causes & charities

Where Do Gay Dads Fit into ‘Amazon Mom’?

March 5, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

#AmazonFamilyUS - Amazon Family Gay Dads

Everyone knows that The Gays love to shop. OK, maybe not all gays, but certainly a healthy percentage do. Stereotypes carry a measure of truth, after all.

Gay dads are no different. We still spend a lot of money on clothes, appliances and travel, it’s just that those clothes are now Onesies, the appliances are now Diaper Genies, and the travel is now to Disney World.

And just like the rest of the modern world, we do a ton of shopping on Amazon.

I’ve long been a subscriber to Amazon Prime, their frequent-shopper discount program. Then when Papa and I started stocking up for impending parenthood, Amazon began sending us emails and peppering us with ads about their family-focused program, Amazon Mom.

Being a two-dad family, it was a little annoying to see yet one more thing that made us feel invisible. However, we were still jumping through hoops to complete our adoption, and advocating in our home state to legalize same-sex marriage. We had more important battles to wage.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Leelah Alcorn and Too Many Lost Children

January 8, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

leelah alcorn - designerdaddy.com

Two stories. Two lost children.

A girl born in a boy’s body, into a family not willing to see her.

Leelah was born Joshua. By her account (now removed, but not silent) she opened up her deepest, most intimate self to those that brought her into the world – those that protected, clothed and fed her. Yet they only saw a him — the him they created 17 years prior — and would see nothing else. They sent her to counselors who did nothing of the kind; and in spite of that, she still stood by her new self. And since those that made her could not have their boy, they removed all she held dear: her school, her friends, her connections, the things that helped her stand.

So she ran from her 17 years, and she fell and didn’t get back up.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Fostering Good Will

December 19, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

I spend a lot of time worrying if I’m a good enough father. My concerns aren’t so much that my son’s being raised by two dads or that he’s adopted — though I know both of those will bring challenges along the way. Something I do worry about lately is that we’re raising an overly-entitled child.

It could be argued that it’s because Jon’s an only child. Or that we started habits of “giving in” early on. Or that he’s a 5-year-old whose only concerns are for himself. Regardless of the reasons, the truth is that very little in society works to counteract such a sense of entitlement. Reality shows, social media, selfies, (ahem) blogs — all reinforce that it’s all about ME, all the time.

So we wanted to start teaching Jon about being charitable — thinking beyond what’s in it for him. When the opportunity to work with Lee Jeans on their #LeeGoodDeed campaign came along, I knew I’d found the perfect opportunity.

AND NOW, A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR

Yes, this is a paid post for Lee Jeans. I’m sorry if that ruins the vibe of my story, but posts like this are what afford me the ability to keep blogging. And if you’ve followed the blog for any amount of time, some of these partnerships have resulted in some pretty incredible experiences.

TIME TO PLUG THE JEANS
If you’re like me, the last time you’d worn Lee Jeans, you were also wearing a Members Only jacket and Pony sneakers with a Velcro strap. They just weren’t on my fashion radar. Then last year, Lee was a sponsor at a conference I attended, and they fitted everyone with a new pair of jeans. Honest-to-god, they were (are) the most comfortable pair of jeans I’ve owned in many, many years. And for this partnership, they hooked me up with ANOTHER pair, equally as comfy. Tucked in the back pocket was a list of ideas for my #LeeGoodDeed assignment…

Lee Jeans Good Will

Woot! @LeeJeans sent me some spiffy new jeans. Wonder what my #LeeGoodDeed is gonna be…

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

DooDad of the Day: Dorkdaddy Tees

August 25, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, THINGS DAD DIGS

Are you a Star Wars fan of galactic proportions? Think everything is awesome about LEGO? In other words, are you a dork? No need to be ashamed…but you do need to grab one of these dork-tastic tees designed by my pal Sam from Dorkdaddy.com

Dordaddy Tees - DesignerDaddy.com

DORKS OF THE GALAXY UNITE!

In order for these shirts to get printed — and for an important cause to benefit — at least 10 of all 5 deigns have to be reserved. (2 reached their goal, 1 is close, 2 need help.) It’s all up to you, folks — the universe is depending on you! Go reserve yours now.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

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.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

LEGO-Shell Partnership Claims Another Victim

July 8, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Homeless polar bears. Drowning Santa. Emmet and Wyldstyle in a pit of black ooze — all tragic. Yet someone’s missing from this list…

lego-shell-aquaman
Graphic inspired by this. Which was inspired by this.

Silly Greenpeace, if you’re going to show the effects of the supposed LEGO-Shell partnership, how can you not include Aquaman? He stands to lose more than anyone in the apocalyptic oil spill depicted in your very, very sad video.

Grab a tissue and check out the doomy & gloomy (but admittedly creative) cover of “Everything Is Awesome.”

.
So what say you, readers?
Are you ready to sign the petition and ban LEGO from your household until they completely disconnect from Shell? Or are you tired of all the bleeding heart propaganda getting in the way of building a life-size X-Wing Fighter? Get your rant on in the comments! 

