baby pictures

#TBE (Throwback Easter)

April 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | QUICKPIC, SCRAPBOOKING

With wedding plans having taken up so much time lately, Easter has been relegated to an afterthought. Having grown up the son of a preacher man, Easter was a pretty big deal. I’ve always wondered what families that celebrate just the bunnies and egg hunts and craploads of candy get out of Easter. But now we’re kind of one of those families, so when I realized we weren’t going to my parents’ house for the Big E, I felt, I don’t know…nostalgic. Perhaps homesick? Maybe even the tiniest bit guilty.

I’m thinking maybe my mom’s super psychic mom-powers are enhanced during Holy Week, because now she and my dad are driving the almost 2 hours to visit us. It’s more likely they want to smooch on their favorite grandson, seen here in a Throwback Easter pic from two years ago…
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Yes, he’s going to hate me for this someday. I don’t care.

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So while having my parents around will ease some of the glumness I felt last week, it won’t keep me from being nostalgic about this little bunny boy who continues to grow and grow by leaps and bounds, and who no longer allows me to dress him up in such adorable humiliating get-ups.

Sigh. I could stare at this all day…but I gotta go hide some eggs. Happy Easter everybody!

A Little Face Time

February 7, 2014 | By Brent Almond | QUICKPIC

It’s hard to believe a week ago I was in New Orleans beginning an intensive three days of networking with other dads, talking about the role of dads, learning how to be a better dad and getting some face time with my online dad pals. But now I’m back to life, back to reality. And putting all these things that I learned into practice. The hard part.

Not so hard? Having breakfast the first morning back with my reason for being a dad. Sitting there listening to him, watching him, just enjoying the moment and basking in his early morning scruffiness. Some face time, if you will. If anything, my weekend away taught me anew how to be present with my son.

Yes, I realize for “just being present” I sure took a lot of photos; but as you can see, he didn’t really notice until several shots in.

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The “Just-woke-up-sleeping-on-my-head-where-am-I-I-want-food” Face

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DDQ&A: Khoi Vinh

January 24, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DDQ&A, DESIGNER DADDY

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.

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Designer Daddy’s Greatest Hits of 2013

January 1, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGNER DADDY, LEARNING CURVES, RASPBERRIES, SCRAPBOOKING

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2013 was a pretty monumental year, both personally and blogally(?). So for all of the awesome, new readers I’ve met recently — as well as longtime loyalists — here’s a recap of my favorite posts from the last 12 months!

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Caption The Batman!

October 31, 2013 | By Brent Almond | QUICKPIC, SCRAPBOOKING

A big Bat-Thanks to everyone who submitted a caption! Here’s my favorite, from Andy Miller, co-founder of The Handsome Father and dad to a similarly-aged son. He pretty much wins for being the most accurate.

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May your Halloween Day be filled with joy and laughter and your Halloween Night be free of sugar-induced meltdowns!

{Hugs} + #Hashtags,
Designer Daddy

DIY Clown Costume (OMG I Love Preschool!)

September 13, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGNER DADDY, MY INNER MARTHA

It was JJ’s second week of preschool, and while reviewing the calendar for the next week I noticed something that made my heart skip a beat. “TUESDAY: DRESS UP AS A CLOWN DAY.”

I had known it was going to be Circus Week all week (OMG, how fun is preschool?!?), with visits from clowns, balloon animals, and a tumble on the Tumble Bus, but somehow I’d missed this little detail. Thus, on the eve of Dress Up As A Clown Day, it became Daddy’s Making a Homemade Clown Suit the Night Before…Day, er… Night… something.

As soon as JJ was in bed, I morphed into full-on Designer Daddy mode. I giddily sent out a tweet, void of my frequent sarcasm: “Making a clown suit for Circus Day at preschool tomorrow. Now THIS is what I signed up for!”

I dragged all my bags and boxes of unused crafts out of the basement (organized craft supplies are for wimps and people with their own talk shows), grabbed a Diet Coke, shut my office door and set to work.

I know you’re probably here for the cute pics of JJ as a clown (we’ll get to them), but I thought I’d first share my “process,” in the off-chance any of you ever need to whip up an emergency clown suit.

