17 Action-Packed, Fun-Filled Road Trip Movies for Families

July 29, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

As summer winds down, families everywhere are taking one last vacation before the rigors of the school year take back the reins. And nothing epitomizes the family vacation more than a road trip. Parents, kids, and other assorted passengers piled into the family car; crisscrossing the country in search of excitement, enjoying the togetherness, pausing for the random road side oddity. It’s an adventure like no other.

For the nights you’re not on the road (but still hoping to cram in as much family fun as possible), nothing beats family movie night! Whether you’re snuggled up on the sofa or camped out in the backyard, these films capture all the adventure, fun, and occasional misfortune of the family road trip.

So grab the popcorn — and your map, compass, flashlight or fairy dust — and settle in for a rip-roaring, vicarious vacation.

Did everyone use the bathroom? We’ve got a long trip ahead of us…

17 Family-Friendly Road Trip Movies

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The M Word: A Gay Dad’s Journey to Appreciating His Son’s Birthmother

July 20, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

Listen to Your Mother - The M Word - birthmother

I had the honor of participating in Listen To Your Mother – a curated show of readings about moms and motherhood. I was the only male in our cast, and I shared a bit of my journey regarding Jon’s birthmother.

I’ve not written much about this topic, for the sake of my son’s privacy as well as that of his birthmom. However, the events encapsulated in my 6-minute reading took several years in real time, and included a slew of emotions ranging from fear and resentment, to disappointment and anger.

Many adoptive parents struggle silently with guilt and confusion over how they think they should feel about their child’s biological parents, versus how they actually feel. I’m sharing this for those parents — so they won’t feel alone like I did so much of the time. So they’ll know there are no right or wrong ways to think and feel about these complicated relationships.

I may write about this more in time — particularly as it relates to being a gay dad. But for now, thank you for watching (or reading). And if you have one to share, I’d love to listen to your story, too.

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Loving Your Kid Is Easy. Liking? Not so Much

July 13, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Of course I love my son. However, I find it nearly impossible to like him sometimes. If you’re a parent (and honest), you’ve been through this, too — times when you look at your child and wonder what the hell you’re going to do to survive the next 10-15 years. The next 10-15 minutes.

I was going through one of these unlikable times recently. Then one evening as I tucked my 5-year-old in bed, I thought about how much I treasure this particular part of being a parent — this brief but precious moment of connectedness. It reminded me that in merely surviving between crises, I had neglected to focus on what I enjoy about being a dad…and what I like about my son.

So as an exercise in restoring some sanity and peace to my head and household, I spent some time considering the best parts of being this boy’s dad. And instead of attempting to churn out a long, impressive list, I picked a few to mull, ponder, and let sink in.

Here are five things I like about my kid:

5 Things I Like About My Kid

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A Thank You Note to Straight People

July 6, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

The Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage couldn’t have happened without straight people — and not just the five Supreme Court justices that voted in favor of it…

Thank you Straight People, Love, A Gay Dad

Dear Straight People,

Thank you. Thank you for cheering right alongside us as we in the LGBT community celebrate a newfound, long-overdue measure of equality. Thank you for the endless sea of rainbow-colored photos. Thank you for voting. Thank you for teaching your children (and sometimes your parents) that not every family is the same, yet deserving of the same respect. Thank you for telling them that whether they grow up to love the opposite gender or their own, you will still love them. Thank you for encouraging them to be whoever they were meant to be. Thank you for trying to understand and to learn. Thank you for asking questions, even if you don’t always have the right words. Thank you for being fair and equal in your schools, your jobs, your churches, and your neighborhoods. Thank you for defending us in a fight, even when we’re not around. Especially when we’re not around.

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Can’t Wait for Episode VII? LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales is Here!

July 4, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales

Back in February, you may remember I attended a conference in San Francisco. One of the many highlights of the Dad 2.0 Summit was a private tour of Lucasfilm! Sponsored by LEGO, it included a screening of top secret footage from an upcoming LEGO Star Wars project. Well, that project is now set to premiere, and I’m as giddy as a Gungan!

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales is a five episode series that acts as a helpful (and hilarious) way to catch up prior to December’s premiere of Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens!

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5 Rebooted TV Shows to Share With Your Kids

June 30, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

One of my favorite things about being a dad is sharing my passions with my son. Whether it’s a certain song, a board game, favorite holiday or superhero, I never tire of re-experiencing these things together — and through his eyes, for the first time.

This is also true with the TV shows and movies I grew up on. Yet some of the shows and films I loved might not yet translate to a 5-year-old’s mind or patience level; or perhaps they didn’t age well; or they’re just plain impossible to find.

But as the saying goes, “Everything old is new again.” (Or was it, “All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again”?) In any event, pretty much anything you were into as a kid (movie, cartoon, comic book, toy, video game, etc.) has been rebooted, rehashed, reconfigured or reborn into a new iteration for you and your kids to enjoy. Here are just a few examples* that our family has found to bridge the generation gap!

