Dad Brag: The Eye of the Tiny Tiger

March 22, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Though I don’t dump much of it here, a lot of what I feel and think about my parenting lately tends to be whiny, worrisome and negative. In an effort to counteract that — both in myself and in my attitudes toward my son — I’m making a concerted effort to focus on the positive, particularly what makes me proud.

My inaugural Dad Brag is about Jon’s adventures in Taekwondo. About a year ago we attended a classmate’s birthday party at a local martial arts studio, and it should have come as no surprise that our energetic then 4-year-old took to it like a duck to Kung Fu.

We enrolled him in the Tiny Tigers class a few months later, and have since watched him flourish under the unimaginably patient tutelage of the instructors. You can feel the energy pouring off of him as he runs laps at the start of class, a telltale sparkle in his eye. And nothing warms my heart more than him completing a task successfully, turning back towards me and giving me a thumbs up, awaiting my reciprocation.

dad brag taekwondo

I take him on Thursday nights, Papa takes him on Saturday mornings, and at the end of January he graduated to Little Dragons — now sporting a cool cammo-patterned white belt as he learns alongside a group mostly older than him. And yet he already longs to advance further, admiring the older kids’ skills as he waits for his class to begin.

dad brag taekwondo

dad brag taekwondo

One Saturday morning, the mom of the other “John” in the class asked Papa if our Jon had older brothers. Answering no, Papa asked why. She replied that he looks like he’s having so much fun all the time — that surely he must have a houseful of older brothers where there is never a dull moment. Papa told her that what he did have was two fathers, to which she smiled and responded, “Well that must be why!”

I don’t know that Jon’s oftentimes tired, old dads can take much credit for his boundless enthusiasm, but in the right setting and mixed with some focus and padded floors, it’s a sight to behold.
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Feel free to brag about your own kids (or yourself) in the comments!

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Dad 2.0 Summit 2015: A Community Reconvenes & Honors A Friend

March 21, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

There were several distinct differences between my first Dad 2.0 Summit and my second. I was a newbie before, now an old hand. After the previous conference, I left with heart and mind bursting at the seams with ideas and plans and inspiration; this year I was determined to come away with a more efficient focus on ways to be a better writer, a better father, a better man.

Yet the theme common to both — and to the times between and since — is community. Here are some highlights from this too-brief time communing in San Francisco with my Dad 2.0 family.
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KEYNOTES

Michael Kimmel, the opening keynote, spoke at length about what makes a good man and a good father. As a professor of sociology and gender studies, and the author of over 20 books, this was right in his wheelhouse. He talked about privilege, referencing one of his own quotes: “Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” Kimmel was referring to men (particularly white men) and their inability to see their own advantage, when compared to women. In fact, the entirety of his talk revolved around men vs. women, and how the differences and comparisons determine how men are viewed (and view themselves) as fathers. Ironically, halfway through the keynote, I started to feel rather invisible. Not once did Kimmel mention gay men or gay dads. For me, being a dad has nothing to do with how I relate to women, but how I relate to my child. Afterwards I thought I might have been being overly-sensitive, yet over the course of that first day, half a dozen guys (one gay, the others straight) mentioned this same omission, wondering if I had noticed and how it had affected me. Admittedly, it threw me a bit. I was well aware the vast majority of the men at this conference were heterosexual; yet I didn’t expect to be reminded of that so prominently and so early in the conference.

Dad 2.0 Summit 2015

Silicon Valley execs talk innovations for working parents: Michael Rothman (Fatherly), Kevin McSpadden (Facebook), Tim Catlin (Change.org), Nina McQueen (LinkedIn)

The second keynote of the weekend was my favorite by far, as it featured a panel of Silicon Valley executives, talking about their respective company’s benefits, and the ways they support parents of any gender and families of any makeup. Particularly encouraging was the presence of Kevin McSpadden, the Director of Marketing at Facebook, and a fellow gay dad. Not only are these companies innovative in their technology, but in their appreciation of the balance between work and family life, regardless of what that family looks like.
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Win 4 Tickets to Disney’s Cinderella!

