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Meet my family:  Halyard is 15 years old and in the 11th grade.  Kaiyo is 14 years old and in the 9th grade.  Avalon is 10 years old and in the 5th grade.  My kids all have nautical inspired names.  Most of the time sailors will recognize Halyard and ask if we are sailors.  Otherwise everyone else asks if Halyard is a family name.  To which I respond his name is the line that takes the sail up and down.  My husband insists that I say “line” as there is no rope on a boat.  So when I further explain that a Halyard is also on a flagpole, I also am careful to say it is the line that takes the flag up and down.  He does have a family middle name though.  His middle name is Handzel, which is John’s Mom’s maiden name.  I think Halyard Handzel sounds like a good TV news anchor name, or some kind of celebrity.

The Japanese kanji characters for Kaiyo mean ocean.  So Kaiyo is the ocean.  I am told that the root Kai is the sea, and adding “yo” to the end makes it BIG.  So he is literally the big sea.  When Kaiyo was still in my tummy I thought we would name him Kobe.  Not really after Kobe Bryant the basketball player, but I am a big Lakers fan.  But tossing around the name Kobe led to my husband thinking about his Chicago roots and Michael Jordan, his city’s basketball hero.  So for a while we thought about the name Kobe Jordan.  It was a fun association and discussion starter for sure.  We also thought about the name Kobe Kaiyo.  But then, shortly before he was born, in 2003, Kobe Bryant was in the spotlight, accused of sexual harassment and more by a gal in Colorado.  His name was all over the headlines and whether he did it or not, the omen seemed bad.  Kobe wasn’t going to have good juju for my new baby.  So we went with Kaiyo and dropped the Jordan and the whole basketball association.  He is Kaiyo Christian instead.

John said he always wanted a little girl named Allison.  Where did that come from?  He doesn’t know.  But when we found out we were having a baby girl, the name battle was on.  He always wanted Allison.  How could we have Halyard and Kaiyo, such unique names, and then name our girl Allison?  It was probably one of the top 10 names of the year she was born.  Humph!  A woman in my mommy circle had named her girl Genoa.  There’s a type of sail named a Genoa.  I loved it.  But there was surely only one Genoa and it seemed like stealing the name.  Another woman in my mommy group suggested Avalon.  Yes!  It was fitting and perfect.  Avalon is a harbor town on Catalina Island.  Catalina is about 26 miles offshore from us here in Newport Beach.  It’s a big sailing destination for Southern California natives.  So she is Avalon Allyson.  I put my own edit on the spelling of her middle name too.  John didn’t appreciate that either.

As for John and I, we met at a classy bar in Key West, Florida called Sloppy Joe’s.  Right there on the the dance floor.  I was living in San Francisco at the time and he was living in Chicago.  It must have been love at first sight!  We’ve been married for 17 years now!