A Family Walk In The Woods

April 21, 2014 | By Brent Almond | QUICKPIC, SCRAPBOOKING

We’ve been taking family walks in the woods since our only child was four-legged. Actually a bike path near the local dog park, it’s always been a great place to let Cordi sniff and poop and run around off-leash. (Not fond of dog parks, our baby girl’s more fond of her people.) The path also offers a quiet escape, a shady respite from the summer/spring/autumn heat. And it’s the perfect place to find rocks for Papa to border the landscaping in our yard.

So this past weekend we set off on a family walk/rock hunting expedition, so Papa could get some rocks and check off an item on his pre-wedding to-do list. We loaded up the four-legged kid, the two-legged kid and the wagon, which was for hauling rocks, and ultimately, a tired two-legged kid.

A Walk In The Woods Papa and JJ

As evidenced by the hat and shirt, JJ had been to a friend’s birthday party earlier that day at the neighborhood fire station. It was Papa’s turn to take him (I took him to a party last weekend), but it was Papa’s second fire station party. I think I need to plan better next time, or just claim dibs on the next party featuring firemen. Just sayin’…

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#TBE (Throwback Easter)

April 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | QUICKPIC, SCRAPBOOKING

With wedding plans having taken up so much time lately, Easter has been relegated to an afterthought. Having grown up the son of a preacher man, Easter was a pretty big deal. I’ve always wondered what families that celebrate just the bunnies and egg hunts and craploads of candy get out of Easter. But now we’re kind of one of those families, so when I realized we weren’t going to my parents’ house for the Big E, I felt, I don’t know…nostalgic. Perhaps homesick? Maybe even the tiniest bit guilty.

I’m thinking maybe my mom’s super psychic mom-powers are enhanced during Holy Week, because now she and my dad are driving the almost 2 hours to visit us. It’s more likely they want to smooch on one of their favorite grandsons, seen here in a Throwback Easter pic from two years ago…
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throwback easter bunny

Yes, he’s going to hate me for this someday. I don’t care.

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So while having my parents around will ease some of the glumness I felt last week, it won’t keep me from being nostalgic about this little bunny boy who continues to grow and grow by leaps and bounds, and who no longer allows me to dress him up in such adorable humiliating get-ups.

Sigh. I could stare at this all day…but I gotta go hide some eggs. Happy Easter everybody!

Defying Hail Hydra

April 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | QUICKPIC

I finally saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier last weekend, but cut me some slack, because babysitters are expensive! I also finally saw Wicked a few weeks ago. Cut me some slack again, because… well, I don’t deserve any for that one. I’m a bad, bad gay.

After seeing the former, the “Hail Hydra” meme finally made sense. (Who knew Garry Shandling could get any creepier?) And then I remembered the latter, and realized that no one (that I could find) had done this…

wicked hail hydra meme

Happy Tuesday. You’re welcome.

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And oh yeah, Hail Hydra.

Barilla Wants to Share the Table, Even with Same-Sex Parents

April 14, 2014 | By Brent Almond | FRIDGE WISDOM, LEARNING CURVES

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla, but opinions are my own.

In September of last year, the chairman of Barilla made the following statements in a radio interview:

“I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect
but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays
a fundamental role. … If [gays] don’t like it, they can go eat another brand.” 1

“I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who
is not able to choose.” 2

Like many others, I found Guido Barilla’s comments ignorant, insulting and infuriating. Our family is made up of two gay dads (one of whom is Italian) and an adopted son, all of us consumers of large amounts of pasta. I’m not sure there were any ways left to offend us. So like many others, our family made a conscious decision not to buy their products again.

While I’d heard of efforts on the part of Barilla to make amends, I paid them little mind. I was skeptical they could do anything to salvage a relationship with the LGBT community and our allies.

But then I was asked to take part in Barilla’s Share the Table campaign. And I was approached specifically because I’m a gay father. I learned they’d also enlisted other LGBT bloggers, including fellow parents Polly Pagenhart and Vikki Reich.

According to the materials I was given and my own research, Barilla has been making changes ever since the interview and subsequent boycott. They met with and received counsel from GLAAD; established a Diversity & Inclusion Board and appointed a Chief Diversity Officer; participated in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index; and as evidenced by this post, they want to partner with influencers in the LGBT community as part of Share the Table, to ensure families of all kinds are included.

We’ve all heard plenty of corporate apologies, yet this invitation resonated because it was made directly to me. And as I read more about Barilla’s inclusiveness in regards to the importance of family meal time, I was immediately reminded of our trip to Italy two years ago.

Barilla #ShareTheTable Italy family dinner

One of many long and wonderful meals around Nonna’s table

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11 Ways Not to Treat Your Kid Like a Kid Brother

April 10, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LEARNING CURVES

A couple of days ago my youngest brother (B4*) became a dad. About a week before the due date, we met for lunch and I gave him this:

jj cole

Yup, a diaper bag. I’m THAT awesome of a big brother.

