The 7 Queerest Questions I’ve Been Asked as a Gay Dad

August 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

7 Queerest Questions I've Been Asked As A Gay Dad - Designer Daddy

I always imagined myself as a father, but I never imagined being asked questions quite like these.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I went with queerest questions — other than the obvious alliteration and overall cleverness, that is. Because while some of the questions are offensive, some are annoying, and some are downright stupid, they’re not all offensive, annoying or stupid. But they are all queer — as in odd, strange, bizarre. Much like the entire experience of parenting.

Now, if we’re done questioning the queerness of my headline… on with the questions!

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DooDad of the Day: Pig Notecards

August 18, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Real-life, actually-printed-on-paper, delivered-by-a-human-being correspondence is a rare and wonderful treat, dontchathink? But if you’ve ever had even a hint of an original thought in your head, you dread the idea of darkening the doors of your local convenience store to pick over the post-apocalyptic disarray of syrupy, clichéd, annoyingly musical greeting cards.

So why don’t you take some of these perkily porcine Pig Notecards off my hands?

Designer Daddy - Pig Notecards

These blank cards are perfect for party invitations, get wells, birth announcements, thank yous, you’re welcomes and more progressive Bar Mitzvahs. And also meat-themed baby showers. (Seriously, I once sold a set to someone for that very purpose.)

THIS LITTLE PIGGY NOTECARD SET

2 each of 5 different styles
 High-quality printing on uncoated, heavy card stock
 Comes with 10 envelopes in 5 matching colors
 Guaranteed to produce a squeal (or make a tummy grumble)

$15.00 + shipping/handling

To pay with Paypal, send your name, mailing address, quantity (number of boxes of 10), and PayPal email address to daddy (at) designerdaddy (dot) com. Or just hit the CONTACT button up there on the right side of this page.

Take a peek at the 5 precociously punny designs…

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DooDad of the Day: R2D2 Lunch Bag

August 18, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

Anyone getting back-to-school sale burnout? This stellar Star Wars R2D2 lunch bag is your only hope to alleviate that — and to send your kid off to school in geeky style!

STAR WARS R2D2 LUNCH BAG WITH LIGHTS & SOUND

This is the droid you’re looking for… for lunch!

Designer Daddy - DooDad of the Day - R2D2 Lunchbox

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Perfect First Concert: The Laurie Berkner Band

August 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | THINGS MY KID DIGS

Jon and I met up with Grandma and Grandpa last week for what turned out to be the perfect first concert for my almost five-year old.

I knew a little about The Laurie Berkner Band already, as they had a couple of videos in rotation on Nick, Jr back when Jon was a wee bit wee-er. But I’d resisted delving into the world of kindie music too deeply, and consequently didn’t know much beyond those songs. So when Grandma alerted me to Laurie’s show and asked if we wanted to go, I figured I might as well check it out. I hit up THE dad blogger to know for kindie music hook-ups (Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids), and he indeed hooked us up. VIP passes, meet the band, floor seats, the works. Juice boxes on me, Jeff!

We set out on the road (it was about an hour drive) and popped in the band’s Best Of CD, and Jon seemed to get into it right away. Lots of fun, folk and country-tinged, kid-friendly tunes about putting animals on your head and eating rutabaga and fish brushing their teeth. It really helped make the horrendous traffic a bit more bearable, and we got there just in time for a quick chat with Laurie and her band backstage!

Laurie Berkner Band - Designer Daddy

We’re with the band.

Laurie, Susie, Brady and Bobby were very gracious. Jon warmed up to them pretty quickly and in no time was talking Animal with Bobby the drummer. We chatted for about 10 minutes, during which I talked to Laurie about one of their videos we’d seen a lot on Nick Jr., and how much it meant to our family. “My Family” is a sweet, simple tune about how families are made up of all kinds of people, and “when you’re in my heart, you’re in my family.” The video alternates footage of the band with clips of families of all colors, ages and numbers. And tucked in with all the others is a two dad family, kids hoisted on their shoulders, dancing and holding hands. I remember being touched and encouraged every time I saw it, enjoying seeing our family represented and hopeful for our son’s future in his ever-evolving world. And it was such a pleasure to tell Laurie so in person.

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BlogHer 2014: Proof I Was There

August 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES
BlogHer Voice Of The Year Honorees 2014

Click to enlarge (and to actually see my face)

If you’ve yet to read about my full (and inflamed) experience at BlogHer 14, go here. Otherwise, click on the photo above to see all the awesome Voices of the Year honorees, including yours truly under the giant “I WAS HERE!” scribble.

Thanks again BlogHer for a memorable conference and such wonderful, witty, talented company you put me in.

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

For more me and other more interesting things, visit (and like) Designer Daddy on Facebook or follow Designer Daddy on Twitter.

SuperLunchNotes: RIP Robin Williams

August 12, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

This was today’s lunch note, in honor of Robin Williams’ passing. Jon hasn’t seen Aladdin yet, but he has an Aladdin book, so knows who the Genie is. We watched a clip of the song “You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me” on YouTube this morning, and his one comment was, “He’s SO funny!” Truer words…

RIP Robin Williams

Robin Williams was known first (and most) for being a comedian — his rapid-fire delivery and over-the-top characterization knowing no bounds. Yet looking at his entire body of work, he found a way to come down from his seemingly endless zig-zag through space and make his roles relate to so many. Whether you were sailor or a fish-out-of-water; a soldier away from home or a homeless hero; an idealistic professor, a desperate divorcee or a frustrated therapist — he took us along for the ride and made us feel simultaneously at ease and on edge. Filling our hearts while never knowing what to expect next.

