25 MORE Reasons Having Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Due to popular demand (the original post was one of the most-viewed ever on this site), as well as an over-abundance of photos from awesome gay fathers, I had to do a sequel — which I’m hoping is as good as (or better) than the original. Think Empire Strikes Back, not Teen Wolf Too.

So as we wrap up Pride month, I wanted to share 25 more reasons having gay dads is uniquely, similarly, lovingly AWESOME!

.

1. You’re always surrounded by love
.

Gay Dads Are Awesome! - Andy Miller

Especially when you’re smooshed into a photo booth. [Photo courtesy of Andy Miller & Brian Stephens]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Super Dad: Oren Miller!

June 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Riffing off my SuperLunchNotes, this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way. I’m pretty super that way.
.

SPECIAL EDITION
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MEET SUPER DAD OREN MILLER, A.K.A.

PROFESSOR O!

.
Super Dad Oren Miller

About PROFESSOR O:
Origin:
The first time this father of two sat down to write, he spilled his coffee and a sippy cup of milk onto his laptop. As he frantically grabbed to salvage his computer, the caffeine and calcium fused into a super-technological compound, surged through his body, and immediately connected him to every other dad blogger — past, present or future!
Powers: Using only his mind, PROFESSOR O can seek out any dad blogger in the galaxy! He then connects them into a secret community where they learn how to use their own mutant blogging skills to squash stereotypes, offer support to one another, and advocate for fathers everywhere! He is also a master level blogger AND father: he can change minds and manipulate emotions through the written word, coordinate hundreds of dads with a few mouse clicks, and oversee a playdate complete with healthy snacks and an important life lesson thrown in for good measure.
Weaknesses: He gets really annoyed by exclamation points (!) and by the ever-changing Facebook group policies. Also hates Nazis.

About OREN MILLER:
Oren truly is a superhero to me and to the nearly 800 dad bloggers that belong to the Facebook group he started two years ago. Even before launching this informal group, he would search out new dads who were blogging and feature them on his site, A Blogger and a Father. This is how I first “met” him. I met him in real life a few months later, when he invited me to a meeting between several other parent bloggers and the governor of Maryland. There I was able to personally thank Governor O’Malley for all he did to pass same-sex marriage in our state — an opportunity that still boggles my mind and warms my heart.

I’ve not met anyone else in the blogging community with such a pure desire to connect and support people. His aspirations were never to appear on The Today Show or be the keynote speaker at a conference. His ambition is to find and build community, to start and continue dialog — not just about writing and social media, but about the struggles of life and the indescribable experience of being a father.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.

EVEN SUPERHEROES NEED HELP
I had already planned to include Oren in this series of Super Dad notes, but this post is serving an additional, and vastly more important function…

At the end of May, Oren was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer had spread to several other organs, and he was given a prognosis of one year. Please take a moment and read his own words about this experience, as mine can’t begin to do it justice.

Shortly after his diagnosis, I started a fundraiser through GiveForward on behalf of our ragtag group of dads, with the hopes of raising $5,000 to send Oren, his wife, and two children on a family vacation. Within 12 hours it surpassed that goal, and now (less than 2 weeks later) stands to reach $30,000. The fundraiser has since pulled in many beyond his dad blogging community, with their generosity now earmarked for medical bills, education funds for the kids, as well as an unforgettable family vacation. To help attain (and surpass) this next benchmark, the extremely helpful and generous folks at GiveForward have offered to contribute $25 for each blogger who writes about Oren — up to $1000 (40 blog posts). By the time I publish this, I believe I’ll be number 40.

DON’T BE A BYSTANDER
If you have ever read and enjoyed my writing
, you have Oren Miller partly to thank. After my first year of blogging, I was considering giving it up, not having felt I’d connected with many people. Being featured on Oren’s site, joining the Facebook group, and having the privilege of calling Oren my friend have inspired me beyond measure. Not just as a writer, but as a father, a husband, and as a person on this planet.

Please consider adding your own contribution to this fund. It won’t bring a cure. It won’t buy more time. But it will extend the community of support for those Oren cares for most, connect you to something bigger than yourself, and make you — even if for a moment — a superhero.
.

Oren and Brent

Oren and me at my wedding in April

Dad Blogger offspring

Future generations of parent bloggers goof around in Oren’s backyard.

