May 20, 2009

on the name thing...

the initials.
I've always loved my first name. I've always felt that it fits me perfectly. I mean, what else could I possibly be named that would fit me just right?

I know that I don't often refer to myself on this blog by my real name, simply because I have raging paranoia, and sometimes I think that if I give out my name I'll have some crazy guy stalking me about five minutes later, and he will probably shove me into a van when I'm on one of my morning runs and then eat me for dinner, and then they will most likely make a Lifetime movie out of the situation, which would actually be kind of cool, except that I would be dead, and I'd rather not be dead when I'm famous. (I never said I was rational. Just paranoid.)

Anyway.

My name is Kerri. And I love it. (Even though it technically means "dark haired one", which I find slightly odd. I mean, really? Who came up with that? Why can't it have a cool meaning like, "she who has the soul of a wandering goddess" or "one who is prone to sporadic moments of delight" or "blue-eyed wonder"?) I haven't met very many Kerri's in my life (spelled that exact way) and whenever I do, I like to think that we share some sort of secret bond. A Sisterhood of Kerri's. Weird, I know. But, whatever. That's how I roll.

As for last names, my maiden name was short and sweet, as well. It was unique and easy to spell. After marriage, I went from a last name that was all of four letters, to a seriously intense, German last name that is eleven letters long and apparently confusing to pronounce, as I'm constantly correcting people: "Stiiiine. Not steeeen. Get it right, nancy."

I remember back when I first had a raging crush on Jay, but didn't know his last name. We worked together, and one day I waited until I was alone in the room with the scheduling book, and casually searched THE ENTIRE THING trying to figure out his full name. And, for the record, there were a lot of employees working on Main Street at Disneyland at that point. Like, hundreds. It took me a while. At one point, I regretted not making a sandwich beforehand.

Finally, I found it, and I was all, "REALLY? That is the most intense last name I've ever seen in my LIFE! Gah!" At this point, I was already entertaining thoughts of marriage and what names our children would have, even though he had yet to show any interest in me whatsoever, or even acknowledge my existence. (This type of thing was fairly usual. I'm not going to lie.) At that moment, I basically started practicing my new signature in my head, and didn't like what I saw. I mean, it had taken me nineteen years to perfect my signature, and I was really wondering if it would be physically possible to change it.

Well, a little over a year later, I had no choice. We were madly in love, and going to tie the knot. I was entirely too old fashioned to do the whole keep-my-own-last-name thing or the let's-hyphenate-it-to-make-things-fair thing. I would soon have an intense, long, often mispronounced, German last name. Soon, random customers at work would feel the need to speak to me in German, thinking I was fluent in my native tongue. Soon, it would take me a full twenty seconds to spell it out over the phone. Soon, I would be forced to change my adorable, tiny signature.

Is it terrible that I was really sad? I was literally mourning the loss of my last name.

Surprisingly enough, at this point, I absolutely adore my last name. It's an odd thing, really - it took me a while to really get used to it. (And to perfect my signature, which is something that is very important to an obsessively artistic perfectionist, such as myself.) At this point, I can't imagine my name being any other way. When I think of my maiden name, I think of myself as a little girl. I don't think of the person I am now, or my future. I know that it may be odd to put that much importance on a name, but that's just the way I am. When I think about it now, I love how my last name is his, and I love how having that last name connects me even more to his incredible family and heritage.

Granted, I won't be able to live out my fantasy of naming my first daughter Felicity, because with that name combined with a last name like ours, she won't be able to spell her name correctly until she is in the fifth grade or something. I guess I'm okay with that, though. If that's the worst of my problems, I guess I can deal with it.

And, anyway, you should see my signature. It's awesome.

66 comments :

  1. I love your initials! :>)

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  2. I was kinda the same way...but about my initials. They used to be JAM before I was married...and I loved it! People even called me that. Now I'm not a JAM anymore...but a JAR. I was not pleased...

    But, I warmed up to it. I also really liked the idea of taking his last name. It's something of his that he wanted to give me...and now we are a family!

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  3. I love your first name too! It's adorable.

    And I love how you casually searched the entire schedule book. We girls... are so funny.

