Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Great Gunfighter Giveaway

Father's Day is swift approaching so I have partnered with the Hachette Book Group (formerly Time-Warner books) to honor Dad's with a book give away.

Here is the deal... now, I'm going to keep this simple, because I don't want to confuse myself, so listen up.

I want you to post on your own blogs, or in a personal email to me, why Father's Day is important to you. See? Simple.

OK, the lady in the back needs a little clarification, so here goes: Any time between now and Midnight on Sunday, I will accept entries.... send me a link to your blog post, or send me an email describing why Father's Day is important to you. This contest is open to new dads, not-so-new dads, old dads (like me), moms who want to honor their children's father, childless folks who want to talk about their own fathers, women who don't have children who want to talk about their hopes for the future father of their children, or even someone not related to you who stands out as sort of a favorite icon of fatherhood.

See? I told you that it was simple.

Now for the good part: I will select five entries and the winners will receive a copy of their choice of one of the following books:

What a bargain, eh?

OK, you have your mission, Let's roll!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Kick Ass Soccer

On Saturday, my girls, The Tsunami, went up against the Cheetahs and kicked a little ass. Well, not really, what they did was put on a real athletic display, and squeaked out a 7-5 win over their opponents in a close match that could have gone either way up until the last moment in the game.

It was great sportsmanship, and great effort on the parts of both teams... and the stuff that heart attacks are made of for the coaches. I kid you not... we had a three point lead when all of a sudden, we started making some key mistakes... but I don't need to go into all of that.

If I can say something nice about my own kid for a moment, I'll tell you that she worked so hard, and was so strong... she played offense and defense with equal ferocity. She supported her teammates, and is really, along with many of the others, learning how to read the field. It is a joy to watch. Even more exciting was watching her score two of our goals. You see, I can't brag about her at the games, and I can only clap and do the "GREAT JOB, BABE!" at the games, because as coach, I don't want to overpraise my own child for fear of the dreaded accusation of preferential treatment.

In this particular picture, SG (in red) is challenging her opponent (who is also a classmate) for possession of the ball. She won the possession, breaking up her opponent's scoring attempt.

Anyway, suffice it to say, that all of the girls ball-handling skills are improving, their fitness levels are coming up and their heads are in the right place, God bless 'em! As long as they stayed switched on, they will give a good account of themselves for the season.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Gatekeeper Moms

If any of you ever take the time to look at my Blog-Log widget that displays the photos of many of the people that visit my blog, you will quickly gather that my blog is read primarily by women. Many of those women are Mothers... so-called "mommy-bloggers". It has been my privilege to blog among so many of these intelligent and fun ladies for the past year or so.

One of the great things about blogging communities, is that from your computer, you get glimpses, sometimes in great detail, about lives other than your own... and that has to be a good thing, doesn't it? I mean, isn't that one of the best ways to learn? exposure to things that are outside of your own experience? Well, this is just another example, writ large.

You all know that I am a parent, and that being a dad is very, VERY important to me. I want to talk about parenting today in a way that I haven't really spoken about it before.

You see, I love being a father, and I believe that as important as mothers are, fathers are equally important. Oh, I know that most or all of you believe that, too, and I am heartily glad of it.... but once we get past that lovely sentiment, we run hard against a real societal evils... yes, evil, and I'm NOT being dramatic here. Worse than running up against an evil... is encountering evil that is created on our own hearts and minds.

You see, despite the rhetoric of most Americans, we still cling, desperately, to sexist gender roles.

With all of the great dads that are all over the blogosphere at places like The BlogFathers, Mitch McDad, African-American Dad, and all the dads over at AllTop, We see fathers doing the best they can to be good, participatory parents. We see fathers as Girls Scout leaders, diaper changers, cooks for their kids, etc.... we see dads engaging in the full spectrum of parenting/child-rearing. My friends, this is a beautiful thing. Never before in the history of our society, have fathers been more involved in the lives of their children.

The problem is that our work as fathers isn't done. There are barriers. Oh, I am not talking about the barriers erected by workplace expectations, or barriers erected by travel. I'm talking about barriers erected by our wives. The mothers of our children.

Ladies, how many of you have ever caught yourself being resentful about not having had a shower on this day or that, or that your husband doesn't do enough with the kids? I am certain that it is a terribly frustrating, and real problem... having said that, I must go on to ask you, how much of that have you brought on yourself by blocking your husband's access to your.... HIS children?

Have you ever seen your husband do something with the kids that is at odds with YOUR day to day activities with them? Have you ever interceded by saying "We don't do it like that"? or worse, interrupting with a curt "here, I'LL do it"? Have you ever made comments that might make him feel that he doesn't know what he is doing when it comes to even feeding his children? Have you ever treated your man or talked to him like he was a dummy because he doesn't parent exactly the same way as you? If so, you might be a "Gatekeeper"

A Gatekeeper.

Gatekeepers want their husbands/partners to do more... but they want it done THEIR way. Gatekeepers want their husbands to be good dads, which in their minds means be another mom. Gatekeepers often bemoan their plight as mothers, while tut-tutting men as being unfit to parent... aside from being financially and emotionally supportive.

Sound familiar? Some of you may know people like this.

Lest you think that this behavior only happens in the home, think again. I'll wager that most of the parents who read this have either experienced or seen or even perpetrated the following: Ignoring the lone dad at the play group; the school secretary that talks to a dad like he is an idiot when he asks a question; the mothers who offer to "help" a man when he has a baby with him; the pediatrician who asks if she should write down the medication instructs "for mommy, you know?" You've seen these things, haven't you? I know you have.

