MAKING MEMORIES

stories, photos, graphics chronicling my journey as a dad

I Won an Award for Parenting During a Pandemic!

November 4, 2021 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

Iris Awards

Okay, so the award wasn’t for my actual parenting skills, but rather my writing about being a dad during a pandemic. A series of posts I wrote during 2020 has won the Iris Award for Best Sponsored Content!

What’s an Iris Award?

Think the Oscars for parent blogging. Attendees of the Mom 2.0 and Dad 2.0 conferences nominate and vote for their peers in a variety of categories, ranging from writing to photography to podcasts. Each year the awards ceremony is a swanky affair held at the end of the Mom 2.0 Summit. While this year’s virtual version wasn’t nearly as swanky as usual, it was certainly no less an honor to be recognized.

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First Day of School: Sixth Grade!

September 1, 2021 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

This was a day of many firsts. First day of sixth grade. First day of middle school. First day in a new school — with an entirely new set of classmates. And it was my son’s first day of full-time, in-person school since the middle of fourth grade. Fingers crossed it stays full-time. #GetVaccinated #ScienceIsReal #FUdelta

First day of school - Sixth grade

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A Year of Pandemic Parenting, In Pictures

April 30, 2021 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

We’ve been pandemic parenting for over a year now… and it’s been a hell of a year, hasn’t it? Compared to so many that were medically or financially devastated by Covid, our family got off fairly easy. Yet I imagine everyone looks forward to putting this behind us, allowing it to fade into a surreal, scary, traumatic, lonely, stressful, depressing — and oh so monotonous — memory.

Between the isolation, health scares, lost work and the flaming dumpster fire that was virtual learning, I had to do something to keep my sanity, fill the time, and lift the spirits of my housebound family.

While distance learning was (and is) a largely futile endeavor for my ADHD kiddo, his school interjected some fun as best it could. Spirit Week was always one of my favorite events growing up, so I was pleasantly surprised when Jon’s school added a couple of extra themed weeks to the calendar.

As it’s no secret Dad loves any excuse to play dress up, I wasn’t letting my son have all the fun. I got us all involved — picked out props, took pics, and occasionally had some Photoshop fun before sharing on social media. It was such a hoot, I added a few themed Spirit Days of my own. If I’m being honest, sometimes I was probably the only one truly enjoying it — but kudos to Jon and Papa for letting me force convince them to play along!

So, as we surpass the year mark on quarantine life, I wanted to commemorate all of the wacky, weird and spirited photos from the weary months we’ve made it through.

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HOPPY EASTER! 👯‍♂️🦄 Not an official Spirit Day photo, but officially adorbs. Trying to find some fun hidden in our son’s first Easter not spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

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Talking to My Kid About Alcohol

April 14, 2021 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

April is Alcohol Responsibility Month. And as a parent, making our children aware of alcohol and responsible drinking should happen early, appropriately and repeatedly.

But first let me drop a bit of awareness on you

Talking to My Kid About Alcohol

In 1991, 80% of American teens had consumed alcohol at least once. By 2020, that number had dropped to 44%. Some credit this decrease, in part, to an increase in parents talking to their children openly and honestly about alcohol.

This past year I’ve had the pleasure of working with Responsibility.org, whose mission is to facilitate these lifelong conversations between parents and kids. I’ve learned a ton from my interactions with the organization and strive to impart some of that knowledge to my readers… and of course, to my son.

So, in honor of Alcohol Responsibility Month, I thought I’d do just that — have a conversation with my 11-year-old about alcohol.

As I was coming up with questions, I realized I hadn’t had much in the way of father-son chats about alcohol. I knew he’d seen me and his Papa drink — and probably more often during quarantine. But what did he really know? What had he actually observed? How worried should I be?

Below is our enlightening (and entertaining) discussion.

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Designer Daddy’s Top 10 Songs of the Last 10 Years

March 14, 2021 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE, THINGS DAD DIGS, THINGS MY KID DIGS

This past year marked a couple of personal milestones: becoming a father and the birth of this blog. To commemorate ten years as both Daddy and Designer Daddy, I’m sharing a series of Top 10 lists. Each post will feature the most amazing/fun/memorable things/experiences/whatevers from the last decade.

Top 10 Songs

Sharing my passions with my son is one of the best parts of being a dad. And before I was able to introduce him to my favorite comic books, TV shows or movies, there was music. Whether I was lulling a newborn to sleep, distracting a fussy baby on a long car ride, or teaching a toddler the basics of superhero themes, music has been an integral part of my parenting experience.

I grew up in a musical home, my parents and siblings displaying mastery of the piano, guitar, opera and more. My skill set veered more towards music appreciation (though I do sing), but I pride myself on having the largest music collection in the family. So, it was a no brainer that my kiddo was going to be raised on radio (or iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, rather).

Limiting this list to ten was near impossible. There’s quite a bit of overlap from my TV and movies lists — my parenting journey has definitely had a soundtrack. In any event, here are the top 10 (or so) songs from my first ten years of fatherhood. Release dates are listed next to each title, but the songs appear in the order I introduced them to my son.