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  4. I like your first name, too - especially the spelling. It's much nicer than the SATC spelling "Carrie". :)

    I am intrigued about your German last name (though I know you won't post it online, but maybe you'll share it with me in an email?) because I am German myself and gave up my very German last name for a very American one (or, actually British)... ;)

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  5. I went the opposite, from an impossible to pronounce German maiden name to a simple (still German) married name. After almost 3 years of marriage, I love it. It seems like it takes some time to sink in and become real. Now I sign it without thinking about it, it's just my name.

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  6. When I used to play with Barbies, I always named my doll Kerri (though I don't know if I spelled it that way in my head).

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  7. I agree with you 100% and went through the same thing! My maiden name is only THREE letters and I absolutely loved it. It even sounded perfect when I say my full name. I think the only sad thing on our wedding day was the fact that I was no longer going to have my last name and my dad is the last one since we don't have any boys on our side. :(

    Tyler's last name is TWO words. I found it annoying when people would ask me how to spell it out. I think I'm still not used to it. Don't get me wrong, I agree, I love how it connects me with Tyler. Luckily for me my initials are the same.

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  8. i was fortunate to go from a completely mortifying last name of four letters to the lovely and easy last name of masters...i pretty much love it...
    also kerri/carrie is one of my favs...i actually wanted 'keri' for my first daughter but eh my husby's sister is carrie so it was a no go for him...

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  9. I don't know anyone in my family who changed their last name. Mostly I'm referring to the second generation. But if I did it would make everyone else's life easier prounouncing my new last name but I'm attached to my maiden name and my hubby has no issue with it.

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  10. When I first saw your name, I was seriously like, "Is this pretty girl for reals? Even her NAME is adorable!" I will have serious, serious issues once I have to change my name (I think it's inevitable) so for now, I'm basking in my current name. P.S. Your posts are soooooooooooooo good.

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  11. I also went from a hard to spell (and pronounce) German maiden name to an simple, easy name. I had no problems with changing my name, I didn't have a great connection to my previous last name. I'm not sure why, I just never really felt all that strongly about it. However, I do feel this new one is more "me".

    Speaking of naming, it's funny, I actually never really use my real first name, but rather a nickname and I feel this nickname embodies who I am more than the original. I wish I had actually legally changed my name to the nickname when I was going through the hubbub of name changing. I talked to my mom about it this week and she said she wouldn't have cared and that she thinks of me as my nickname anyway. Maybe in the future...

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  12. I know what you mean, having just given up my very-American, normal, easy-to-spell last name and opted with hubs's VERY irish, spelling-it-over-the-phone-for-twenty-minutes last name. I'm just happy to share that with him though.

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  13. I've always liked my first name, and I've definitely been the same way of every time I meet a guy I'm interested in I immediately picture his last name affixed to the end of my first...I think it's a girl thing.

    I like the spelling of Kerri, too! If it makes you feel better about the meaning, my name means "bitter" :)

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  14. I kind of felt the same way. My first name is kind of crazy, and my maiden name matched very well. The idea of trading in my awesome family name for "Martin" killed me. But, come to find out it actually works quite well.:)

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  15. Aww that's cute. I grew up with a basically simple Polish last name that I can't wait to get rid of because people can't pronounce and spell it either. Argh.

    Fun fact:

    Kerri Russell plays Felicity Porter on the show Felicity.

    I'm lame.

    http://fab.typepad.com

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  16. I have a German name that no one can ever pronounce (that's their fault, too, it's probably the easiest German name to pronounce ever), and I used to hate it, but I've grown fond of it. It's my family, my history. The thought of not having it makes me sad.

    Kerri is a great name. Kerri Russell is one the coolest people ever. I definitely like Kerri more than Carrie, too.

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  17. my best friend growing up was named Kerri. to this day, you and her are the only two people i have ever seen with that name spelled that way. :)

    my name was Robin for the first two days i was alive. when it came time to fill out the birth certificate and make everything official, my mom freaked and changed it in a split second decision, without so much as a mention of it to my father. i love it.

    and really? your name means dark hair, mine? Ewe. as in sheep. come onnn.

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  18. I always hated my maiden name - it was so boring. . .but my initials made up for it - AT. I like my married name even if my initials aren't cool any more.

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  19. Welcome to the "sisterhood of really long, hard to spell/pronounce German names". I was born w/ one of those & just really hope that I will maybe marry a guy w/ a last name like Smith. Or Jones. I'm not kidding. ;)

    Problem is that the older I get (I'm 28), the harder it will be to assume my future husbands name. Especially when you are established in your career & have so many contacts. I feel like if I change my name, I will cease to exist to some people, if that makes any sense.