March 7, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

giveaway disney cinderella movie fandango

Your Fairy Goddaddy is here to grant your wish!

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I’m giving away 4 VIP tickets to an advance screening of Disney’s new live-action Cinderella!

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BIPPIDI-BOPPIDI-BOO! This is a super quickie giveaway — enter the contest widget below by the stroke of midnight SUNDAY, MARCH 8 or you’ll end up alone, without anything to wear, sitting in a pumpkin, surrounded by a bunch of rats.

WHAT YOU’LL WIN:
4-pack of VIP screening tickets
Guaranteed seating (the screening is first come, first served for everyone else)
Free snacks
Prizes
Cate Blanchett as The Wicked Stepmother

And even if you don’t win, you can still attend the screening for FREE — just register here.

SCREENING DETAILS:
CINDERELLA
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter
Rated PG
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
7:00 pm
Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14701 7th St NWDC 20001

BONUS PRIZE FOR EVERYONE! Come dressed in your best princess (or prince) outfit, come find me and Jon and get an special Designer Daddy prize!

TO ENTER:
In the comments section, tell me your favorite Disney Princess or Prince, and I’ll choose a winner at random. So easy, it’s magical!

Congratulations to Salman S. for winning the 4 VIP tickets! Thank you to everyone who entered, and I hope to see you at the movie!
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All entries must be completed by 11:59pm ET on March 8, 2015.

Giveaway courtesy of Fandango Family, who is also providing tickets for my family, so we will see you there!

fandango family

Where Do Gay Dads Fit into ‘Amazon Mom’?

March 5, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

#AmazonFamilyUS - Amazon Family Gay Dads

Everyone knows that The Gays love to shop. OK, maybe not all gays, but certainly a healthy percentage do. Stereotypes carry a measure of truth, after all.

Gay dads are no different. We still spend a lot of money on clothes, appliances and travel, it’s just that those clothes are now Onesies, the appliances are now Diaper Genies, and the travel is now to Disney World.

And just like the rest of the modern world, we do a ton of shopping on Amazon.

I’ve long been a subscriber to Amazon Prime, their frequent-shopper discount program. Then when Papa and I started stocking up for impending parenthood, Amazon began sending us emails and peppering us with ads about their family-focused program, Amazon Mom.

Being a two-dad family, it was a little annoying to see yet one more thing that made us feel invisible. However, we were still jumping through hoops to complete our adoption, and advocating in our home state to legalize same-sex marriage. We had more important battles to wage.

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Eulogy for Oren Miller: A Blogger, A Father, A Friend

March 2, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Since my friend Oren Miller was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2014, I’ve written about him only once. Between Oren’s own devastating and inspiring words and those voiced by so many others, I’ve not felt the need to share my own. Perhaps because I was too close, too involved, or because I had the privilege of offering my support and friendship in person — my words have not found their way onto this page.

Last Wednesday I was able to share what were to be my final words and moments with my friend. Three days later, Oren passed away.

One of Oren’s greatest passions was for the words of modern fathers — regardless of the size of their audience or the strength of their voice — to be heard. His wife Beth asked me to speak at Oren’s funeral, and the flood of words finally came…

oren miller, blogger father and friend

Oren Miller at my wedding, April 26, 2014. Photo by Soo Park.

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I have the unimaginable honor today to speak about my friend Oren. And though you can’t see them, I’m standing here with more than 1,000 other men, who, like Oren and his online handle, are bloggers and fathers. We’re fathers from all across the country and around the world. We’re young and old, new and experienced fathers (and grandfathers). Fathers who work outside the home, and those that work at home, raising their children. Fathers of every ethnicity, religion and economic level. Straight, gay, bisexual, and transgendered fathers; biological, adoptive, divorced, single, step, estranged, and reunited fathers.