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Designer Daddy’s Top 10 Halloween Costumes of the Last 10 Years

October 3, 2020 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE

The start of the new decade also marks a couple of personal milestones: becoming a father and the birth of this blog. To commemorate ten years as both Daddy and Designer Daddy, I’m sharing a series of Top 10 lists throughout the year. Each post will feature the most amazing/fun/memorable things/experiences/whatevers from the last decade.

Halloween Costumes

As a dad with a creative/crafty streak, few things have brought me more joy than dressing up my kid in Halloween costumes. It doesn’t hurt that I also like to play dress up from time-to-time — but that’s another list for another time.

This is quite the spooky scrapbook, documenting my son’s favorite heroes and characters over the last 10 years. You may notice that some years are represented more than once. Typically, each year included a school party/costume parade as well as trick-or-treating, so some years I overzealously made two different costumes. This exhausting practice has since been retired.

Enjoy these magically monstrous moments, including tips on how to make/where to buy the costumes. And oh yeah, Happy Halloween!

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First Day of School: Fifth Grade!

September 1, 2020 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

So… FIFTH GRADE. Even under normal circumstances, that phrase brings a mixture of shock, awe, gratefulness and stress. So let’s throw in a global pandemic and some at-home, online learning for added effect, shall we?

Needless to say, the last few months of fourth grade were not what we (or anyone else) had planned. I’m sure there are some kids out there who thrive at distance learning. My child is not one of them. His ADHD, combined with a penchant for non-stop, action-packed video games, made for some very frustrating attempts at on-screen classes. We made it out the other side alive, which I consider a win.

Also needless to say, Jon and I both enjoyed the hell out of our class-less summer. But now here we are again — the excitement of a new school year mixed with the stressful virtuality of it all.

First Day of School: Fifth Grade

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Parenting During A Pandemic: Toasting the Last Days of Summer

August 27, 2020 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

Last Days of Summer - header

It’s been a hell of a summer, hasn’t it? Between ongoing quarantine and COVID scares, missed friends and canceled plans, social unrest and political nonsense, it’s been a hot mess of struggle and stress for a whole lot of folks. Typically, the last days of summer meant the excitement (for kids) and relief (for parents) of back to school. Again, with the challenges and disappointment!

With all of these factors — combined with the unknowns of the new school year AND an increase in socially distant socializing — there are more and more occasions to enjoy a cocktail. Or two.

I’ll admit it’s been a struggle for me not to stress drink. Or drink out of boredom. Or just reward myself for making it through another day. Serendipitously, I’ve had the privilege of working with Responsibility.org this year. They’ve been a great resource when it comes to enjoying alcohol, well, responsibly.

Here are a few tips from Responsibility.org to help you toast the last days of summer — whether enjoying cocktails at home, hosting outdoor gatherings, or venturing out to restaurants.

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Designer Daddy’s Top 10 Father’s Days of the Last 10 Years

June 21, 2020 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

The start of the new decade also marks a couple of personal milestones: becoming a father and the birth of this blog. To commemorate ten years as both Daddy and Designer Daddy, I’m sharing a series of Top 10 lists throughout the year. Each post will feature the most amazing/fun/memorable things/experiences/whatevers from the last decade.

Top 10 Father's Days

I was hoping to have a couple more Top 10 lists posted by the middle of 2020, but COVID-19 had others plans. As Father’s Day rolled around and I realized we’d be spending yet another holiday in quarantine. So I got nostalgic and started rummaging through photos of Dad’s Days past. I got excited about documenting our first ten years of Father’s Days — until I did the math and realized that while our son was 10 years old, we were celebrating our 11th Father’s Day. New math is hard.

As I’ve written many times on this blog, Father’s Day is not a day of rest and relaxation for two-dad families. Yet we’ve somehow managed to always be together, and get some manner of family photo. While they haven’t always been exciting Father’s Days — or even all that happy — it’s nice to look back and see what ten (eleven?!?) years of celebrating family looks like.

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Designer Daddy’s Top 10 TV Shows of the Last 10 Years

March 8, 2020 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE, THINGS DAD DIGS, THINGS MY KID DIGS

The start of the new decade also marks a couple of personal milestones: becoming a father and the birth of this blog. To commemorate ten years as both Daddy and Designer Daddy, I’m sharing a series of Top 10 lists throughout the year. Each post will feature the most amazing/fun/memorable things/experiences/whatevers from the last decade.

Top 10 TV Shows of the last 10 years

Hey kids, it’s TV time!

As with movies, I knew TV was going to play a big part in the experiences I shared with my child. Regardless of where we’ve watched them – from the couch, on my phone, in the car — these shows have made the biggest impact and produced the fondest memories for this TV-junkie dad and his screengazing offspring.

Note: like my movie list, these aren’t necessarily the top 10 TV shows my son would come up with (he would denounce ever liking anything as baby-ish as Wonder Pets!) These 10 are the programs I regularly watched with my kid, represent benchmarks, or were just plain fun.

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