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

For more toys and superheroes and arguments and silliness visit and like Designer Daddy on Facebook and follow Designer Daddy on Twitter.

Retelling A Tragic Story

November 18, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

tragicstory
I had seen the headlines — about a couple “returning” their adopted son after 9 years — yet had steered completely clear of reading it.

But then a friend messaged me the link to one of the articles. “Have you seen this? So awful.” was all he said. No shit. That’s why I’d been avoiding it. More sensationalist fodder to fuel the 24-hour-news-cycle hyperbole machine. Another emotional train wreck that so many somehow never grow tired of rubbernecking at.

Do you know who doesn’t stop to stare at train wrecks? People who’ve actually been in a train wreck.

As an adoptive parent, I avoided this story the same way I’d avoided the reality series The Baby Wait. This show (from the creators of Teen Mom, 16 & Pregnant, and Jersey Shore…yikes) followed adoptive parents during the revocation period — the time after a child is born when the birthmother can change her mind and terminate the adoption. Sure it shed some light on open adoptions (like ours is) and even featured several same-sex couples. Nonetheless, those pluses were overshadowed by the fact this was a show capitalizing on loss and rejection. Before JJ came into our lives, we had experienced such an ordeal. Why would we want to relive it in any form ever again?

So yeah, I wasn’t reading any story about adoptive parents abandoning their child. I had my own life and adopted child to worry about. And not abandon.

Then later I saw my friend had posted the article on Facebook, and realized that he had written it. With a mix of courtesy and curiosity, I gave in and read it. Here are the miserable highlights:

Cleveland and Lisa Cox adopted their son when he was three months old. Now he’s 9 years old, displaying some aggressive behavior, and is reported to have threatened other family members with a knife. The Cox’s took their son to their local Ohio children services, leaving the state to deal with him. A judge is considering charging the parents with reckless abandonment, for which they could face 6 months of jail time and a $1,000 fine. The parents apparently were frustrated that the boy would not agree to get help for his behavioral issues. The couple took their 2 other children and left the area for a couple of days, then turned themselves in on Friday. The Cox’s will appear in Juvenile Court November 27 to address their request to terminate parental rights.

I’m sure there are details the public isn’t privy to. And I’m not here to pile on more judgement and vitriol (although the temptation is very strong).

So why write about it? Because by all appearances, these two were not meant to be this boy’s parents, and are — by their own admission — unfit to be so. But more importantly, now there’s a 9 year-old boy with likely behavioral problems, stuck in the foster care system. Those are not the kinds of kids that get adopted (again) quickly. Or oftentimes, at all.

My hope is that the more this story gets out — sad, dramatic details and all — the more quickly this boy will find his true and permanent home. Whether it’s a new family with the patience and strength to love and support him unconditionally; or by some miracle, the Cox’s, repentant and willing to do everything it takes to get help for themselves and their son.

As with the vast majority of any honest parents, my child has made me want to yank out my (remaining) hair many times, but I’ve never even pondered “giving him back.” What does that even mean? I don’t sit around thinking about him being adopted, even when I’m angry and frustrated and at my wit’s end. I know JJ is right where he belongs. We’re far from a perfect family, yet he’s mine & Papa’s and we’re his — a forever family. My son has brought so much life to my life, and I could never imagine returning to a time without him.

Thank you to David Wallach (from Dad All Day) for sending me your article.

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

P.S. If you don’t already “Like” Designer Daddy’s Facebook Page, but you like the blog, please come by for a visit for additional content, photos and conversation.

What’s Been Going On With My Face…

November 16, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

MO13-Primary-Logo-Ranged-NEG-copy

Here we are, halfway through November, and you may have seen quite a few new facial hairs growing on the men in your life or around the interwebs. In case you’re not familiar, this is the phenomenon known as MOVEMBER. The “M” is for “mustache” and “men’s health issues” and please give “money.”

Yes, I’m hopping on the scruffy bandwagon to help raise money for research and treatment of health problems commonly found in men, including testicular cancer, prostate cancer and mental health issues. I applaud the Movember movement moguls for adding mental health to the docket. In light of the events of Sandyhook, and the general stigma surrounding mental health (especially when it comes to men), giving exposure to depression, anxiety and other disorders can only help those that suffer, as well as those that love them.

What’s my MOtivation? As I state on my Movember page, it’s plain and simple:
Men’s health is important to me because I’m a man, my husband is a man, and our 4 year-old son will one day be a man. So we all need to be around and healthy a long time so we can all grow mustaches together one day.

Here’s my progress so far…

brent-day1

Day 1: Baring it all for a good cause.

day8

Day 8: Having fun while in facial hair flux. Can you name that famous ‘stache?

day14

Day 14: What? Too Ted Nugent-y?

Click to super-size! Altho I'm not sure why you'd want to...

