health

Designer Daddy Goes to the White House

March 21, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

I was invited to the White House recently, and initially I had no idea why. That’s not to say I wasn’t thrilled to receive the invitation. I’ve lived in DC for 20 years, and while I’ve toured the West Wing and attended the Easter Egg Roll, I’d never been to an official event there. I’d never been inside – not really.

And this was about as “inside” as you could get. The invitation read: First Lady Michelle Obama invites you to a conversation about the health of our nation’s kids…

This was part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative. You know, the one trying to get kids to eat healthier and exercise more. Now obviously I want my kid (and all kids) to be healthy, but had they not read my recent post, 19 Things My Kid Has Eaten Since He Last Had a Vegetable? Had they not seen photos of me? They had clearly slacked off in their vetting process.

So there I was, the overweight dad of an under-vegetabled kid, summoned to 1600 Penn to talk about fitness and nutrition. Not one to look a gift house in the portico, I excitedly RSVPed in the affirmative — all the while questioning my inclusion in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

White House Let's Move Event

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19 Things My Kid Has Eaten Since He Last Had a Vegetable

March 1, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Things My Kid Has Eaten - SmartyPants Vitamins

As parents, one of the most common struggles is getting our kids to eat. To eat healthy. To eat what’s set before them. To eat at all.

My son’s mealtime issues are multi-tiered — a parfait of frustration, if you will. Sitting still (or down) is a frequent battle; and as he’s gotten older, he’s become more resourceful in acquiring between-meal snacks. But the biggest hurdle has been his continuously dwindling palette, particularly when it comes to vegetables. While we do sneak them in sometimes (pureed cauliflower in pasta sauce is a favorite), the fact remains he won’t knowingly put any sort of vegetable in his mouth.

But before I go on… If you’re one of those Type A parents whose kids have eaten only well-balanced, organic, locally-grown meals since birth, you can just keep on scrolling. We have plenty of inadequacy on our plate already. And besides, don’t you have some homemade kale-quinoa-almond milk popsicles to whip up?

Okay, now that they’re gone, the rest of us can relax a bit and get down to business. As an exercise in catharsis, I’ve compiled a list for you. A ridiculously long, ridiculously gross list of 19 things my kid has eaten (or chewed, or put in his mouth) since the last time he willingly ate a vegetable.

Cringe at the carnage, be strong in the solidarity, and be sure to share your own weird, stomach-churning tidbits in the comments.

1. Boogers

I figured I might as well get this one out of the way. While one of the most common and arguably most disgusting things kids ingest, I just don’t get the appeal. Maybe it’s the convenience of the short delivery route, or perhaps it’s a child’s first way of practicing recycling. Whatever the reason, I have no idea what the chemical make-up of boogers are, and I’m okay with that. But I’m pretty sure it’s not vegetables.

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I Went to a Conference for Women, and All I Got Was a Big Rash

July 30, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

JOCK ITCH. The “big rash” was actually jock itch; I just didn’t have the nerve to stick it up there in the title.

It was only midway through the first full day of BlogHer — a ginormous conference about blogging and social media, started by and primarily for women — when I realized I was miserable. I’d had more than my normal level of big-guy-thigh-chafe discomfort (AKA “Chub Rub”) from all the walking around, and I couldn’t stop scratching myself. I was, in fact, on fire.

I skipped whatever session I was planning on attending, and approached the concierge at my hotel to inquire about the closest drugstore. “There’s a Walgreen’s not too far away,” he said cheerily. He gave me quick directions and added, “It’s about a 15 minute walk.” Uh, no.

Getting desperate, I made a beeline for the taxis out front. And for whatever reason, said to the cabbie, “I hurt my foot and need to go to Walgreen’s to pick up my medicine. Can you wait for me there and bring me back?”

I’m sure I could have just asked him for a round-trip to Walgreen’s without adding my ruse. Perhaps I didn’t want to appear lazy. Or I wanted to make sure he understood I was crippled so he wouldn’t drop me off at the drugstore and abandon me. In any event, I was committed to it now, and I’m nothing if not committed.

As the cab stopped in front of the store, I told the driver I’d be about 5 minutes, then exited the car and proceeded to pull a reverse Keyser Söze, adding a slight limp to my few strides up to the drugstore’s door.