    But if/when I get married, I guess I will just have to deal w/ that & will have to hope that people will ask around if they can't find me in our outlook address book! :P

    So, um, I am sending out a message to the universe: future husband, hurry the heck up and find me. thanks.

    PS I love the spelling of your first name! :)

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  20. I was really bummed when I found my hubs last name! I had a fab maiden name and now I have a 3 letter, and yet always mispronounced name. I feel like you now, though. My maiden name was for when I was little, and look ma, I am a big girl now! We do share a last initial. :)

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  22. Sorry, I posted the same thing twice. Oh, and you worked in Disneyland?!? Thant is awesome!

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  23. I absolutely love my signature. I want to get married and take a man's last name, but I fear what my signature will look like afterward.

    Yes. I'm one of those girls that practices.

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  24. Great topic! My first name is Cari, so I totally get the sisterhood-of-special-ways-to-spell-our-name thing (although I always referred to it as a secret society). When I was younger, I used to make lists of every different type of spelling of my name that I could find, and then I'd harass my mom and be like "why didn't you name me Kerri? Why didn't you name me Carrie?" 26 years later, though, I absolutely love having a unique spelling!

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  25. I am the same way about my name :) Although I have a last name that is Polish and nobody ever says it right. When I get married I will have a plain jane last name that everyone has, and is at the beginning of the alphabet. I never wanted to be that kid in school that was at the beginning or end of the alphabet. My poor future children, le sigh! I really like your name spelled that way.

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  26. First of all, I don't know any other Kerri's, so you are special! :) Second, I definitely know what it's like to have a unique name you take pride in. You know my real name isn't Lily and the whole paranoia thing? Well, I suppose I'm not really paranoid, but I don't need my family and bosses reading the intimate details of DW's life that are safe to write under Lily's disguise.

    Also, I know many women who have had an identity issue changing their name to their married name, and I have also met a guy and immediately thought about how his name would sound with mine. I even ruled out a guy my mom wanted to match me up with on the sheer basis that his last name was Doody. Sorry, but no.

    Sweet post - you'll have to show me your signature in Vegas! :)

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  27. I actually figured out your name in a previous post somewhere and a comment was left and they addressed you by your first name...I had wondered if that was a mistep on their part but I guess now it doesn't matter :) I love the name by the way and I agree, I don't think any other name for myself would fit the same. I'm Sara. Not Sarah. No "H" thanks! :) My last name is German too (10 letters) and I used to be made fun of because of what it can sound like, horrible people. When David and I get married I'll take on a Polish last name that sounds fun, it's unique and it's only six letters! Only thing, my initials will no longer be SMD they will be SMM. :( Just doesn't go well as initials I think!

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  28. Haha...Loved this post...I am going to be going from a long name to a short name and feel exactly the same about it...I am sure I will get used to it and grow to love it:) Kerri is an awesome name too:):)

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  29. I hear that it's not uncommon at all for brides to mourn the changing of their names. So you're not weird. (Unless you want to be.)

    I have the opposite problem. My last name is German, and it sounds funny, and people tend to laugh when they hear it, and it's embarrassing.

    I would LOVE to change my last name, because my husbands name is easy to pronounce/spell, and it's strong and royal-sounding.

    However, I immigrated using my maiden name. The immigration process still isn't over, and it would be too confusing to change my name right now.

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  30. your name is pretty fabulous. i'm very much in love with my name too, especially since it's so uniquely spelled. :)

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  31. My full name, first middle and hyphenated last name is 30 letters long all together, so i know what you mean, my first name is Cornelia so i always have to spell it, and then my last name i also always have to spell. And just to make things difficult i always seem to live on streets with not so easy names to spell either. Now i dont even say it, i just spell it immediately!

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  32. Oh gosh, I always thought it was "steen." I am the worst friend ever. Thank you for schooling me.

    Well, I never knew you with your maiden name, but I love your full name. I think it has a wonderful ring to it, even now that I can pronounce it correctly. ;)

    Personally, I don't think I'll ever change my last name. Even if, by some chance, I end up married, I think I'll always keep it. Neither my brother nor myself plan to have kids so, after us, this name is a goner. So I want to keep it around as long as possible. Because I think it's pretty amazing, even though everyone totally butchers it. I might be 5 simple letters but, trust me, you have to be in the 98th percentile to get it right the first time.