Click to super-size! Altho I’m not sure why you’d want to…

Please follow along, either on my Movember page or keep an eye out on Facebook or Instagram. And of course, please give as you are able. I’m part of a team of 50 Dad Bloggers, so there’s a healthy dose of competition in our ranks. I’m still in the top 10, but we’ve got half a month to go and lots of aggressive mo-growing going on!

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

BONUS: If you make a donation of $20, you’ll receive your very own, super-fancy customized “I GOT MO’ED!” photo, suitable for use on Facebook, Holiday cards or company web sites.

SUPER BONUS: Give $50, and I’ll MO someone else of your choosing!

Here are two of my first Movember victims contributors. Thanks guys!

moed-web

Testicular Cancer and Embracing Your Nuts

October 6, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

embracing your nuts

When your last name is “Almond,” you learn at a young age to live with the “nut” jokes. From the constant jingle-singing* (“Almond Joy’s got nuts…”) to the crazy/nuts remarks, the cracks start early and get old fast. And ’round about puberty, anything and everything testicle-related gets thrown at you. But I got used to it, eventually able to celebrate my surname’s uniqueness. I even named my graphic design company Design Nut. You could say that I’ve come to embrace my nuts.

TCF-ParentBlogger-badge-SQUARE-150px150px2SO LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU EMBRACING YOUR NUTS.

I’m proud to be a member of the Testicular Cancer Foundation’s MAN UP MONDAY Blogging Team. I’m doing my part talking about nuts to spread the all-important message of Testicular Cancer self-examination and early detection.

I still remember the video we watched in Junior High health class of the guy feeling himself up in the shower. For a young gay kid, this was ALL KINDS OF AWKWARD. But it left an impression, and I checked myself regularly throughout my youth. I never had any cancer symptoms, but it made me more aware of my body and some of the risks I faced. And it’s not like it hurt or anything.

YOU’D BE NUTS NOT TO KNOW THESE FACTS:

Testicular Cancer is the #1 cancer in young men ages 15 to 35.
 Testicular Cancer is highly survivable if detected early.
Young men should be doing a monthly self-exam. (Which is a no-brainer, since they’re going to be down there anyway…)

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN TO EMBRACE YOUR NUTS?

Stop by the Testicular Cancer Foundation website for more information on Testicular Cancer.
Request a FREE shower card with self-exam instructions – it just might save a young man in your life!
If you’re feeling a little awkward about this conversation, check out this nutty little video from some parents who feel the same way…
.

.
PARENTS, YOU’D BE NUTS TO SEND THIS TO YOUR SONS.

Since we’re being honest, I’m pretty sure most teenage boys would think you’re off your nutter if you showed them this aticle. But you know what? They already think that about you, so what have you got to lose? NOTHING. What have they got to lose if you don’t? EVERYTHING. So nut up and text them this post during gym class. Play the video before family movie night. Sneak a shower card and an Almond Joy into their lunch. Get creative. Get silly. But get them the info. You’d be nuts not to.

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

SEMI-RELEVANT EPILOGUE: Think your toddler is too young to talk testicles? The other day JJ and Papa were talking skeletons, as we’re getting close to Halloween. My son was sitting in the tub, pointing to different parts of his body (arm, hand, head) and asking “is there a bone in here?” Inevitably, he pointed to his wee bits. Papa let out long laugh, told him “No, but…” then decided that conversation could wait and splashed around to change the subject. All that to say, A) my son is awesome cute, and B) yup, he’s already talking testicles.

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

*At least my last name wasn’t “Mounds”

A gay toy that pees. You know, for kids!

August 23, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, THINGS MY KID DIGS

A wee bit ago, I got my all-time oddest product review request. It was for UBBAS bath toys, which are essentially rubber cups — somewhat people-shaped — that can hold hands, hug, and pee. They come in four varieties: Papa, Mama, Brother and Sister. Did I mention the peeing part? Because Papa and Brother UBBA pee straight out, while Mama and Sister UBBA pee straight down.

Yup, a gay toy that pees. I told you it was odd.

I OF COURSE SAID YES. Who better to review a cleverly-designed toy for kids with gay parents?

3pp

The family that pees together, um… I got nothin.

.
UBBAS Bath Cups
were created by designer Rob Spalding as a tool that offers a fun, loving representation of family for kids of same-sex parents. Each is sold separately, so I got 2 Papas and 1 Brother, natch. It’s also meant to open dialog with your kids about their bodies. You know, because of the peeing.

Now I’ve been griping since before JJ was born about the lack of books, toys, shows, etc. that portray kids with same-sex parents. It’s a large part of what motivates me to blog or do any of the advocacy I do – to make sure JJ sees other examples of families like his, so that he’s confident and well-equipped to answer questions or deal with conflicts he might face because of his unique family makeup. But I’ll admit to being a little weirded out by this toy. I’m a fairly liberal guy, but the thought of mixing same-sex parents, bath time and peeing just sounded skeevy. Not to mention a tough sell to mainstream America.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...