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The Macaroni Incident

March 29, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

As I’m thick in the throes of wedding planning, I thought it would be a fun to share some witty words from a fellow dad and superhero lover. Yet Charles Baserap is more than your average fanboy. He writes comic reviews at Nerdtopiacast.com, regularly attends cons (he can grow some killer Wolverine mutton chops) and he named his second child Alexander “Lex” Xavier. That kid is destined to be powerful…and bald.

Yet this tale is about Charles’ daughter, who’s the same age as JJ. They too share a love of superheroes, and of being a source of both wonderment and worry for their parents. Enjoy!

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macaroni

When my first child, Anastasia, was about three and half, I picked her up from daycare and it was like any other day. Sure, she was acting a bit moody, but that’s what toddlers do. Terrible twos? That’s just an alliterative smokescreen. That phase starts before they’re two and continues well after. I think I finally outgrew mine at about seven…teen. But the point is that I was able to see something wasn’t quite right with her and she told me her nose hurt. I asked if she bumped it and she meekly said yes, and I thought that was the end of it. Kids bump their noses—and feet, and heads, and everything else they can—all the time. It happens. Then we got to the car and I could tell she wasn’t being completely honest so I asked her about her nose again and she finally fessed up—“I put a piece of pasta in my nose and it got stuck.”

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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…

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Day 1: Baring it all for a good cause.

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

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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!

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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

Chuck the Chunk: Keep On Chuckin’

October 25, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

Other titles considered for this post, “Slow and Steady is Boring and Slow,” “Two Steps Forward, Three Steps to the Couch,” and “I’m So Lame.”

Yes, I’m still doing this. (This being Chuck the Chunk.) To make a long sob story short, I got as low as 278, then got sick, then got crazy busy with work, then went to a conference, then got even crazier busier. Blah, blah, blah, excuse, excuse, excuse. And I’m admittedly a little bummed (okay, a lot) that no sponsors have stepped up to give our ragtag band of dad bloggers a shiny prize to strive for.

Luckily I’ve not fallen completely off the wagon. I’ve yo-yo’ed between 278-284 for the past month or so, depending on how stressed I was or what time of day I weighed myself. Eating right has been relatively steady, but exercise has taken a vacation. This morning I was at 282, so that’s what I’m sticking with for the sake of this post and to get it down in writing. And to move forward.

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I don’t have anything insightful or motivational to share. Other than I’m still fat and I still need help. I am encouraged by the progress I’ve made, but know winter is my hardest time to stay active and not wallow in comfort food. So I’m always ALWAYS open to cheerleading, success stories, ass-kickings and the like.

A big shout out to my little brother Bryan for texting me a while back to see if I was still doing “that Chunk thing.”

So I will keep on Chuckin’. And I promise to check back in sooner next time.

chunkSM

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…
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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.

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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.

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

Chuck the Chunk: “Daddy, your butt is big!”

September 14, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

I made a little more progress this week, but taking (and posting) photos each time reminds me I have a big chunk of work to do. Or maybe I can just avoid being viewed in profile for the rest of my life…

Something else reminded me recently I have a ways to go. My son. For the first time ever — completely out of nowhere — he said, “Daddy, you have a big beyyie.*” This didn’t phase me too much. I pretended to eat his feet and it was all giggles after that. But a couple of days later he pronounced, “Daddy, your butt is BIG!”

This time I told him he shouldn’t say that to people, that is wasn’t nice, blah blah blah. Thing is, I’m not particularly concerned about my butt size — certainly not compared to my belly beyyie. In fact, I’ve always been a little proud of my white boy badonkadonk, thankyouvermuch.

Yet as they say, “Out of the mouths of babes… something something.”

I’m proud of my progress and remain undeterred by these youthful (but truthful) observations. Onward and upward. Or downward, as it were. Later, unwanted 12 pounds!

See you in a fortnight or so.

sep14

chunkSM

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*Toddler translation: “L”s sound like “Y”s

Chuck the Chunk: My Love Affair with Two Men from Vermont

September 1, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED
aug31

I will not be wearing this shirt for weigh-in photos again.

So here we are at the one-month mark of Chuck the Chunk — and I’m proud to say I’ve lost nine pounds! I’ve shed more weight in less time in the past, but I’m really trying my darndest to apply a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race technique. Drastic measures yield more dramatic results, but they rarely ever stick.

