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What I Know This Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Over the last couple of days I’ve stopped and started writing several times about Ferguson and Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and toy guns, race and violence. But I had to stop because my mind was a snarl of thoughts and feelings, tangled even more by the words and pictures from external sources. I just don’t know what to say. Or what to feel or to think. I just don’t know.

Late last night I was doing Jon’s lunch note, and I was at a loss as well. I couldn’t bring myself to do a superhero or a Power Ranger or Transformer or anything else that even hinted at violence. Even if the fight was for good, I just needed a break.

Jon doesn’t know what’s going on in the world, and for me right now, that’s okay. I’ve read about other parents talking to their children of similar age about race and children being killed for their skin color by police of a different skin color, and that’s all well and good for them. But not for me and mine — not just yet. My boy likes to play guns (even though he doesn’t own one) and likes to “shoot the bad guys in the face” (even though he has no idea what that really means). He also doesn’t describe people based on skin color. The closest he’s come is to say Cyborg (a Black superhero) looks like his friend Charlie from school.

So instead of writing about things I don’t know or words I don’t know how to say or am not ready to say, I will write what I do know.

I know that I’m thankful. I’m thankful for my life and my family, imperfect as it is. I’m thankful that my son has two fathers who love him with all their heart. And even though we’re getting older and grayer and slower as he’s getting faster and stronger, we’re here for him. We’re his and he’s ours.

I know I’m thankful that my son doesn’t have to grow up fearing for his life or where his next meal will come from or where he will sleep each night. But I’m thankful that his Papa and I are able to teach him that there are kids and families that do — and that hopefully it will help shape him into a loving, compassionate, generous man. And that by helping to raise a loving, compassionate, generous man, there will be fewer dead children or abused women or bullied queer kids.

A photo posted by Brent Almond (@superlunchnotes) on

Lastly, I know I’m thankful my 5-year-old is still young enough to crawl into my lap or be kissed goodnight or hugged for a good long hug. And when we do talk about how some people are treated differently because of their skin color, their gender, who they love or how they became a family, he’ll have stored up enough hugs and kisses and love so those things sink in and have an impact, but don’t crush his spirit.

Wishing everyone a happy, safe, hug-filled Thanksgiving.

Much love,
Brent

“When I’m Five Years Old…” LEGO Edition

October 24, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Let’s see… we’ve covered miraculous growth spurts, accelerated maturity, and avoidance tactics. Now we come to the I WANT EVERYTHING portion of this series.

When I'm Five Years Old - LEGO

You’ve got to hand it to LEGO. They were a pretty popular toy when I was a kid, but nothing to lose your mind over. Yet somewhere along the way, they went from being huge piles of plastic bricks you made stuff from to elaborate kits with bazillions of teeny, tiny pieces branded to every pop culture property you can imagine. Okay, there were kits back in the olden days, too — but not like they have now. And my son (and nearly every other boy I know, and quite a few girls) are ravenous for them.

We’re at a point right now where Jon’s fingers and dexterity are still not quite developed enough to put together the bazillions of teeny, tiny pieces on his own. Combine that with my too-large fingers and too-old eyes, and building LEGO sets are not my favorite father/son activity.

And never mind how OCD I get thinking about all of these kits and their bazillions of teeny, tiny pieces being assembled once, played with a few times, falling apart piece-by-piece, and eventually ending up all mixed together in the same box… never to be re-assembled the same way again. AUGH! I’m all for free-form creativity, but if we’re gonna shell out the bucks for the kit, and go through the trouble to configure these things, can’t we just dip them in hot glue, throw them on a shelf and call it a day?

Alas, no. That isn’t the way it works. And by “it,” I mean the mind of an almost-5-year-old. Or perhaps the sinister machinations of the LEGO necromancers. Either way, I don’t stand a chance.
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Check out all the other installments of “When I’m Five Years Old…” and share your own child’s aspirations in the comments.

For more fun and creativity, be sure to visit and like Designer Daddy on Facebook!

“When I’m Five Years Old…” Broccoli Edition

October 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

It’s no secret that the struggle with our 4-year-old and food has been long, frustrating and fraught with many, many carbs. As with a lot of kids his age, tastes change as frequently as the Power Rangers’ uniforms. Sometimes it’s Banana Week, other times Apple Week. But it’s almost nearly never an Anything Green Week — which is surprising since green has been his favorite color since he could tell us so.

Yet as we near his fifth birthday, in addition to the personal goals, the promises are starting to pile on as well. Thanks to a book we recently read, Jon now knows that broccoli gives you gas, which elicited the expected glee (and gas). Seeing an opportunity to encourage some veggie digestion, I played up how fun it would be to eat broccoli and all the smelly farts he would have. Being my well-trained son, he of course took it to the next level, proclaiming…

When I'm Five Years Old - Brocolli

As long as he’s eating healthy, I suppose I can wear a gas mask during dinner. But I’m not holding my breath.