But it wasn’t just any old bag, but a JJ Cole** diaper bag, which — until I handed it to him and told him what it was — my brother thought was my laptop bag. Mission accomplished JJ Cole, on making a diaper bag even a heterosexual/DC attorney/new dad would carry!

In addition to the awesome gift-giving, great BBQ and quality time with my baby bro, the significance of this gift was, well… pretty significant. Because his was the first diaper I ever changed.

I’m the oldest of four brothers and he’s the youngest, eleven years my junior. So I indeed had the privilege of cleaning his poopy baby butt. And as he sometimes wore cloth diapers, he got stabbed with a diaper pin at least once several times. But that wasn’t the worst (or last) bit of pain or hardship inflicted upon him by an elder sibling.

So to make up for a lifetime of torture, I’m giving B4 some unsolicited parenting advice, inspired by the tribulations he endured as the runt of the family. To clarify, these are based on real events, just not all initiated by me. I’m not saying which of his three older brothers did which deed, but mine were of the sneakier, less violent variety.
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SuperLunchNotes: Fire Week!

April 8, 2014 | By Brent Almond | SUPERLUNCHNOTES

In case you’re new here and wondering “WTF are ‘SuperLunchNotes?’” Well, my son started preschool last year, and every day I’ve put a note in his lunch bag featuring a doodle of a superhero. You can check a bunch more by visiting the SuperLunchNotes category on this site, or follow me on Instagram @SuperLunchNotes, where I post them daily!

Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Welcome to FIRE WEEK!!!
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WEEK 34: Mar 31 – Apr 4, 2014
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Firestorm: 3.31.14
SuperLunchNotes - Firestorm - Fire Week

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Do You Have That ICK Factor?

April 6, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DADDY LIKE

clx_ick_awards_logo-blue

Designer Daddy, in conjunction with Life of Dad, in conjunction with How To Be A Dad & Mom Spark, in conjunction with Clorox, is hosting an EP-ICK event on Twitter this Wednesday! It’s the CLOROX ICK AWARDS! But what’s with all the conjunctioning, and what makes this so EP-ICK? (Sorry, that was too clever not to repeat)

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The Redemptive Power of Story Time

April 2, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LEARNING CURVES, RASPBERRIES

story-time

I’ve been going through quite a lot of shit lately. I won’t bore you with the details because we’ve all got details and they’re equally uninteresting to others yet end-of-the-world urgent and/or life-altering to us. And for any of us who are parents, our children are often the primary recipients of said shit run-off. And for any of us who are parents, our children have gained valuable insight (regardless of their age) as to how and where and when to push all our buttons. However I’ve read official research that age 4-1/2 is the worst. True fact.

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SuperLunchNotes: Bird Week!

March 31, 2014 | By Brent Almond | SUPERLUNCHNOTES

In an attempt to bring forth Spring, last week I doodled a flock of super-powered avian adventurers. Yet as I’m typing this, snow is falling. AGAIN. Guess I’ll have to up my game for next week… In the mean time, take a gander at these guys and gals (and ducks) and be sure and Tweet them to all your fine-feathered friends.
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WEEK 33: Mar 24 – Mar 28, 2014
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Raven: 3.24.14
raven

The kiddo and I have been binge-watching Teen Titans Go! lately. I always found Raven a bit annoying in the comics, but I dig her slacker/goth vibe in this iteration. Favorite episode is “Meatball Party,” where Raven becomes annoyed at Cyborg’s unending enthusiasm and devours the whole team with the demon tentacles living in her chipped tooth. Typical.
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The Macaroni Incident

March 29, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LEARNING CURVES

As I’m thick in the throes of wedding planning, I thought it would be a fun to share some witty words from a fellow dad and superhero lover. Yet Charles Baserap is more than your average fanboy. He writes comic reviews at Nerdtopiacast.com, regularly attends cons (he can grow some killer Wolverine mutton chops) and he named his second child Alexander “Lex” Xavier. That kid is destined to be powerful…and bald.

Yet this tale is about Charles’ daughter, who’s the same age as JJ. They too share a love of superheroes, and of being a source of both wonderment and worry for their parents. Enjoy!

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macaroni

When my first child, Anastasia, was about three and half, I picked her up from daycare and it was like any other day. Sure, she was acting a bit moody, but that’s what toddlers do. Terrible twos? That’s just an alliterative smokescreen. That phase starts before they’re two and continues well after. I think I finally outgrew mine at about seven…teen. But the point is that I was able to see something wasn’t quite right with her and she told me her nose hurt. I asked if she bumped it and she meekly said yes, and I thought that was the end of it. Kids bump their noses—and feet, and heads, and everything else they can—all the time. It happens. Then we got to the car and I could tell she wasn’t being completely honest so I asked her about her nose again and she finally fessed up—“I put a piece of pasta in my nose and it got stuck.”

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