one moment to feel anything but joy about the new life I carried, so I resisted the temptation. I had many dreams I was having a girl. But, awake,  I was certain I was having another boy. I even have video of me teaching baby Tate how to say “Cooper” …Just in case…I had narrowed down the girl choices to “Phoebe” and “Piper”…but was pretty sure It would not matter as I was having a boy…But then, this tiny tomato faced wrinkly little peanut arrived 3 weeks early and the MOMENT I met her, I knew …

PHOEBE Holiday

….she had always been Phoebe.

So just for FUN…Here are my CURRENT BABY NAME CHOICES. I am not around the baby set these days so have little idea what are the “IN” names…I do hear “AIDEN” a lot..when I am in Barnes and Noble and Moms are reading to their little ones…

These are just names that I love. Irony of all ironies… MANY of these are family names.


August, Charlie, Ford, Gus, James,  John, Leo, Mike, Stanley, Trevor, 


Bonnie, Frannie, Jane, Jean, June, Millie, Patty, Penelope, Ruth, Zooey

What are your top 5 favorite baby names???

Tate , Phoebe and Cooper...I cannot imagine them called anything else.
Tate , Phoebe and Cooper…I cannot imagine them called anything else.


  1. five? five names?? Boys names were always the hardest for me.

    Griffin: would have named my girl that if she had been a boy and I still love it

    Lillian: my girls middle name and family name that i still love to this day
    Paulina: a play on a family name and in the running for my girl early on.

  2. Although I had the three children I wanted: Tara, Sean (who was almost Ryan until I met him), and Jared, I always entertained the idea of twin sons named Dylan Robert and Dakota James. Why? I have no idea. I just loved the idea of those names. One of your 5 top girls names would have been the middle name for my youngest if he had been a girl – Kimberly Zoey.

  3. Ok, so this is CRAZY! I was reading your “boy list” and whoa. My husband’s name is Charlie, and his two brothers are August and James. Can’t believe they’re all on your list. I love family names so there will probably be a few in our fam once we have kids someday!

  4. I know a girl named Griffin!

    My top 5 boys names are:
    George (way before the current royal couple, much as I love them)

    For girls:
    Shiloh (I swear I made a list just like this before Brangelina!)
    Francesca (And yep, I like Frances/Franny too)

  5. I do love the name Tate. I didn’t get my third child, but luckily, I have an Andrew and a Hilary.
    Girls: Hilary, Adeline, Millie, Fiona and Roxanne

    Boys: Andrew, Spencer, Rowan, Barrett, Tristan and Dane

  6. I have a thing for Irish/Gaelic names, and exotic-sounding names. Sadly, my husband does not. At least I made him choose from my pre-approved list of names, though Aidan was not on that list, and it was a compromise discovered by my mom. The man wanted a name that meant fire or fighter, but I hated all of them and wanted a Gaelic name or something Gaelic-esque. Aidan means little fire, and is Irish. Win-Win! Our boys are Aidan Joseph, Logan Boyd & Gavin Alexander. Our older two have family names for their middles, and the two oldest chose the middle for our youngest, since we couldn’t agree and wanted to involve them. Of course, had we allowed Logan to choose the baby’s name, he would have been Coffee! LOL And, even though I never had a girl, I still have my list of names:

    Morrigan Aileen (Aileen is a family name as well)
    Ashlynn Renee
    Riona Grace
    Nayeli Grace
    Amira Nayeli (which was WAY too exotic for my country-boy-man!)

  7. Boys names: Henry, Paul, John, Walter, Hal

    Girls names: Helena (pronounced Hel ee na), Sabina, Jemima (everyone laughed at me for loving that name while I was pregnant with my daughter. I ended up naming my daughter Ava, and she really is an Ava, so good thing people steered me away from Jemima…but I still love it!) Sinead, Willa

  8. Names are such a big deal! I was one of FIVE Susans in my third grade classroom. When I met my now husband and he told me his name was Lawrence and I said I’d never met a Lawrence my age. Then he told me his first name was actually Ladson and that he was a Junior named after his Dad… I nearly swooned and mentally fast forwarded to giving birth to a THIRD with that cool first name… And I did! Ladson Lawrence DuBose, III is now 14. To my very Carolina in-laws, this is no big deal. But it’s a huge deal to have these roots and traditions to this Ohio girl.