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Check out all the other installments of “When I’m Five Years Old…” and share your own child’s aspirations in the comments!

For more delicious fun (and the occasional fart joke), trot over to Facebook and like the Designer Daddy page!

“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!

SuperLunchNotes: Back to School, or Why I Stopped Telling My Son I Loved Him

September 25, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Holy Time-loss, Batman! Has it really been a year already?! For the first week of school, I wanted to come out strong on the lunch notes, as this was the start of my son’s second year of preschool. So I went back to where it all started…Batman. His image is the most iconic, most adaptable, and rife with puns to be played upon. I threw in some other favorites (Cyborg, GL), Daddy’s favorite (Aquaman, duh) and a first appearance from Booster Gold, who we’d watched on an episode of Batman: The Brave & the Bold recently.

And finally, for good measure I added “♥ Daddy” as a signature. This was to be a short-lived addition…

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BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK-ish: August 28 – September 5, 2014

Batman  |  Green Lantern  |  Mr. Fantastic  |  Aquaman  |  Cyborg  |  Booster Gold

Designer Daddy Batman

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SuperLunchNotes: I Know What You Doodled Last Summer

August 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Before we’re all completely consumed with back-to-school madness, let’s take a moment to bask in the fading glow of summer…

My son’s preschool has a super-duper summer program. It’s similar to the regular school year, but loaded with extra helpings of sunshine, water and dirt. I continued the lunch note habit tradition all summer, and with each week of the program having its own theme, I had plenty of inspiration. Here are some highlights from SuperLunchNotes: Summer Edition.
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MARTIAL ARTS WEEK: June 9 – 12, 2014

Michelangelo  |  Pink Ranger  |  Iron Fist  |  Nightwing

SuperLunchNotes TNMT & MMPR - Designer DaddySuperLunchNotes Iron Fist & Nightwing - Designer Daddy

Jon attended a friend’s birthday party at a taekwondo studio, which helped kick off the start to an exciting summer.

The Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon has been a great way to introduce Jon to a few more Marvel characters. Some purists don’t like the teenaged versions of heroes like Iron Fist, but I kinda dig the 21 Jump Street angle of the show. Fun Fact: the actor who does the voice of Iron Fist also does Michelangelo’s voice on the current TNMT cartoon.

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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:

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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SuperLunchNotes: The Powerpuff Girls

July 25, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

I’m taking a quick break between all my conference goings-on at Blog-Her’14 to post the final Girl Power Week SuperLunchNotes — THE POWERPUFF GIRLS! They’ve getting a makeover soon, but nothing can top the originals to truly capture their cuteness, energy and ass-kicking ability!

superlunchnotes - powerpuff girls

Speaking of cuteness, energy and ass-kicking, I’ve already had a chance to reconnect with many of the wonderful women I met at both Dad 2.0 Summit and SalonLGBTQ, and have much more connecting, reconnecting, learning and a bit of drinking (and perhaps karaoke) to do before Saturday night rolls around. More to come…

Have a great weekend, and be sure to tell the powerful women and girls in your life how much you appreciate them. They are NOT to be messed with.

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Sugar, spice and everything nice — that’s what you get when you like Designer Daddy on Facebook and follow SuperLunchNotes on Instagram!

Which Kids’ Movie Song From The Last 12 Months Is The Best?

June 17, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

With the release of The LEGO Movie on DVD/Blu-Ray, it’s got me reflecting on all the great music to come from kids’ movies in the last year. Three songs in particular have delighted children and adults alike… that is, until they bored holes into our brains from repetition. I’m of course talking about “Everything is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy.”

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During the Disney renaissance of the late-80s/90s, songs from the Mouse House’s animated films were all over the radio and the charts. “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” all cracked Billboard’s top 10; and between 1989-1999, 15 songs from Disney films either won or were nominated for Oscars. Yet since that heyday, I don’t recall a time when songs written specifically for kids’ movies have had such an audible impact as the three in question.

So… between “Everything Is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy,” which one is the best? Or perhaps a better question, the least annoying? I decided to break it down scientifically to give you an objective, definitive and 100% fact-based answer. I took into account several factors, then gave points for each category to reach my accurate, foolproof, final results.

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SuperLunchNotes: Week 3

March 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

My only regret about these early weeks of SuperLunchNotes was the bad lighting and soft focus filter I put on them. What is this, Prince of Tides?
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WEEK 3: Aug 26 – Aug 30, 2013
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Krypto: 8.26.13
krypto

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