For you dads that are out there, keep doing the right things... it'll pay off. Your children will be better for it. Your sons will learn how to be dads & husbands from your example, and your daughters will learn what to expect from a husband. For you moms, you keep on doing what you are doing, too... unless, of course, you are a Gatekeeper, too. If you are, get with the program and realize that just because your man doesn't do it your way, it isn't necessarily wrong.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Off To The Show!!!

In about thirty minutes, Clan Gunfighter will be departing our Prince William County home to go and see High School Musical at The National Theater. I am sure that most of you have seen the movie(s), heard all of the songs (perhaps ad nauseum) and seen all of the merchandise that has been generated by this Disney phenomenon. The likelihood that these things are true is compounded exponentially if you have a daughter in the "tween" demographic.

I am aware that not everyone loves High School Musical. Some people don't like the marketing aspects, some don't think it was anything special, some think that it was "cute" but not worth all of the hoopla, and I certainly respect those opinions, but I have to tell you, in our house, pretty much anything connect to HSM or HSM2 is pretty popular.

My oldest, who is 18, and her college pals think it's cute. My youngest is mad for the stuff... as for me (and Mrs Gunfighter) we are excited about the fact that there is a series of movies (and stage performances) that isn't about underage sex, drugs, drinking, or nudity. It isn't about pregnancy, and isn't about the pain of loss or horrendous teen angst. While there is room in the word for all of that, I am gratified that there is still room in the world for a story that is cute, wholesome and has catchy music.

We are getting dressed up for SG's first night at the theater, and I think that I am looking forward to it as much as she is.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Cooking with Your Kids

Let's get something straight, right from the beginning: Dads can cook! Certainly, not all dads... but for the most part, we men-folk can get in the kitchen and emerge with something to eat that didn't come out of a can or the freezer. Whether our families want to eat our manly food is another matter entirely, and not the subject of today's post.

My youngest child, Soccergirl, takes after her father. She loves to eat. Moreover, she connects the fact that I do the cooking in our house with the result that I get more to eat, because I'm the guy making the food.

Smart kid.

Soccergirl has decided that it is time for her to apprentice as my "junior chef". Very often she will help me prepare meals, which I am pleased to do with her. It's just one of those things that we have that is just for the two of us.

My young apprentice has gotten into the habit of checking out cookbooks from her elementary school library. It isn't uncommon for us to spend the short ride from school to our house, discussing what we are going to make together over the weekend. Well, two weeks ago was no different, and Soccergirl decided that on that particular Saturday, she wanted Deviled Eggs.

So what is a father to do? Go to the supermarket and get the makings for deviled eggs, that's what!

We had to start early, because we had a soccer game to play that day. So... we began, of course with six extra large eggs, at room temperature, and a pot of water at a rolling boil. We boiled the eggs for the appropriate amount of time, removed them from the water and allowed them to cool while we had our soccer game, and then went on to lunch.

When we returned home, we assembled the rest of our ingredients: Garlic paste, dried Dill weed, salt, pepper, paprika, Ranch dressing, and some bacon bits.

Next, we shelled our eggs, and split them in half, down the middle.

Next, you can poor yourself a beer if it suits you... I did, see?

In a small mixing bowl, we combined the cooked yolks with the garlic paste, bacon bits, dill weed, salt, pepper, and some ranch dressing. All amounts are to taste... add or delete things as you see fit.

Next, you take a spoon, or an icing pipe and fill the already boiled & split eggs.

Put them on a plate and refrigerate for at least an hour. Sprinkle with paprika for a little color, and serve!

OK, I realize that this is the most scintillating cooking you have ever seen me do, but a dad's gotta do what a dad's gotta do.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Doctor is IN... (again)

For the last few weeks, Soccergirl has been nursing a loose tooth. It was the first tooth behind her lower incisor (I think that's what you call it), and it was pretty wobbly, bu the darn thing just didn't want to come out. After consulting with Doctor Mommy, it was time to talk to Senior parental dental unit, Doctor Daddy. Doctor Daddy took a look at the tooth, and attempted to make a manual extraction with his large, sousage-like fingers... to no avail. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the proper angle to get my fingers around the tooth.

Something needed to be done about this. Soccergirl couldn't do it. Doctor Mommy WOULDN'T do it (are you kidding me?), so it was down to Doctor Daddy, and his penchant for improvisation. "This", I thought to myself " a no-brainer", after which I got out my trusty Leatherman tool, set up the needle-nose pliers, and plucked out the offending tooth as pretty as you please!

Done and done!

Before I left the house this morning, I assisted the tooth fairy by placing a shiny new dollar coin in Soccergirl's "tooth box"

Big Fun!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Return of Coach Gunfighter

Soccergirl has begun the new fall soccer season, here in Virginia.

Like so many thousands of kids in America's suburbs, she will be practicing once a week formally with the team, and once a week, working on skills and fitness with yours truly... with the end result, being game day on Saturdays.

This past Saturday was the first game of the season. We didn't win, but the girls put on a great performance. They were excited. They worked hard. They gave everything they had. They held their own, with the other team beating us by a single goal, which came within 2 minutes of the end of the game.

I was proud of the little darlings... of course, proudest of my own little darling. I know she works hard for her teammates, but I am certain that some of the effort... OK, most of it is working to make her daddy proud.

I am.