birthday boy

“When I’m Five Years Old…”

October 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

It’s hard to wrap my head around it, but in just a few weeks I will be the father of a 5-year-old. The time seems to have raced past (oftentimes knocking me on my ass), but of course for our little big boy, it can’t go fast enough. Ever since Jon understood he was a certain number and that there were other numbers higher than his, he’s longed to be higher, bigger, older, faster… and just all around more. As if that were even possible.

Yet as he’s gotten closer to his quinquennial anniversary on Earth, the plans Jon has made for when that day arrives have grown more specific, more elaborate, and good god, more frequent. So between now and his birthday, I’ll be randomly posting a sampling of the things our ambitious boy has declared he will do/be/have when he turns five years old.

When I'm Five Years Old

But wait, there’s more! Stay tuned for further installments of “When I’m five years old…”

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Don’t wait for YOUR next birthday… pop over to Facebook and like the Designer Daddy page, join in the fun and share the love!

Happy Birthday Son! Love, Your Soon-To-Be (Legally) Married Dads & the State of Maryland

November 7, 2012 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Victory Speeches, Birthday Wishes & Wedding Bells

Exhausted from a very trying week and a half, I stayed up as late as I could to watch election (and Question 6) results last night. I gave up around 11 and trudged upstairs to get ready for bed — and when I came out of the bathroom, the election had been called for Obama. I went to sleep happy about that, but stressed knowing the votes for Question 6 were uncomfortably close.

I woke up around 1am to pee, checked Facebook and started tearing up reading all the posts about the victory for marriage equality in Maryland. And not just general “Woohoo!” posts, but status updates from several friends announcing their intentions to get married in 2013, as well as many, many posts, emails and messages to me personally congratulating our family.

After my 1am nature call/sigh of relief/internal jump for joy, I updated my Facebook status:

Woke up to pee and am now tearing up after checking Facebook and seeing that same-sex marriage will finally be legal in Maryland. Can’t wait to tell Jon in the morning (on his 3rd birthday) that Daddy and Papa are gonna get married!

But at 6:30am (after a very un-fitful night of non-sleep) I was awakened by JJ turning on our light and then loudly whining because Papa couldn’t play with him because Papa had to plunge the toilet and couldn’t find said plunger, so then I had to get up and help hunt for it, as well as appease the cranky (now) 3 year-old and change a very wet diaper. Needless to say, there were no birds chirping sweetly, flitting about and putting wedding garlands in my hair.

But as I was changing JJ’s diaper, I wished him Happy Birthday and told him I had a special birthday surprise for him: Daddy and Papa were going to get married! His reaction was to stare in mild confusion and disinterest. I reminded him he had been to Uncle Baby’s and Aunt Amy’s wedding (which he was too young to remember)… still no reaction. I told him, “You get to be the ring bearer!” <Blinks>

A few minutes later when Papa came downstairs, I asked JJ to tell Papa what I’d told him. I of course had to jog his memory about the whole marriage thing, but when I asked him to tell what he (JJ) was going to do at the wedding, he declared proudly, “I”m get to ring the bell!”

We already have rings, so we don’t technically need a ring bearer. And besides, the image of JJ running around ringing a big, loud bell after his Daddy and Papa say their legal “I Do’s” and become his married dads seems just about perfect.

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Here are a few of my favorite congratulatory messages:

Congrats to Marylanders! Brent & Nick, I am so there when (and if) you decide to get married. Whether it’s a big blow-out like last time or a quiet city hall affair, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Love you both!! And your little boo-boo too!

My old friend Brent is just one of many citizens of Maryland who can finally get married to the person he loves! Let go of prejudice! Gold bless America!

My [Facebook] feed is pretty good for now. A few people have been negative nancies, but not too bad. I have one friend in Maryland who made me teary this morning because he got up to pee in the middle of the night and saw that gay marriage is now legal in his state… he was so happy that he could tell his son today, on his 3rd birthday, that his dads are going to get married. That made me happy.

HUGS!!!! Yay to your family!!!

CONGRATULATIONS my friend!!! Happy happy joy joy!!

I just found out that my brother and his partner of 15 years are now allowed to get married and have a “legal” family with their son. I love and look up to them both so much. They set such a wonderful example and inspiration not as gays but as people who love and make it work every day. They’ve taught me so much over the years and guided me out of my naiveté, to prevent heartache and prolonged drama that plague so many in our community. They deserve the best life and happiness. When I grow up, I want to be just like them.

