dadbloggers

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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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Power Lunch Back-to-School Giveaway

September 8, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

That title’s a mouthful, ain’t it? Yet it’s certainly befitting my epic team-up with fellow Dad Blogger and Lunchtime Super Power, Lunchbox Dad! We’re serving up some fun and creative ways to prepare school lunches — plus a ginormous giveaway to help you make lunchtime awesome!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Back-to-school Giveaway

One of the unexpected perks of blogging has been all of the interesting, talented and just downright nice people I’ve met. Whether online or hanging out in real life, I’ve found support and inspiration from so many of my dad blogging bros. One whose creativity I’ve admired for a while is Beau Coffron, AKA Lunchbox Dad. Check out his web site or Instagram to see what I mean — he puts so much fun and imagination into the meals he makes for his kids. It’s a scrumptious sight to behold!

I had the pleasure of meeting Beau in person at a conference in July. While we were there, we did some brainstorming over beer and Happy Meals for ways to combine our lunch-related passions into a cool giveaway for our readers.

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I Went to a Conference for Women, and All I Got Was a Big Rash

July 30, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

JOCK ITCH. The “big rash” was actually jock itch; I just didn’t have the nerve to stick it up there in the title.

It was only midway through the first full day of BlogHer — a ginormous conference about blogging and social media, started by and primarily for women — when I realized I was miserable. I’d had more than my normal level of big-guy-thigh-chafe discomfort (AKA “Chub Rub”) from all the walking around, and I couldn’t stop scratching myself. I was, in fact, on fire.

I skipped whatever session I was planning on attending, and approached the concierge at my hotel to inquire about the closest drugstore. “There’s a Walgreen’s not too far away,” he said cheerily. He gave me quick directions and added, “It’s about a 15 minute walk.” Uh, no.

Getting desperate, I made a beeline for the taxis out front. And for whatever reason, said to the cabbie, “I hurt my foot and need to go to Walgreen’s to pick up my medicine. Can you wait for me there and bring me back?”

I’m sure I could have just asked him for a round-trip to Walgreen’s without adding my ruse. Perhaps I didn’t want to appear lazy. Or I wanted to make sure he understood I was crippled so he wouldn’t drop me off at the drugstore and abandon me. In any event, I was committed to it now, and I’m nothing if not committed.

As the cab stopped in front of the store, I told the driver I’d be about 5 minutes, then exited the car and proceeded to pull a reverse Keyser Söze, adding a slight limp to my few strides up to the drugstore’s door.

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

PROFESSOR O!

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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.

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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.
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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.

 

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.

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

ZACHNEATO!

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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

 

 

Ban Bossy? A Suggested Alternative

March 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Enough has already been written about this whole “Ban Bossy” business, so I’m going to suggest an alternative:

gary busey ban bossy

However, if you’d like to read some actual commentary on the subject (which certainly seemed to stir up the interwebs a bit), please check out one of the articles below from some of my fine, fellow parent bloggers. And lordy they sure are a bossy bunch!

Donna Biroczky / Dangerous Cupcakes “Like a Boss! Not a #banbossy Fan”

Jeff Bogle / Out With The Kids “Dad Bloggers React to #BanBossy with More Words Worth Banning”

Doug French / Laid-Off Dad “Join Me to Ban ‘Lean'”

Aaron Gouveia / The Daddy Files “Why I Won’t Ban Bossy”

Joel Gratcyk / Daddy’s Grounded “Its Not Okay To Be Afraid Of A Word, I Will Not #BanBossy”

Alan Kercinik / Always Jacked “What #banbossy Says to Boys”

John Kinnear / Ask Your Dad “There Are No Bad Words… OK, There Are Some – I Don’t Know if Bossy is One”

Dave Lesser for TIME “Dad: I’m Going To Keep Calling My Daughter Bossy”

Kadi Prescott / Media Actually “My Two Cents: The #BanBossy Social Campaign”

Jessi Sanfilippo / Shuggilippo “Slap My Ass and Call Me Bossy”

David Vienna for Huffington Post “Why I Won’t Ban ‘Bossy'”

David Wallach for Chicago Parent “Chicago Dad to Sheryl Sandberg: Don’t Tell Me How to Talk to My Kids”

Jessica Watson / Four Plus An Angel “What You Can Call Me”

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Become a fan of Designer Daddy’s Facebook page, and I promise to never, ever ban you.

SuperLunchNotes: Godzilla!