    Oh, and, finally, spending 8 months working at a receiving desk where I signed my name on those digital FedEx clipboard 16 times a day thoroughly ruined my signature. It's just a swirl now. Oh, well.

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  33. I sorta hate my maiden name but I'm squimish about it changing in August! Of course, the boy has a super badass last name, but it took me soooo long to figure out how to make my W's so pretty. All that time in the 6th grade looping W's this way and that have gone to waste. P's are boring and look weird next the the R of my first name, but I'll just have to get over it. (See? You're not the only one who geeks out about this stuff!!)

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  34. I went from having a first name that no one pronounces right and a last name that everyone can say... to a first name that no one can pronounce and a (German) last name that everyone pronounces wrong. But I love it. I am the only one of me on the planet, probably.

    And I love my signature, too. :)

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  35. i also like my current last name and plan to just add my future husband's name after it because i don't want to completely give it up. that way i can keep mine but still use his, too.

    and i too have just learned to perfect my signature and don't want to change it!

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  36. I know exactly what you mean about mourning your maiden name. I LOVE my maiden name because it has alliteration. They both start with B and R and my maiden name is short. (sorry, I have chronic paranoia as well). Anyway, at least you have a fun name now. Mine sounds gross... think "blood and _____" and that's my last name. Interesting, but not exactly something that slips off the tongue in alliterated glory ;)

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  37. You seriously crack me up every time I read your blog! Love it.

    The last name thing is something I can totally relate to. While my current last name is often mispronouned and misspelled, I'm going to miss it when it's gone. I feel that my first and last names are both just unique enough, and I like it that way!

    Also, I have a tendency to date guys with horrible last names. I never realize how terrible their names are, being so smitten with them, until someone points it out to me... but oh well. Love is love, no matter what your name is :)

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  38. Incidentally, I was just wondering today what your name could be because I noticed you never mentioned it. How bizarre and coincidental! And then your post shows up on my Google Reader. :)

    Kerri is a beautiful name. I'm jealous because I don't (never really have) liked mine.

    PS: I love your blog; I'm sure you've heard that a thousand times, but I feel like I'm talking to a close friend every time I read your posts.

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  39. I'm very selfish in that I don't want to change my last name, and was almost too excited when I found out I wouldn't have to. G is Puerto Rican and they don't do the name change thing when they get married, his mother and father have different last names. I just adore my full name and wouldn't want to be without it...sure it will cause some confusion here in the states, but I do not care one little bit.

    I love when women love taking on their husband's last name though, and it's so sweet that you have grown so accustomed to it. It's beautiful. :)

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  40. It took me a wee while to get used to my new last name. I've has the same one for 25 years, and it flowed well. My maiden name is quite rare as well, which i liked

    Like you, I felt that it would be strange to get married without changing my name, and for the most part, it is still the way things are done in the UK. Fortuntely, I've gotten used to my new name, and I still get a thrill out of saying 'this is Mrs Hughes' when I use the phone!

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  41. I was really glad to give up my maiden name. It was super common (Williams), and combined with my first name, I was just one of hundreds. Now with my new name, I'm less common, which I really prefer. Plus I really love Cale's dad's side of the family, who I now share my last name with. Oh and going from W to C really moved me up in the alphabet. Not that it really matters as an adult, but in school I HATED being at the end of the alphabet.

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  42. I love the spelling of your name. My name is Cari which I like because it's also spelled a little differently than the common Carrie. I love my maiden name also but I am lucky that my fiance name is pretty cool too.

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  43. I have a seriously cool last name. The last name that I will be taking in about four months is boring (think Smith). I won't do the hypen and it confuses people if your last name doesn't match your husbands. It will be tough.

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  44. That's so funny! I guess you know my name is abnormally long first and last name. I'm constantly having to correct the pronunciation of name and I'm so used to it that when I was at uni and they were calling the roll for class when they hesitated before a name I would say my name before they would even attempt it (I knew it would probably be my name since they did it in alphabetical order) =)

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  45. The last two lines of this post confirm just why you are one of my favourites! ;) And I've always felt that way when I meet other brandy's- like we are some secret pact of awesome that no one else can really understand.