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5 Rebooted TV Shows from Your Childhood to Share with Your Kids

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Super Friends
/ Young Justice

Super Friends was absolutely my favorite show as a kid. How can you lose with Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman? Yet as I watch the episodes now, they are as corny as the Wonder Twins’ jumpsuits are an unholy shade of purple. They were fine when my son was little-bity, but today’s kids (at least mine) have much more sophisticated tastes, and Young Justice fits that bill perfectly. It’s like Teen Titans, but with more glowering. Junior versions of the Super Friends/Justice League take on global threats, led by an ultra cool water-sword wielding Aqualad! And don’t worry, the old-timers show up from time-to-time, too.
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Sharing History: A Gay Dad & His Son Take a Field Trip to SCOTUS

June 27, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

I’d been battling a summer cold and was giving my achy muscles a rest, when multiple alerts on my phone roused me from grogginess. At long last, the Supreme Court had ruled to uphold the legality of same-sex marriage! Friends and family were texting, emailing and posting in a celebratory barrage of beeps and tweets.

Yet my relief, excitement and pride were shortly muffled by throbbing sinuses, and I resigned myself to sitting this historic event out. I had been there when DOMA and Prop8 were overturned, we’d been legally married last year, my husband was out of town and I was exhausted from my solo-parenting stint — the reasons to stay in bed were all within easy reach. But something (the social media frenzy? live news reports on the TV in the background? guilt?) moved me to maneuver upright and out of bed, where my thoughts became clearer…

This isn’t about you, or about what you have or haven’t experienced. It’s not about living within reach of where it’s all taking place. This is an opportunity to share a moment with your son. A historic moment in the nation’s evolution. A moment relevant to him and his story.

After a shot of Mucinex, I somehow managed to pull it (snacks, water, metro cards, myself) together, picked Jon up from day camp, and we set out on our adventure.

I told my curious and excited 5-year-old we were going on a field trip to the Supreme Court Building. I told him we would get to ride the subway and a taxi, and that the building looked kind of like the Hall of Justice. He was already sold by the how and where, but I needed to explain the why.

Remember when Daddy and Papa got married, and how much fun that was? (Nods) Well, we were able to get married and be a family because it was legal in our state. But there were still a lot of families with two mommies or two daddies in other states that couldn’t get married because they weren’t allowed to. Because it wouldn’t count. (Look of concern) Until today. The Supreme Court is where they decide all the laws in the country, and they said that any two people can get married anywhere and be a family — and they said that was the law just today. So we’re going to celebrate!

Pauses. Mulls.

So, it’s gonna be… like a little party?

Our field trip to SCOTUS the day same-sex marriage became legal

A day of so many firsts, including Jon’s first time in a taxi.

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Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage in the United States!

June 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

I can’t believe it’s finally here… my last state magnet post commemorating the progression of same-sex marriage across the United States! For those of you just joining this odd journey and wondering why the heck I chose this method to mark the march of progress, you can poke around these posts. Or just go with it.

I’d done a little prep work asking for magnets from the hold-out remaining states, so was a tiny bit ahead of the game. Then I went and got sick, laid up for a couple of days. I was sleeping when the Supreme Court announced their ruling, but eventually got a spark of inspiration and took my son on a spur-of-the-moment field trip to SCOTUS (more about that trip in a future post). Which is why I’m just now getting around to this.

From the moment SCOTUS’ ruling was read this morning, I started getting messages and texts along the lines of, “Now you gotta find a magnet for the whole USA!”

I thought about it, but quickly decided against it. While the state governments (and quite a few of the citizens) of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas deserve to have their noses rubbed in this victory, those couples waiting and hoping and fighting to get married in those states do not. They deserve their own day — their own magnetic moment in the sun, as it were.

So without further fanfare, the remaining state magnets…

Same-Sex Marriage in the United States!
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New Ads from Hillary, Dove, Tylenol Show Gay & Lesbian Families. Does It Still Matter?

June 25, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

new ads with gay and lesbian families

As the months and days have counted down to the presumed legalization of same-sex marriage, more companies (and politicians) continue to produce ads with gay and lesbian families and couples. But do they still make an impact? What do they say about the companies airing them? Do they still even matter? READ FULL ARTICLE >>

28 Reasons Being Legally Married Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 18, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

Marriage equality currently sits on the Supreme Court’s docket, awaiting a final ruling. Though not assured, all signs point to same-sex marriage finally being legalized in the entire United States by month’s end.

I’ve put a lot of words on this site about same-sex marriage — about mine and others'; about the depiction, support and condemnation of gay marriage in the media and politics; and about its slow progression to acceptance…one ponderous magnet at a time.

Waiting with hopeful anticipation, I’m (nearly) at a loss for words. But many others are not — men who have shared their stories and their families with me over the last few years. Many who have become friends in this herky-jerky journey of being a gay man and a father. I’ve pulled together a fraction of the tales that have paved the long, bumpy road to equality — and the reasons these dads love (or look forward to) being married.

So as we await SCOTUS’ decision, please join me in wishing these dads and their children a long-overdue, exceptionally, abundantly awesome (and legally married), Happy Fathers’ Day!

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1. Your Love Knows No Bounds…or Boundaries

Brian & Ferd, married 6/10/13, Toronto; moving back to New York City in July. [Photo courtesy of Brian Rosenberg]

28 Reasons Being Legally Married Gay Dads Is Awesome!

Brian and Ferd were married on their 20th anniversary as a couple. Several years earlier they had moved to Toronto from New York, as Ferd was coming on the end of his legal status in the US (he’s Dutch). Six days after their wedding in Canada, SCOTUS ruled that they could now get married in the US and both be eligible for federal benefits of marriage. Brian can now sponsor his husband for permanent residency, and the couple is moving back to New York next month. Welcome back, guys!
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