February 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

godzilla

As I mentioned over in a post earlier today (ain’t I prolific?), I lead a workshop on blog design at Dad 2.0 Summit. While I felt relatively prepared, had a clear agenda, bugged Doug French until he scored me a monitor, and put together some pretty darn cool swag to hand out, the only thing I was not prepared for was Charlie Capen and Andy Herald from How to be a Dad coolly sauntering over (I hear that’s how they all walk in Cali) to the first of my three presentations. I’m pretty sure I gave them a look of “What are you doing? Go away! You’re intimidating me with your combined blogging/design prowess!” Yet I kept my cool until the end when I opened it up for questions about the design principals I’d just eloquently finished discussing.

Andy raised his hand, “Dude, why aren’t your superhero notes on your blog?”

Uh, what?

“Well, I have a couple of things on there about it, but they get posted to Instagram and Facebook every day,” I kind of stammer.

“Dude, they need to be on your site STAT.” I’m paraphrasing, except for the dude part. (Remember – from Cali)

Charlie said something in an attempt to help interpret the Andy-ism and I got a little confused about what was going on and said something about we can talk about it later, but I think Andy told me again to put it on my site.

Luckily the bell rang and they had to leave. But I gave it a lot of thought. I had given it a lot of thought a lot of times before, but thought if I put it on my site every day it would be too much, or possibly force me to write more to fill in the other spaces, or maybe I could just do a week’s worth at a time. Mainly I just over-thought it a whole lot. Because really who cares as long as you get to see cute doodles of superheroes (and monsters), amiright?

So I did it and here it is (up there, top of the page). Now please like and share and come back every day and repeat as necessary. Oh, and please tell Charlie and Andy I did what they said. And also Stacy (the mother-flippin Editor-in-Chief of BlogHer and a great gal to do Jell-O shots with) because she also said I should do something with them. I’m a little fuzzy on the details. (Remember – Jell-O shots)

Okay, so I promise not every SuperLunchNotes post will be this long and annoying, but I thought it warranted some explaining.

Please tell me what you think. If you like, love, hate, meh — whatever your opinion, drop me a note.

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For more fun fatherly and frivolous stuff, visit (and Like) the Designer Daddy Facebook page!

We’ve Got Your Back: Impressions of Dad 2.0 Summit

February 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

I’m ending my long weekend the way I began it — hanging out in an airport for 4+ hours. Different airports — Baltimore on Thursday, New Orleans on Sunday — but they both have the same unsettling mixture of being simultaneously busy, anxious and lonely. Or maybe that was just me. I’ll spare you the details of my traveling travails, but between the Polar Vortex and my own absentmindedness, it was a wonder I got anywhere I was trying to. And I’m not even on my plane home yet.

I had considered waiting until I’d had a chance to “decompress,” catch up on work, and generally give myself a chance to create something more brilliant and insightful. But I’m taking this time in limbo to journal my impressions of Dad 2.0 Summit while they’re still fresh.

As my arrival in New Orleans was 6 hours later than planned, I missed the conference’s opening party. I had to force myself not to imagine all the hugging and backslapping and toasting going on as my network of dad blogging pals reconnected or (as in many cases) met in person for the first time. My tireless and generous friend Don left said party to pick me up from the airport (it was his fourth trip of the day) and as I trudged wearily into the lobby of the hotel, several of the men I’d become closest to came bounding out of the bar to greet me with all that hugging and backslapping I’d not been dwelling on. As I made my way through the lobby and up to my room, I was met with cheers of “Brent!” from even more of my until-then virtual friends. I felt like a rock star. Or at least Norm. It was already shaping up to be a pretty stupendous time.

aaron

After a very late dinner of bourbon and beer (and more meeting and backslapping and hugging), I called it an early night.

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DDQ&A: Khoi Vinh

January 24, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Of all the fellow designer dads I’ve interviewed,* Khoi Vinh is the one I’ve known the longest. We were together in the DC design trenches early in our careers, building up our portfolios and burning lots of midnight oil. While I can’t think of a designer whose style (and personality) is more different than mine, I’ve always respected and admired him and his work. As we’re both now dads of preschoolers, we finally have something more in common. Except that he also has twins, so I obviously have some catching up to do. I settled for catching up through this Q&A.

Q&A with designer dad Khoi Vinh
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Tell me briefly about your design career: how long in the industry, what kinds of clients you have and/or work you specialize in.
I graduated from art school in 1993 with an illustration degree but have done some kind of design ever since. Jeebus. Twenty years. I started out in print media and switched to digital media in 1998.

DD note: Khoi’s being coy (sorry, had to do it) and leaving out lots of details. He was the design director for NYTimes.com from 2006-2010, created a photo collage app, is a published author, and has been blogging for over a decade at Subtraction.com. In 2011, Fast Company named him one of “The 50 Most Influential Designers in America.” Coy, indeed.

NYT

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