 

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Indiana

June 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage in Indiana
Indiana: Same-sex marriage legalized June 25, 2014. Folks gettin’ married the very same day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The birthplace of Letterman, Lincoln and Larry Bird — and now home to a whole lot more little pink houses* — Indiana joins 18 states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage! Just over a month after gay marriage became legal in Pennsylvania, equality wins out two states over as U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young declared Indiana’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.

In his ruling, Judge Young states,
“In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as [the plaintiffs], and refer to it simply as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”

Until that time, congratulations to all the homo-Hoosiers who can finally get hitched! Indiana is the 11th state where a federal judge has struck down a marriage ban since SCOTUS overturned Prop8 and DOMA. We’re on a roll, baby!
.

BUT WHAT ABOUT UTAH?
First it was legalized. Then it wasn’t. Then yesterday a judge overturned the ban. While I’m very glad for this step back in the right direction, the governor still plans on appealing the overturn of the denial of the freedom for the refusal of rights on the ban and… OH MY GOD I’M SO CONFUSED!!! So until same-sex marriage in Utah is a once-and-for-all done deal, signed in blood and toasted with Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, I’m holding off on putting their magnet up gain.

Since the next step my very well be the U.S. Supreme Court, when they do get around to appealing, the decision could be monumental — and hopefully turn my whole map green…
.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES

as of 6.25.14

same-sex marriage map of the united states
Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at some of my previous magnet posts.

For more maps and magnets (not really, but for sure a lot of fun), stop by the Designer Daddy Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter!

*In 2010, the song “Pink Houses” was used by NOM (a leading opponent to same-sex marriage) in an anti-gay rally. Songwriter/performer and Indiana native John Mellencamp sent them a Cease and STFU. Thanks Johnny Cougar, you R.O.C.K.!

Super Dad: Zach Rosenberg!

June 23, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Riffing off SuperLunchNotes, and inspired by requests from friends and readers of “Will you make MY lunch?!?” this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MEET SUPER DAD ZACH ROSENBERG, A.K.A.

ZACHNEATO!

.
super dad: zach rosenberg

About ZACHNEATO:
Origin:
When a bottle of Coke and a packet of Pop Rocks spilled onto a Ms. Pac-Man machine, ZACHNEATO emerged fully-formed, robed in pink, and ready to rule to world!
Powers: The ability to manipulate bits, bytes & blogs into anything he chooses. His hot pink robe and helmet make him impervious to Internet trolls and Twitter crashes.
Weaknesses: Without his fluffy pink armor, ZACHNEATO is susceptible to attack from his arch-nemesis, MR. A!

About ZACH ROSENBERG:
ZACH is the more vocal (and more pink) half of the blog 8BitDad. He and co-founder Bryan Ferguson have been making the blogosphere crackle with smarts and silliness since 2011(ish). They’ve got the comics/sci-fi/gamer beat covered, and do their fair share of reporting on all things fatherhood — particularly how it’s portrayed in the media. He is also a father and husband, and his favorite superhero really is Magneto. Or maybe Batman.

8BitDad 101:
The Ugly Truths Behind Caillou, Curious George and Max & Ruby
25 Reasons Kids Should Be Left Alone With Their Dads (I’m at #17. This list inspired my own)
Observations On Dad-Bias In 140 Commercials From 2013
BONUS: Their archive of hilarious video podcasts

 

 

Proud Papa Gallery of Greatness 2014

June 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS DAD DIGS

Father’s Day has come and gone, and yet those of us who are dads are still dads, and still have dad stuff to do. One of the most important is instilling self-confidence and a sense of achievement in our children. Stereotypes dictate fathers only appreciate the physical accomplishments of their children — especially for their sons. But the best dads appreciate the artistic as well as the athletic — and man have I found a great bunch of art-loving dads for this year’s (POST) FATHER’S DAY PROUD PAPA GALLERY OF GREATNESS!

Welcome to our virtual fridge, take your time, and please visit the gift shop on your way out.

Please note that many of the images can be enlarged if clicked on. So click and enjoy!