DDQ&A: David Sopp

February 25, 2012 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, THINGS MY KID DIGS

David Sopp is the head designer- and illustrator-in-charge at Wry Baby, one of my all-time favorite baby product-making companies. David is also co-owner with copywriter wife Kelly, where they have birthed such awesome creations as The Drooly Bib, Punkifier Pacifier Case and Eeek! It’s a Monster Hooded Bath Towel, all of which Designer Daddy JJ owns and loves.

Q&A with designer dad David Sopp

How long have you been a dad? How many kids?
I’ve been a Dad to one amazing boy for 11 years.

How did you get started in design?
My first paid job was illustrating a hose-handling guide for the Orange County Fire Department. I was in Junior High and it sounded as hilariously dirty then as it does now.

Designer Daddy's rendering. Not from actual guide.

I spent 15 years as an advertising art director in San Francisco. I worked on pretty much everything from Dell and Nortel to Star Olive Oil and an IHL hockey team called the Spiders. That’s what I like most about advertising, getting really smart about all kinds of businesses in really short time frames and nailing their problems.

Tell me about how Wry Baby got started.
Our son came with a free t-shirt at the hospital. It said the hospital name and the wrong month and we thought, “How lame! Why didn’t they just put NEW! In a red starburst and call it a day?” So we made that shirt and it was the first Wry Baby product.


Happy Birthday Papa!

February 23, 2012 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

I got to play full-on SAHD the other day, so took the opportunity to initiate a craft project with JJ. I see all these amazing books, blogs and segments on TV on how to make incredible crafts with your kids and am genuinely intimidated. How will I find the time to come up with ideas? What if JJ’s not into drawing or art or creative stuff? What good will I be to him as a dad?!?

But then I remember he’s still just two, and his favorite things to do still include making messes, touching everything, and destroying stuff. So while he’s limited on how much he can actually create, we’ve got a few more good years of dad/son craft-bonding ahead of us.

The chosen project was to make a birthday card for Papa. Have you ever tried to find a birthday card (or any card for that matter) for a “Papa”? I’ve come across a couple of Father’s Day cards (some of which were for grandfathers) but generally the Papas of the world get the shaft when it comes to cards, books, TV shows, etc. So we had to represent.

I knew I needed to keep it simple for JJ, so it was fun (and challenging) enough to just let him go to town scrawling wildly on colored construction paper with his jumbo Crayons and markers. I then cut them out, punched a bunch of star-shaped holes in them, and strung it up like a mobile. (Bonus: this serves as a fun spelling tool!)

Papa was very pleased, so I’m hoping this will become an annual tradition – with JJ getting more and more involved, and me moving into a more art directorial position. And I guess eventually just the guy who buys the stuff and cleans up.

The artist and his handiwork

My name in Print

November 30, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

I was notified of this a while back, but just now picked up the latest Regional Design Annual from Print, featuring none other than the invitation to JJ’s first birthday party! Print‘s RDA is one of the longest-running and most exclusive design competitions around, and I’ve had the honor of being included a few times over the course of my career. The most memorable was probably the first, which I wrote about earlier this year.

But this one — being for my kiddo and all — is pretty special, too.

You can find Print‘s 31st Regional Design Annual on newsstands now, or download a digital version from their online store.

Terrific Twos!

November 25, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Since it would have been impossible to top last year’s birthday invitation (and because we hosted another party at the house just a couple weeks prior) I opted for an email invitation for JJ’s second birthday party. I’m such a slacker, I know… Realizing the “Two” birthday is most frequently preceded by the word “Terrible,” I put a preemptive, positive spin on the graphic I attached with the invite:

The asterisk read, “*There will be no mention of the ‘Terrible Twos.’ Hey, a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone!”

The party was a blast and JJ had all kinds of fun – opening presents, wallowing in piles of leaves, and romping around with visiting cousins. Speaking of presents, one particularly awesome but oddly-shaped gift was shipped direct from Amazon, which I un-boxed at the very last minute and realized was next to impossible to wrap. So I quickly tied on a twisty ribbon and tucked it behind all the other baby booty.