    We always wanted another baby but never got one… She would have been named Anna Lucille after my Mom and my husband’s beloved grandmother. I also loved Fraser for a girl or boy, which is a big name on my husband’s side.

  9. I have a little girl named Cooper! Middle name, first name Isabella, but from the time she was born she always been Cooper and we love it that way!

  10. i never got the third child i wanted- i know exactly what you mean. i always daydream about what i would name another one- for me, it’s gotta fit with the other two- maxwell henry and elise margaret (their middle names are family names)
    i must admit, i like old people names!
    charlie, benjamin, james, samuel

    emmeline, robin, ella, georgia & grace

  11. Hi Lesli!
    Picking the names was VERY hard for me.
    My son is Cormac. I knew he was going to be a boy – and there was NO girl’s name picked out. It’s a good thing h actually IS a boy – because we would have been at square ONE. I could not find a girl’s name that I liked.
    My daughter is Riley. I did NOT know how popular that name was until right AFTER she was born and named – but I still like it. She would have been Declan if she were a boy.
    Current favorite names? Not a clue!
    (by the way – my middle name was Jean, too. I changed it when I got married – took my maiden name as my middle. Gallagher. Both kids have it for their middle name as well.)

    1. Love your kids names and I could see Cormac as a girls name, call her ‘Corie”. I use my Maiden as my Middle now too…makes for interesting initials…LSD…oh well!
      good to hear from you Breida with a B!

  12. I’m long past my baby-naming days – my four kids are 13, 15, 17, and 20. But, I have always loved the topic of baby names and I still love thinking about it. I tease my kids that they have to let me name their first-born children. Here are names I am currently loving:

    Girls: Audrey, Georgia, Eleanor, Copeland, Vivian
    Boys: Henry, Gus, Oliver, Sebastian, Finn

  13. We have three boys and I’m still sad that we’ll never have a fourth. I’m glad I’m not alone in that. I am NOT sad, however, that I will never be pregnant again. Most painful and anxiety ridden months of my life.
    I do love baby names. I felt as though we were running out of boys names.
    Arthur, Dashiell, George, Fredrick, Victor. (maybe).
    Amelia, Clementine, Eleanor, Jane, Ruby.

  14. Naming my children was always a joy. I now have a grandson, Henry and a grandbaby in heaven, Lilly Grace.
    My daughter is pregnant and we have already started picking out names. She has chosen, Opal Louise for a girl. For a boy, it’s looking like Luke Aaron. We love old names in this family.
    My top 5 boys names:
    Harrison, Dean, Charlie, George, Oliver
    Jane, Ruby, Alice, Ava, Gracie

    I was always attracted to long names when I was naming my children, Juliana Kimberly, Kelcie Lorraine, Kenneth Dudley, IV (we call him Jake, I know it doesn’t make sense but it’s a family thing). My daughter, Juliana complained when learning to write her name that I did her wrong because she had the longest name in the class because our last name is VanDyke. I felt bad then but I still love their names. I told them that I gave them names of Royal standards…they didn’t agree.

  15. I love baby names as well and am happy to discover that I’m not the only one who has a list despite the fact that after number four I had my tubes tied and there will be no more children for me. My own children all have family middle names and are McKenzie Juliet (age 13), Rylee Noelle (age 9), Mason Allen Peter (age 6) – hubby picked the name Mason 15 years ago before it became soooo popular, Hawkins Christopher (age 1).
    Boys list:

  16. My wife and I were just going through our top names for the imaginary next child and we started combining names to some up with some truly silly baby names such as:

    Dil8an (the 8 is silent)


  17. Popped on your site for an update and here I find a baby name discussion! How ironic since the third and fourth grand girls are due in the fall and names are escaping them! I have ALWAYS wanted to name a little girl Jean Louise and call her “Scout” after a few favorite people (both fiction and real!) but my name suggestion is not going too far. I am loving Anna Grace, Drew, and Carolina Jane. Of course, anything with Lee would work for me! Enjoyed the posts!

    1. I was reading this and thinking…”This person is ME!” and then I saw it was YOU!!!! Third and Fourth!!!…OMG twins? or two sets of kids having babes…You remind me that I need to go and do a baby name update post..I think it has been at least a year? I will quote your ideas!!! Look back tomorrow…i love you!!!

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