It’s kind of a step-by-step, except without the easy-to-follow part. I was making it up as I went along…

DESIGNER DADDY’S DIY CLOWN COSTUME:
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STEP 1: Dump all your crafts onto your desk.
Okay, this isn’t ALL my craft stuff, but is a bunch of what I thought might come in handy.

Materials used:

  • Glue gun (Essential adhesive extraordinaire. Works for pretty much anything but Styrofoam)
  • Elmer’s glue (the old standby)
  • Big-ass buttons
  • Pom-poms
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Foam paper (my new favorite craft thing)
  • Clown nose (duh)
  • Clothes that already look kinda like clown clothes (Stripes, polka dots, plaids — the more garishly colorful, the better. C’mon, you know what clowns look like.)

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Of Butterflies, Toddlers & Backyard Safaris

August 7, 2013 | By Brent Almond | BABY LIKE, LEARNING CURVES

BUTTERFLIES IN THE WILD

On a recent rainy day, JJ and I took a field trip to one of our favorite spots in the whole Metro DC area — Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland. Set inside Wheaton Regional Park, this hidden treasure was, well, hidden to us up until just a couple of years ago — even though we’ve lived in the next town over for almost a decade.

Fluttering atop the Gardens’ many charms is the Wings of Fancy Butterfly Exhibit, which has run from May to September every year since 1997. Luckily it wasn’t too crowded, so we and the butterflies were able to give each other plenty of room, while still getting some great close-up observation and photo ops.

A few highlights from our visit…
Left: JJ inspects a butterfly wing up close; Right: The disgustingly awesome rotting fruit café

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Evil beware! It’s… Butterman? Batterfly?

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QuickPic: The Thrills of Summer

July 24, 2013 | By Brent Almond | QUICKPIC, SCRAPBOOKING

I’m sorting through my thoughts about our recent trip to visit JJ’s birthparents. It’s taking me longer than I’d planned… In the meantime, please enjoy this montage of JJ performing what appears to be a one-man “Thriller” flash mob at a fountain in downtown Salt Lake City.

Ah, the thrills of summer!

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[It was hard to fit so much cuteness and hilarity on the page, so please click each row to enlarge.]
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My Two Daddies T-Shirt Photo Contest Winner

June 30, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DADDY DJ, DESIGNER DADDY, MY 2 DADS

I owe you all an apology — I plum forgot ’bout the My Two Daddies T-shirt Photo Contest I put up over on the Facebook page, what with all the Fathers’ Days, Pride parades, meeting superheroes, interviews, trips across the country and Supreme Court shenanigans going on.

But Designer Daddy keeps his promises, whether they’re on time or a couple’a weeks late…
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Here’s the winning photo!
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Ain’t this just the darned cutest kid y’ever did see?

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That Can Do Spirit

April 15, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LEARNING CURVES, SCRAPBOOKING

Being a parent of a toddler is hard work — no one who’s ever seen, heard or smelled a toddler would argue with that. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as we modern parents tend to make it. Respite can come from an unexpected place…the toddlers themselves.

Looking to lessen my own stress and find some solutions, I recently completed a Parenting Preschoolers class, taught by the fine folks at PEP. In this class (and the many others offered), instructors champion a philosophy that expands how most of us view a child’s role in everyday life. And it doesn’t include a remote or an iPad.

Nowhere is this more apparent than PEP’s CAN DO KIDS FAIR. This annual event (for children 3-10) showcases PEP’s ideas on parenting, putting them into live, kid-operated action. This year’s Fair took place just a couple of weeks after I completed my class, so it was a great opportunity to practice all these new Daddy skills… and hopefully spend a Saturday afternoon getting JJ good and tired.

I’ll admit it was overwhelming at first. Held in a nearby church’s education building, every room on every floor was packed with parents, kids, instructors and volunteers busily trying or explaining a different activity.

We headed to the first of three floors, and not surprisingly I led us to the painting station. I was a little shocked to find it wasn’t full of easels and finger paints. I was even more shocked to watch my three year-old not only roller paint, but also drill a hole in drywall and then spackle over it. Yes, I used the words “3 year-old” and “drill a hole” in the same sentence. It was pretty amazing — and a little frightening — but he was flanked by a PEP volunteer and Papa, and was being given simple, clear instructions. And he was, of course, loving it.

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Drill, baby, drill!

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