Of course JJ discovered it while goofing around under the food table. I caught him red-handed, and he turned around and gave this adorably impish grin:

…which also worked perfectly for the Thank You emails.

So far the Twos are pretty terrific. Besides, how can you stay mad at that face?

DooDad of the Day/Birthday Booty: Sip N Spell

November 12, 2011 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

JJ pulled in quite a haul at his 2nd birthday party last weekend, and in sorting through all the booty I thought it would be fun to feature a few of them as DooDads of the Day.

Click to buy online

There are two reasons I’m featuring these awesome little sippy cups: 1) because they’re nutritional and educational, and 2) because they’re made by a company called “Sugar Booger,” a nickname my Mom used to use, and now I use on occasion for both JJ and Cordi (our pooch).

The only downside to the cups is that JJ — who’s in the process of mastering the alphabet — likes to turn the cup around and upside down to read all the letters, invariably dropping the cup. And being made of melamine, it makes quite a big noise (for such a small cup) when bouncing off the floor!

Sugar Booger also makes matching bibs, tablecloths and silverware, as well as a whole lot of other fun stuff through their parent company ORE Originals. Cheers!

Fridge Wisdom: Birthday(s) edition!

November 7, 2011 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

I gotta get some more "Ds" or change the name of the blog...

So here we are, one year later and the blog is still going strong (ish). Someone recently asked me how I found the time. Which is ironic because I follow several other Dad Blogs — most of them are SAHD (Stat-at-home Dads) — yet they are much more prolific. I’m always wishing I had more time to write, but I gotta make money and take care of the kiddo some of the time, too.

Speaking of making money, I realize blogging doesn’t (at least not for me), but I have really come to enjoy it and so indulge myself. And hopefully a few readers have enjoyed it along the way as well. I also tell myself this is my version of scrapbooking. While I am pretty crafty, I don’t have the patience for that level of craziness.

Of course the blog’s 1st birthday coincides with the 2nd birthday of JJ, the blog’s inspiration!

So here’s a special guest Fridge Wisdom submission from two of JJ’s cousins who visited this last weekend for all the festivities.

Thanks Bella and Kristina! (By the way, their awesome pig and owl hats can be found at BJ’s, in addition to the links from Amazon.)

1st Birthday Giveaway!

November 4, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

In honor of Designer Daddy’s 1st Birthday — and all the awesome folks who read, follow, comment on, and forward me — I’m hosting my first ever giveaway!

The prizes:

A copy of Charley Harper’s ABC’s

This classic board book showcases the gorgeous wildlife illustrations of Charley Harper. A must for any style-minded child (or adult), whether they know their alphabet already or not. You can see more of Harper’s exquisite works of “minimal realism” here. (Shhh! JJ’s getting this for his birthday, so mum’s the word)

One shirt (any style/size) from the Designer Daddy Store

Visit the Designer Daddy Store and pick out any tee, sweatshirt or hoodie in one of the super cool and creepy Halloweenie Doodle styles to keep you warm and wacky throughout the fall. Sizes available in kids 2-4 through adult 3XL in most styles.

How to enter:

Tweet! Like! Comment! Between now and Friday, Nov 11 you can enter to win the Designer Daddy Birthday Package by doing any of the following: 1) Follow Designer Daddy on Twitter and  Tweet a link to this post, 2) Like the Designer Daddy Facebook page and leave a birthday greeting on the wall, or 3) Leave a birthday greeting in the comments here.

One entry per site (Twitter, Facebook, or Designer Daddy) — so up to three entries per person!

The winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, Nov 14. And thanks again everyone for a great first year!

The Mural Project: Coming down to the line…

October 26, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

…and the dot and the swirl and the squiggle.

My goal (well, my latest goal — there have been several) was to have Jon’s mural done by his second birthday. Or more importantly, his second birthday party. Which is exactly 10 days away. Zoinks.

I have made some progress, which is posted below. Let me know what you think, and please continue to cheer me on. The end is in sight! Let’s just hope I don’t go crazy and — as I’m prone to do — overdo it. No “undo” command on this bad boy.

Before dots, my go-to design element was the "swirl." It was all the rage in the 90s.

Look, the dots have grown stems!

A wider shot — Jon was quite excited about all the new "gween."

Lord willing (and the creek don’t rise), I’ll be back here in 10 days, posting pics of the final product!

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