Artwork credits key:
Title of work

medium
Artist name, age
Father of artist (links to their website/blog)
Artist’s (or artist’s dad’s) description

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

THE CLASSICS

 

GADDIS-MONET
Monet

tissue paper, construction paper
markers on paper
Chris, 5
Carter Gaddis
Based on the Water Lilies series.
.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Which Kids’ Movie Song From The Last 12 Months Is The Best?

June 17, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

With the release of The LEGO Movie on DVD/Blu-Ray, it’s got me reflecting on all the great music to come from kids’ movies in the last year. Three songs in particular have delighted children and adults alike… that is, until they bored holes into our brains from repetition. I’m of course talking about “Everything is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy.”

cover2

During the Disney renaissance of the late-80s/90s, songs from the Mouse House’s animated films were all over the radio and the charts. “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” all cracked Billboard’s top 10; and between 1989-1999, 15 songs from Disney films either won or were nominated for Oscars. Yet since that heyday, I don’t recall a time when songs written specifically for kids’ movies have had such an audible impact as the three in question.

So… between “Everything Is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy,” which one is the best? Or perhaps a better question, the least annoying? I decided to break it down scientifically to give you an objective, definitive and 100% fact-based answer. I took into account several factors, then gave points for each category to reach my accurate, foolproof, final results.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Fathers and Sons

June 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Father's Day - Grandpa - Dad

On June 1st my father preached his last sermon. To clarify, I’m sure he will continue to preach as long as he has breath — but this was his final sermon as pastor of the small Baptist church in Virginia where he’d been for the last 15 years. Prior to that he was a Chaplain in the US Air Force for over 20 years, and before that he pastored at churches in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Illinois.

His father was also a minister. Dad preached his first sermon when he was 18 at his father’s small Baptist church in Arkansas. I know very little about my dad’s dad. I know in addition to preaching he also repaired air conditioners and other electronics. I know he was 6’8″ tall (Dad is 6’5″). I know he neither showed little affection nor talked very much to his son, thus raising Dad to do likewise. I know he held a lot of things in, some that were devastating when unearthed later. I know he died of cancer two years before I was born. I know Grandma remarried to the man I called “Pappaw;” her first husband I’ve only ever called “Russell.”

I don’t say these things to disparage my biological grandfather or to drudge up any of the pain Dad still carries regarding this relationship. I say them because Russell Almond was such a stark contrast to who Johnny Almond, my father, has become.

I know he has shown me affection every day of my life, hugging and kissing me even through the most awkward of my teen years. I know he loves to talk (when given the chance by his 4 verbose sons), and has taught me everything I know about crafting the perfect groan-inducing pun. I know he was always patient with me, even at my most impatient and distant and resentful. I know that he tried to play ball with me and take me golfing and other father-son activities that I hated and told him so, and yet he still showed me patience and kindness and love. I know that after each time he punished me, he always returned to remind me how much he loved me. I know he instilled in me the importance of being compassionate — not by telling me so, but by being the most compassionate man I’ve ever met. I know that he loves and respects my husband, and has said publicly that he is “the kindest man I’ve ever met.” I know he loves and cherishes my son as much as he’s ever loved any of his children or grandchildren, and that my son dearly loves his Grandpa.

During the four and-a-half years that I’ve been a father, I have come to understand the unending joy and deep heartache I must have brought to my dad over the years. I have come to appreciate his commitment to love me, even when I exhibited impatience or embarrassment or hatred towards him; even when I was religiously overzealous and thought his beliefs not strident enough; even when I blamed him for contributing to my being gay; even when I embraced my homosexuality, and he struggled to reconcile this with his lifelong beliefs.

I don’t say these things to embarrass him or to highlight the struggles of our relationship. I say them because my father has done so much to overcome the deficits in his own father/son relationship. I say them so he knows how much I love and appreciate him, though for much of my youth my actions said otherwise. I say them to celebrate what a loving patriarch he has become to his four sons, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law (and another eventual one), three grandsons and two granddaughters. I say them to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Luke 11:11-13

Father's Day - Dad - Me

Top photo: Russell Almond, behind the pulpit at his church in Arkansas.

I’ve always attributed my drawing skills to the many years I spent doodling on the back of the church bulletin during my father’s sermons. The above sketch was done during his final sermon as a full-time minister. And don’t worry, Dad — I was also listening.