Speaking of slow and steady, I recently had a follow-up visit at a weight loss program I participated in a few years ago. While I’m certainly not near where I’d like to be, the doctor looked back on my records and informed me that it was exactly five years from when I first participated in the program, and I’d been able to keep more than half the weight off that I’d lost. He said that put me in the smallest percentile of weight-loss retention, higher even than most people who’d had bariatric surgery (e.g., gastric bypass, lap-band). So yay me!

But I had my share of bad days…days when I wanted to go back to my longstanding, self-abusing love affair with two men named Ben and Jerry.

ben-jerry-froyo-chocolate-fudge-brownie5613

Last Wednesday was particularly rough, with compounded stresses both work- and JJ-related. I was so tempted to “treat” myself to some Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie FroYo. But in a moment of resolve, I told Papa that under no circumstances was he to let me get any. I then hopped online and joined a group of dads on Twitter chatting about healthy eating. It was a great way to vent about my frustrations and share my successes. The day ended, and I didn’t indulge. If I want to treat myself, that’s fine — but I too often fall into using B&J (and other food) to cheer myself up or reward myself.

It’s going to be a long, slow breakup, and I hope we can one day still be friends. But for now I have to be strong. As a famous reality show host once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how the HELL you gonna love somebody else?”

Can I get an AMEN up in here? See you in two weeks.

chunkSM

 

#SuperMilkMan to the Rescue!

August 25, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

As a marketing/design professional and an admitted non-sports fan, the commercials truly ARE my favorite part of the Super Bowl. And last year’s big game featured an awesomely over-the-top spot from the Milk folks featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Here’s a refresher:
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In addition to all the humor, action and special-effects a Super Bowl spot requires, it also showcases the rarely-seen kick-ass Dad (or perhaps the most muscle-bound manny of all time) blowing off helpless kitties, banks being robbed, frightened old ladies, escaped circus lions and an alien invasion, all to provide the much-needed protein and essential nutrients for the munchkins in his charge.

As a follow up, The Rock appears in a new print campaign for Milk, continuing his portrayal of a super milk-powered hero, AKA #SuperMilkMan! He’s finally back to help out that poor, tree-stranded kitty:

BQ_saWrCAAAmxyB.jpg_large

You might be thinking, Okayyy, milk’s great and all. But… whatthehuh?

Well, the fellows at Life of Dad helped Milk rustle up 25 dad bloggers to be Milk Ambassadors, to create an original video promoting Milk’s new ad campaign, and possibly win a trip to either LA or New York to meet The Rock* himself! And yup, I’m one of those 25 Official Entrants!

And here’s my video! Keep in mind the budget was much lower, but my costar is way cuter than a stupid cat:

So, for the love of all that is whole or skim, please tweet, share, like, twerk, etc. this post and the video so I win that trip to LA (I’ve been to NYC, so fingers crossed for Hollywood) and my son gets to meet a darn-near, real-life superhero!

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Important sites and social media thingies and whatnot:

If ya tweet, use #SuperMilkMan

Follow on Twitter: @MilkMustache

Like on Facebook: facebook.com/milkmustache

Visit: www.GotMilkGotProtein.com

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DIRECTOR’S CUT! BONUS MATERIAL!

Never-before-seen storyboard sketches:
storyboarding

Behind-the-scenes celebrity gossip:
During this shoot, the antagonist (Energetic Toddler, played by JJ) — for the first time in his career life — refused to go outside to do the action scenes. He had to be bribed with a snack, a superhero toy, and of course a cold glass of milk. Truly a star in the making.

#SuperMilkMan fun fact: Cinematography by Papa!

Exclusive Designer Daddy contest offer:
In the comments, name your favorite way to enjoy milk AND your favorite movie starring Dwayne Johnson/The Rock for a chance to win a custom pair of gauntlets, just like those worn by #SuperMilkMan! Contest ends midnight 9/6/13.

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*Don’t tell anyone, but I’d be just as happy with a pair of those rockin’ space-themed pajama pants… Or more specifically, an XXL for me, L for Papa, and a kid’s size 4 for JJ. Just sayin’.

[Disclaimer: I am being compensated by Life of Dad, LLC for my participation as an Official Entrant in, and promoter of the #SuperMilkMan Contest. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are mine and/or JJ’s.]

 

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