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My 5-Year-Old Sums Up the Oscar-Nominated Films

February 20, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

I used to be all about the Oscars. The joke about them being the gay Super Bowl? I was more than happy to perpetuate that stereotype. For several years, Papa was in charge of the Oscar pool at his law firm — I was banned from participating after winning 2 years in a row. And as a couple, we took great pride in seeing every nominated film prior to the Oscars ceremony — sometimes even prior to the nominations being announced.

However, with the onset of parenthood, our movie-going habits declined substantially. And they certainly don’t include any Best Picture nominees. Nowadays, we either take Jon to see the latest kids’ movies, or we spend a rare date night seeing a sci-fi or superhero blockbuster — something that will keep us awake during our few hours of childlessness.

This year is the farthest yet we’ve fallen from our glory days of fine film viewing. The Oscars are in a couple of days, and we’ve seen exactly ONE of the eight nominated films. We should have seen this coming. Looking back at the years since Jon was born, here are our Best Picture nominee viewing stats: 2010 – saw 9 (of 10); 2011 – saw 4 (of 9); 2012 – saw 4 (of 9); 2013 – saw 2 (of 9). It’s a sad trend, isn’t it?

A few years back, I employed Jon’s help to recreate each of that year’s nominees. Seeing as he’s not as agreeable/posable as he was then, I instead just asked him to sum up all of the Best Picture nominees based solely on the name and poster for the movie — which is pretty much all I have to go on.

Without further ado, heretofore and whenceforth… I present to you, this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture, as summarized by my 5-year-old:

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oscars boyhood

BOYHOOD

It’s about a boy wearing a hoodie. Laying in the grass.

(12 Years A Slacker?)

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Even More Movie (& TV) Inspired DIY Valentines

February 12, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

movie and tv-inspired diy valentines

As promised from earlier this week, here are a few more movie (and TV) inspired DIY Valentines that didn’t make the initial cut. The first batch was more family-friendly — these are a little less-so, and (in my opinion) a little more fun! Please enjoy, share, make your own, get inspired and create something even more crafty and fun and lovely. But above all enjoy your Valentine’s Day, whether it’s with a person — or a movie — that you love.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

GMCW Concert ‘When You Wish’ Ticket Giveaway

February 10, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE, THINGS DAD DIGS, THINGS MY KID DIGS

WHEN YOU WISH GMCW CONCERT GIVEAWAY - disney songs

Who wants to see me on stage as a dancing bear?

You’re in luck, because I sing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC (GMCW); our next concert is When You Wish, featuring music from animated films and TV shows… and I’ve got FOUR TICKETS to give away!

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Movie-Inspired DIY Valentines

February 10, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

movie-inspired DIY valentines

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I combined my love of movies with my love of, well, love — to create some fun, crafty valentines. Each one portrays an iconic movie duo, coupled with quotes from their films. Feel free to share with family, friends, crushes or classmates – or get inspired to make your own!

Head over to Fandango Family to see the full reveal (as well as printable templates and handy tips for each), and then come back here before February 14 for a couple more DIY valentines that didn’t quite make the “family-friendly” cut for Fandango’s page.

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If you REALLY want to make my heart go pitter-patter, head over to the Designer Daddy Facebook page and click the “Like” and “Get Notifications” buttons.
XOXO
Designer Daddy

Sometimes I Wish My Son Was Gay

February 5, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

I WISH MY SON WAS GAY

Even before I became a father, I would read stories about little boys who didn’t like sports, or preferred Barbie over Boba Fett, or wanted to dress like Daphne for Halloween, or enjoyed having their toenails painted pink. Invariably there was an antagonistic relative, neighbor or onlooker going head-to-head with a proud, resolute parent who was coming to the aid of their atypical son. I’m sure these moms and dads went through a period of adjustment to reach their own place of acceptance, but in these stories they’re already proud Papa and Mama bears, stopping at nothing to defend their cub’s right to live outside society’s rules. One dad even wrote a letter to his hypothetically gay son, which melted my heart, as well as that of the bazillion other people who read it. These stories are beyond inspiring and give me hope for humanity.

So yeah, sometimes I wish my son was gay.

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