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  46. Aww Kerri!
    Your maiden name was so delicate and reminds me of a lovely meadow, not unlike the one in which Edward reveals his true self to Bella...
    And your new last name is like.... A fairytale!! Much like the Snow Queen. I think of a palace all white and sparkly!!
    I can't think of any last names that go well with Kaarin... :(

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  47. Hi, my name is Ashley and I just found your blog through my sister who works at the NB Film Festival. (she says she's met you a couple times - she always works at the table selling tickets).

    I have spent all night reading a bunch of your posts and I am totally loving your blog. You are hilarious and most often than not I find myself wondering if we are the same person because there is so much you say that is so me.

    I am totally paranoid (and totally not rational) about crazy people finding me through my blog and doing something ridiculous out of a made-for-TV movie.

    There are other similarities as well but I'll spare you... or maybe just go to those posts and comment about it :)

    Anyway, just wanted to say hi, tell you I love your blog and I already feel like we could be real life best friends... in a totally not creepy way.

    (I really hope you don't think this is creepy. I'm not going to stalk you, I swear. Just think you are funny and real and so much like me :)

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  48. I love my name: Becka Knight. It's short, it's cute, it's somewhat unique. I love it. Nate's last name is nice. It's longer, pretty average, and starts with the same letter that my first name starts with (boooo alliteration) so I'm a little sad about the possibility of changing it one day. Plus, his last name is long and so is my first name. (Rebecca) I go by my nickname now but after changing my last name I'll probably go by Rebecca again. Ugh, I don't know...

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  49. love this post. I've never really heard someone describe taking someone else's name in this way. but I imagine it would be kind of a loss. but I like how you said you connect your maiden name to being a little girl and see your new last name as connected to your future, with your husband. very sweet. I am traditional in that way too and will take my husband's last name. Not sure what it will be yet, but bring on the long confusing name. what the heck? people already have a hard time pronouncing my first name! :) (which means "beloved" btw)

    oh, and I love the name Kerri. I really like Kate to. I think Ks are very feminine for some reason. And Felicity is a beautiful name. too bad it doesn't have "a ring to it" with your last name :)

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  50. I'm just going to come right out and say it: I love you!! Seriously, every post I love you more. :)

    My signature is so important to me too... I love it. And I loved changing my last name when I got married, because I went from an "H" to a "B". I could never figure out what to do with an "H", it's just so straight and up and down. But a "B"-- now there's some curvy, loopy fun!

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  51. You're lucky you love your first name at least! My first name is one of the most popular first names for girls in the 80s and I can't stand how common it is. I already warned my boyfriend that when we start having kids he's going to have to rein it in with the baby names, otherwise we'll wind up with a kid named Banana Daffodil or something equally bizarre.

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  52. I just found your adorable blog!! I just wanted to say hi and that I would search an entire schedule book too. :)

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  53. i'm the total opposite of you! My first name and maiden name both start with M. I HATED saying my whole name, the alliteration killed me! I couldn't wait to get married and change my name! My signature is totally screwed up and I can no longer initial things with a scribble and pretend it says "MM" but it's ok. ;)

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  54. you worked at disney? im a huge disney fan.. anyways.. at this stage ive decided im not going to change my name, as i love my maiden name. Eventually i feel i will hyphenate the two and the children will always have the married name, i just feel that this name is mine, and it is who i am and if i change it, i wont be anymore. My name is my virtue

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  55. I'm not going to lie, I totally love disneyland. And the fact that you met your husband at disneyland is pretty much the awesomest thing ever.

    I still don't know what I'm going to do when/if I get married. I feel like my last name is so connected to my identity, and that taking on someone else's would be like starting over again. I've considered hyphenating, but I don't think it will work out well. (For example, if I married Brad Pitt, my name would then become Chanel Wood-Pitt. Yeah, no.) ... I'll worry about it when the time comes. :P

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  56. Here I come with my creepy van!! *lol*

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  57. Lol, I'm like that too. Some bloggers seem to put all their details out there for the world to see... I follow one like that and I'm always thinking "She wrote what?? She took a photo of that place and now we all know where she goes all the time?? Is she insane??!!".

    I, on the other hand, keep it zipped. No names of my hub even. No name of my "baby girl".

    I will tell you this though, I purchase a notebook from you the other week and you sent it far, far away... and I love it!! It's so adorable and sweet. Thank you so much for making it available!!

