When I was 11 years old, I went to my first away camp with the Boy Scouts. It was a big deal; it cost, like, $125 for the week, and I got around $30 in spending money from my parents. Visions of candy and pocket knives danced in my head.

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I’d already had the conference in Columbus, Ohio on the calendar for a couple of months when I had the brilliant idea to bring Jesse and the kids along with me. I was speaking on Sunday, so I decided that we’d leave on Friday earlier enough so I could make the speaker’s dinner that evening, and then we’d have all Saturday to spend at the Columbus Zoo.

The drive down was uneventful, and only now in hindsight do I see it for what it truly was - the calm before the storm.

In the morning we made our merry way down to the zoo, and so began our descent into madness. You see there was a heat advisory issued that day for a heat index reaching 105 degrees. Whenever it’s hot like that, I’m reminded of the scene in Ghostbusters when Egon and Venkman are conducting an experiment with couples in marriage counseling. They have them in a waiting room with a steadily rising temperature, testing its effect on their stress level. Even if you haven’t seen it, you can probably guess what happens. It was like that.

The heat was intense. Each new exhibit was an oasis of air conditioned bliss, but it was no use. By the end, Lucy even said she hated the manatees, and we learned a few crucial lessons about traveling with young children.

Petting the stingrays.

1. Its easy to get overstimulated!

Arriving in a new town with new sights, sounds, and smells; grasping the concept of a hotel, an indoor pool, how the little keycards work, remembering that we weren’t going to go back home to sleep— that’s a lot of work for little minds! And, on top of that, add visiting an amazing zoo (including petting stingrays and a baby tiger!) and all that can be pretty overwhelming. In our kids that usually manifests itself with manic behavior, running, jumping, general non-stop movement, followed by a dramatic meltdown.

2. Consequences for them means consequences for you.

Doling out consequences for bad behavior in the middle of the zoo with a 105 degree heat index, or in a hotel room with paper thin walls, is complicated. That overstimulation I mentioned earlier? That tends to lead to meltdowns: loud, embarrassing, meltdowns.  I’ll admit, we resorted to bribery more than once to get us through the day.

3. All that matters is that youre together.

After carefully orchestrating a family trip it can be disheartening to watch it slowly disintegrate before your eyes. At the end of the day when the tantrums, pinches, pokes, threats, lectures and timeouts are through, (and not just for the kids), all anyone wanted to do was snuggle up in bed and drift off to sleep.

A well-deserved rest, for everybody.

On the whole, the experience reminded me to be more mindful of my children’s limitations. I think it's easy to get swept up in the excitement of sharing new experiences with them, and forget that kids only have so much bandwidth to really handle that amount of new stuff. It taught me that sometimes it’s going to suck, for all of you, and maybe you need to cut each other some slack. It brought us closer together, and taught us how to be a better family.  Next time, anyway.

FYI: The Columbus Zoo in Ohio is amazing, go there if you can.

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First off, wow. I think the full effect of the decision, where it stands in American history, is so profound that it hits me in waves. To be a part of History, with a capital H, being touched on a personal level by a law, it makes me feel that the powers that be actually believe in me. It makes me feel connected to couples and families across the country as we are finally recognized, undeniably, irrevocably. We are here, and we won’t be marginalized.

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Ian Wilson was married to Laura, and they had two children. He has since come out and is now in a relationship with another man, Jesse. You can read his coming out story. While he and Laura enjoy a terrific relationship, his family has not been supportive and their relationship is strained.

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Love it or hate it, Thanksgiving is fast upon us, and you know what that means: family photos!

So to help you and your brood look extra chic this year we’ve put together a few ideas to get you inspired about getting your picture taken.  And just imagine, looking back at the pictures years from now you can think to yourself, “…and we would have been lost if not for that fateful blog post on Gays With Kids …”

Oh, and I tried to make sure these were all available in-store just in case your outfit purchases have to happen last minute.  :)

1. GAP Sweater 2. Flannel Lined Jeans 3. GAP Infant/Toddler 1 Piece 1. GAP Sweater 2. Flannel Lined Jeans 3. GAP Infant/Toddler 1 Piece 4. Target Boys Dress Shoe

Give the boy a break! As much as we LOVE bow ties and suspenders, we thought maybe this year we’ll give our little prince a day off being dapper and let him rock a look that is a little more rugged than regal. For the little guys we have a cozy one-piece. Feel free to dress it up with the aforementioned bow tie!

 

1. Target Open Cardigan 2. Target Polkadot A-Line Dress 3. Target Holiday Floral Dress 4. Target Mary Janes 1. Target Open Cardigan 2. Target Polkadot A-Line Dress 3. Target Holiday Floral Dress 4. Target Mary Janes

I would feel remiss if I didn’t give you a couple of party dresses to choose from. Feeling glam? Go with #2. Feeling a little more classic? Try #3. Both will look great with the cardigan to keep her warm, and those Mary Janes complete the look!

1. JC Penney Tartan Dress Shirt 2. Old Navy Wool Blend Cardigan 3. GAP Lived In Khakis 1. JC Penney Tartan Dress Shirt 2. GAP Lived In Khakis 3. Old Navy Wool Blend Cardigan

Dad, you’ll be wearing simple staples today: We want the kids' outfits to pop in front of yours in the photos! Working from a neutral palette your color comes from the shirt peeking up from your snugglicious shawl neck cardy. Throw a light scarf in for additional flair; just keep it out of the gravy please!

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It’s fall! Arguably the best season of them all (in the Midwest at least), when the colors change from green to a wild palette of orange, red, purple and yellow, and you can finally start layering again without completely overheating.

I put together this collection with a specific fall activity in mind: apple picking! Each outfit, though simple and restrained, has a splash of fall color in it.

Our shirts are down-to-earth and unassuming, complementing our sweaters.  Here we find the boys' fall colors peeking out in a nice loud plaid shirt, just how I like 'em. Dad and daughter are in more hushed tones — their colors come elsewhere. Here our boy can shine, and you’ll be sure to spot him amongst the trees, a blur of yellow and black, like a lone bumblebee left after summer has gone.

fashion - shirts

(men) Target Striped Shirt(boys) Target Boys Button Down(girls) GAP Polka Dot Henley

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Context: My personal journey to live an honest and authentic life was profiled in an article on Gays With Kids in August 2014. This article will make a little more sense if you stop by that interview first.

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Like most parents, I spend the final weeks of summer scrambling to tie up any loose wardrobe ends before sending my little ones on their paths to higher education, which in their case means preschool and kindergarten. My kids are 3 and 5, so we find ourselves replacing clothing on a nearly seasonal basis, and "Back to School" is practically a season unto itself.

I'm always hunting for outfits that look sharp, while still leaving a little left over to stash away in a college fund. Without further ado, here’s a little mix-and-match style grab bag of some of my favorite back to school finds this year.

For Boys

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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