Bottom photo: Dad, Mom & me, November 1970 / Me, Papa & Jon, April 2014

25 Reasons Having Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 11, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

As we approach Father’s Day, there have been some pretty cool lists about dads floating around the Internet. So of course I had to make a list of my own, ensuring families with double daddies (or one great gay dad) are represented.

I originally intended to intro my list with lots of statistics showing how more and more Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage and adoption. Or how same-sex couples will be counted as families by the U.S. Census for the first time. Or that gay dads have turned up in all manner of commercials and top-ranked TV shows. Or how I belong to a Facebook group of over 3,000 gay fathers.*

But instead let’s just celebrate what makes gay dads unique, as well as what makes them as equally awesome as all the other active, engaged and loving fathers out there.

.

1. You’re raised to be caring & compassionate
.

father's day - gay dads - compassion

And you learn how to put your compassion into action… and be all cute and matchy-matchy while doing it. [Photo courtesy of Andy Miller]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. READ FULL ARTICLE >>

SuperLunchNotes: The Power Of Dad…and Oral Hygiene

June 9, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

Some of my favorite moments as a dad are ones I don’t even see. Like my son’s face when he finds the note I put in his lunch every day. I make them either the night prior or before he gets up the next morning; I then sneak them into his lunch bag, and send him off to preschool with Papa. I’ve heard plenty of compliments about them — from Jon’s teachers, his classmates, his classmates’ parents. And every afternoon when I pick him up, I ask Jon if he liked his note — you know, as a way to strengthen his memory recall and attention to detail…

So even though I don’t observe my son’s daily discovery, or get to see his friends huddled in anticipation of each new character, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been doing this for nearly a year now, and while it’s sometimes a chore to keep coming up with new ideas, it also forces me to think of something positive to say as I send him out into the world each day. It’s my little way of staying connected. A way to pass down my vast and vital knowledge of superheroes and pop culture. And it’s a way to use my powers as a Dad for good!

For this Father’s Day, I was included in a campaign for Oral-B called Power of Dad. One of the components was to post photos illustrating my paternal powers or other special fathering moments. I decided instead to dedicate a week’s worth of SuperLunchNotes to the campaign, while offering some much-needed reminders to my son regarding oral hygiene. I’m setting my #PowerOfDad to stealth mode.

Below are the notes, each captioned with a feature of Oral-B’s newest toothbrush, the Oral-B 7000 Black…and also a plug for their awesome floss.

.

WEEK 43: June 2 – June 6, 2014 (Oral Hygiene Week)

Hulk  |  The Count  |  Wonder Woman  |   Venom  |  Princess Leia

hulk
Indicator® bristles remind you to replace your brush head every 3 months (sooner, if you’re a Hulk), or once they’ve faded halfway (or turned green, if you’re a Hulk).
.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Being A Gay Dad is Full of Unscripted Moments

June 6, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

“Are you guys brothers?”

 “So which one of you does he belong to?”

“Which one of you breast feeds?”

“Can I get a mom?

Those are just a few of the questions I’ve heard since becoming a father four and-a-half years ago — as asked by my nephew, a cashier, multiple friends, and my son, respectively. As the title of this post states, there truly are no scripts when it comes to parenting. And being a gay father of an adopted son poses even more unique challenges.

A relatively minor — but no less annoying — challenge is finding a Father’s Day card for my husband. Like many gay fathers, we go by “Daddy” and “Papa.” Finding a Father’s Day card that says “Daddy” is no problem (so yeah, he’s got it easy). And while there are usually a few cards that are addressed to “Papa,” more often than not they are either geared more to Grandpa or are entirely in Spanish.

When I was tapped by Cardstore to be part of their Father’s Day #WorldsToughestJob campaign, one of the perks was getting to design my own card. The recommendation was to create one for Grandpa/my Dad, but I thought it would be more fun (and challenging) to make one for Papa. I was pleasantly surprised to find several selections that fit the bill, but one in particular caught my critical designer’s eye…

I love me some doodles! And this one was not only super cute, but also allowed me to customize the name on the front. So I popped in a “PAPA” (I got to choose from a ton of fonts, colors, sizes, etc.) and my cover was done!

Cardstore - #worldstoughestjob - papa 1

READ FULL ARTICLE >>