    Oh, and I have a long last name that is my own. I didn't take my husband's shorter name when we married, because it's Arabic and no one knows how the hell to say it. At least my long surname is a suburb here so people say it right... but they can't spell it for s*&t. !!

    xx

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  58. I feel the same way, about the Sisterhood of the K-e-r-r-i Kerris.

    I've only found two other K-e-r-r-i Kerris in my time online, and to find one that is from my same home-state is sort of amazing.

    Do you know the girl who played Andy in The Goonies is a K-e-r-r-i Kerri?

    Oh, and my last name. I couldn't give it up when I got married. For one, it didn't make a ton of sense to me, but there is also huge sentimental value in keeping my father's name after losing him when I was young. Chris was amazingly understanding about it, and I've never regretted the decision for a single second.

    xo

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  59. Let me tell you about my only experience (other than you of course!) with a Kerri. She essentially broke my heart in third grade. I gave her half of one of those "best friend" necklaces before school started one morning. At recess, she ran up to me and shoved it back in my face, exclaiming, "I already have a best friend!"

    Hmm... couldn't have fooled me, you little twit. Did we not have sleep overs every weekend? Did we not play barbies, go to dance class, and belong to the same brownie troop together?

    DID WE NOT SHARE A TENT!?

    I shake my fist at you Kerri! I shake my fist at you for teaching me at the young age of eight years old that people are cruel. :sob:

    And that's my story about Kerri.

    You are way nicer than her. And you aren't all sickly and orange like you do nothing but carrots and hibernate in tanning beds. (What? Facebook!)

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  60. Hey Kerri - I'm a Keri! I have to say - I'm going through the issues of dealing with a new last name now. I can't stand his family and his family hates me - no real reason - they don't even like each other. I've begged him to take my last name. My family has welcomed him with open arms and has actually supported him. All his family does is hurt his feelings! I'm having such issues. I just can't justify taking on a name of a family who can't even show up to the wedding of their son or brother. *sigh* what to do what to do!

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  61. I know exactly what you mean by the last name thing. I have a pretty simple maiden name but when I get married next year, I'm taking on my fiance's nearly impossible Polish conundrum of a last name.

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  62. in the same boat literally- except the disneyland part and I spell my name caree.

    if my honey ever gets around to proposing, I too, will go from a cute, 6-letter maiden name that starts with the same letter as my first name.... to a 10-letter yugoslavian name that -no one- outside of The Point can pronounce.

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  63. I'm a little late to the ball game on this one, but oh well!! I went from a nice American (?) last name to a difficult-to-spell-without-asking-at-least-twice Italian last name. And my favorite is when people ask me if I'm a good Italian cook. Hello? I have blond hair & blue eyes, do you really think I was born Italian? I'm glad there are other girls out there that had to shed their easy last names too!

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  64. I hate my last name (you know it because I just ordered from you!) but love my initials, SKB. I go by my middle name, & have always thought that when I get married, I'll drop my first name, make my middle my first & my maiden my middle, and be KB_, whatever the new initial is... but it still makes me a little sad. I don't want to let go of my initials, as much as I'm dying to ditch my last name!

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  65. I just found your blog and so I'm commenting on this old post but SISTER I feel you. I went from Maxwell, which I LOVED LOVED LOVED, and with a first name like Taryn (spending all my life saying "like Karen, with a T!") it was such an easy ending. But I fell in love with a German as well...Peine. That's Pie + Knee. That's an entire town in Germany. Now my initials are TP. And no one can pronounce my first or last name. And many people find my blog after googling the misspelling of a male naughty bit. But, like you, I'm in love, so who cares. Plus, I always wanted to be a one-name wonder anyway, like Oprah and Cher :-) PS love your blog!!

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  66. I just came across your blog, and this is so ironic to me. I had a maiden name that was on of the names in the Bible. It was very easy. I was very hesitant to change it, but at the marriage license office, my husband was like, Please? As a wedding gift? I had fully intended to hyphenate, creating one of those long 14 letter names you speak of.

    I have been married now for 2 years and 4 months, and you're right. The Biblical last name was the little girl's last name. My long, mispronounced last name is me: the adult, the wife, the one who has to keep track of the bills, instead of writing I heart {insert boy of the week} on my notebooks!

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