baby pictures

DIY Clown Costume (OMG I Love Preschool!)

September 13, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

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 | LESSONS LEARNED, THINGS MY KID DIGS

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 | MAKING MEMORIES

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 | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

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 | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

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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Rolling With My Homies: The 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll

April 11, 2013 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS MY KID DIGS

I’m about a week behind on life (checking calendar… make that two weeks), so pardon the untimeliness of this post. However, I couldn’t NOT document it for JJ — and for myself, as I am getting older and more forgetful. Plus, have you ever actually met anyone who’s been to the White House Easter Egg Roll? I hadn’t, so thought sharing a bit of our eggsperience might be eggciting* for you.

The White House Easter Egg Roll (henceforth, The WHEER) is one of those things you grow up knowing about — especially around these parts — but never imagining you’d go to. I even remember a few years ago hearing about same-sex parent families attending, and that it was kind of a big deal. But again, I never thought I’d end up at this DC Bucket List-worthy shindig.

But out of the blue, a few days before The WHEER, I got an email from a friend offering us some tickets! He’s got major Obama connections and had taken his nieces last year; but he thought of our family this year. [Thanks RyRo!] Needless to say, we hopped at the chance!

I won’t go into too much minutia — I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anybunny with dreams of going themselves some year… But hare are the highlights:
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THE LINES:

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The throng waiting in eggticipation. It started out overcast, and was drizzling about the last 1/2 hour we were in line. Papa also tried to teach JJ to say “obelisk.” I commented to a woman next to us, wondering aloud how many of these kids were going to be sick the next day. Despite all this, it was a surprisingly well-behaved horde.
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White House Easter Egg Roll

Papa and I took turns holding JJ, as he’s a runner. Hare’s a huggy photo I’m particularly fond of.
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Giveaway: Printcopia Canvas Prints!

March 19, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS DAD DIGS

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One of the perks of being a blogger for any length of time is getting nifty stuff to review. Even better is when it’s something that you genuinely end up liking. Such is the case with the canvas print from Printcopia I was asked to create and review for a very cool giveaway that YOU need to enter! (details below)

Not surprisingly, I’m pretty picky extremely anal about what goes on the walls of my house or office. No “off-the-rack” posters, prints or artwork in this Designer Daddy’s personal gallery. Yet that’s not to say I only buy expensive artwork. My main requirement is that it has a story — a painting by my favorite local artist, a framed poster from a trip to Prague, or a charcoal sketch I did in college — it’s gotta be personal, otherwise it’s just decoration.

However we don’t have many photos on the wall. We’ve got plenty scattered throughout the house on bookshelves and dressers; but even more odd, we don’t have more than a couple of photos of our son on the wall… or anywhere. I’ve posted a bazillion on Facebook, Instagram and my blog, and I’ve got a folder in iPhoto for every month since he was born. But since becoming parents, getting photos actually printed, picking out a frame, etc. just takes time we ain’t got.

This is what excited me about Printcopia. It was a way to put up a photo of JJ along with the artwork on the wall and have it fit in — not just in size, but in quality.

I’ve had one photo print made before through another company, and while the quality was good, it only came in one size/shape — square. Printcopia can do square plus a bevy of other sizes ranging from 8″ x 8″ to 30″ x 40.” And not just canvas prints, but also sleek acrylic prints, framed prints, panoramics, decorative wall decals, and yes, even old school photo prints. Images for all of these can be uploaded from Facebook, Instagram, or your desktop/photo library.

But my favorite feature was being able to choose any color I wanted for the edges of the canvas. As a designer, having the ability to customize the details is vital (I’m a dork like that). For my print, I chose a favorite from our trip to Italy. Our living room (where the print now lives) has a warm, bright color palette, so being able to sample the orange in JJ’s shirt and make that the border color was pretty dang awesome.

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NOW ABOUT THAT GIVEAWAY…
I’ve partnered with several other parent bloggers so we could get a bigger booty.
The winner will receive THREE canvas prints:
one 8″ x 10″
one 11″ x 14″
one 16″ x 20″

Keep in mind Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are coming up. Enter this contest (and win)… Shopping for your spouse, parents or in-laws? Done. And WAY better than smelly soap or a tie.

 

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Original photo

 

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Printcopia canvas print, in our living room. The only thing I Photoshopped out were the crayon marks on the wall. (Canvas is 16″ x 20″)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The giveaway runs for two weeks (ends 11:59pm April 2nd), and the winner will be contacted within 7 days. If you have any questions, email orenmil@bloggerfather.com. Oren (AKA A Blogger and a Father) headed up this contest and will be responsible for prize fulfillment. Contest is open to US residents, 18 and older.

(PS: Printcopia has several sister sites that sell car magnets, banners, and bandit signs.)

QuickPic: Snow Day

March 14, 2013 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

As spring is finally starting to creep in, I thought I’d share these few (and rare, non-Instagram) photos of JJ watching Papa shovel snow from a couple weeks ago.

I’m not sure why I think posting photos on my blog is filler — I could look at these all day…

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Silly Hat Day: A Story in Pictures

March 1, 2013 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

On a cold, rainy day not too long ago, I had a brain fart of forethought, gathered all the hats from all over the house, and declared it henceforth be known as (cue trumpets)… Silly Hat Day!

In all honesty, I needed a break from playing superheroes (or coloring them, or watching them on TV). And it actually turned out to be more of a Silly Two-and-a-half Hours, but it was nonetheless a fun diversion during an otherwise dreary day.

Let the silliness commence!

I wonder if we've got enough silly to fill all these hats?

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Silly Hat Day starts out a little on the grumpy side.

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QuickPic: My Monkeys

February 5, 2013 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

Monkey See…

…Monkey Do.

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