Not long after I came out of the closet, The Birdcage was released. Below is a clip of the most touching scene in the film (pardon the quality):

At the time, I hadn’t yet met my husband, and gay marriage wasn’t even remotely an option yet. But as I watched (amidst a snickering audience), I knew this was what I wanted for my life. And that it was possible. Williams’ and Nathan Lane’s sweet, poignant exchange — smack in the middle of a hilariously madcap movie — felt real and meaningful, brave and hopeful. For that, and for many other laughs, tears and granted wishes, I say thank you.

RIP Robin Williams

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Dear Supporters of Same-Sex Marriage: Please Stop Raining On Our Parade*

August 11, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

*LGBT community, I’m talking to you, too.
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Same-Sex Marriage In The United States

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I’ve been remiss in my duties as a same-sex marriage magnetic merry-maker.
I decided at some point (probably during the whole Utah kerfuffle, or perhaps Indiana flip-flopping) that I wasn’t going to fully celebrate a state legalizing same-sex marriage (with a magnet and blog post) UNTIL IT HAD FULLY LEGALIZED SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. The majority of recent court cases on marriage equality haven’t resulted in immediate (or lasting) positive results. I’m the kind of person that likes to wait to celebrate until the contract has been signed, the keys are in my hand, or the baby is in my arms. I’ve been burned a couple of times from premature revelry, so I’m particularly cautiously optimistic when it comes to this subject.

And it’s admittedly been confusing to keep track. Here’s the tally,** as of this writing:

  • 18 states and DC have legalized same-sex marriage
  • 2 states are in progress, with marriages set to start (or restart) later this month
  • 9 states are in flux or on pause. In most instances, a court ruling was made declaring a same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional… resulting in marriages being performed… and then a stay being put on the ruling while the opposition got out their red tape to cause some clusterf*ckery.

There are scads of people (my husband included) with more legal knowledge than me, that could use more official terms and offer more detailed explanations. But this is how I explain it to keep my brain from imploding from all the minutia and two-steps-forward-three-steps-backwardness of it all.

One important thing to be gleaned from the current state of same-sex marriage in the United States is that momentum is clearly in our favor. Every single case that has gone before a state court in 2014 has ruled for legalizing marriage equality. Our team’s win column is filled to overflowing.

But I have a bone to pick with “our team” — the LGBT community and our ever-increasing number of hetero allies: Please stop raining on the same-sex marriage parade.

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Help Johnson & Johnson Promote Equality and Safety for LGBT Families

August 6, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

Johnson & Johnson - care with pride

“No more tears”

Since 1954, this has been the promise of Johnson’s baby shampoo — a brand and a phrase synonymous with childhood. Johnson & Johnson is committed to that same promise when it comes to bullying and its prevalence towards LGBT youth.

Long known for supplying the staples of parenting and family life, Johnson & Johnson extends this support to LGBT families with their CARE WITH PRIDE campaign. For the third year, J&J has partnered with charities to promote, support and protect LGBT parents and students. This year the beneficiaries include PFLAG, The Trevor Project and Family Equality Council, and by the end of 2014, it’s projected that CARE WITH PRIDE will have raised more than $500K since the program began in 2012.

Central to the campaign is the issue of bullying. Nearly one in three students report being bullied during the school year. For LGBT youth (or those believed to be), the figure rises to eight out of 10 who are verbally harassed, and four out of 10 are physically harassed at school. This doesn’t account for abuse that takes place outside the school, or the countless occurrences that go unreported. And it probably goes without saying (but it won’t) that bullied students are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and poor school adjustment. And most tragically, LGB youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers. One quarter of transgendered youth attempt to take their lives. And each episode of LGBT bullying or abuse increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.

PFLAG, The Trevor Project and Family Equality Council play a vital role in the fight against bullying by providing education, raising awareness and promoting equality for LGBT families.

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A Boy, A Stick & A Walk in the Woods: Setting Boundaries & Letting Them Go

August 4, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

Setting Boundaries - Designer Daddy

Instead of trying to corral him within the confines of the play area, I decided to follow my son’s lead — and even encouraged him — in exploring beyond its borders. We were once again searching for the bad guy. It doesn’t matter to my memory who it was… but it was Shredder, in case you were wondering. I followed my boy, who was armed with just a stick. I say “just a stick,” but in the hands of a 4-year old, it can be just about anything. A light saber. A bow staff. A magic wand. Today it was a womper. No use looking that up, as it sprang from my young co-adventurer’s search engine. I felt the tension ease as I unclenched my jaw, lowered my parental guard and let Jon and his imagination be our guide.

Less than an hour before, he’d had yet another mealtime meltdown, intensified by a long weekend of play and compounded by relentless flurries of pollen, exhausting nonstop sniffling and constantly watering eyes. And after being told every five minutes to not rub his eyes, and to blow or wipe his nose, he had grown weary of being bossed around by his dads and by Mother Nature.

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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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