#TBE (Throwback Easter)

April 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

With wedding plans having taken up so much time lately, Easter has been relegated to an afterthought. Having grown up the son of a preacher man, Easter was a pretty big deal. I’ve always wondered what families that celebrate just the bunnies and egg hunts and craploads of candy get out of Easter. But now we’re kind of one of those families, so when I realized we weren’t going to my parents’ house for the Big E, I felt, I don’t know…nostalgic. Perhaps homesick? Maybe even the tiniest bit guilty.

I’m thinking maybe my mom’s super psychic mom-powers are enhanced during Holy Week, because now she and my dad are driving the almost 2 hours to visit us. It’s more likely they want to smooch on one of their favorite grandsons, seen here in a Throwback Easter pic from two years ago…

throwback easter bunny

Yes, he’s going to hate me for this someday. I don’t care.

So while having my parents around will ease some of the glumness I felt last week, it won’t keep me from being nostalgic about this little bunny boy who continues to grow and grow by leaps and bounds, and who no longer allows me to dress him up in such adorable humiliating get-ups.

Sigh. I could stare at this all day…but I gotta go hide some eggs. Happy Easter everybody!

Want a fun new way to teach animal sounds to your baby? It’s probably not this.

September 5, 2013 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

The only thing that could make this video more stupid/awesome is if it’s NOT a joke.


Thriller meets Gangnam Style meets See n Say Farmer

Thriller meets Gangnam Style meets See n Say Farmer

Bård Ylvisåker and Vegard Ylvisåker, AKA “Ylvis,” hail from Norway. Land of gnomes! And trolls! And apparently foxes and horses that communicate via Morse code.

These freaky furries also have a talk show, soon to start its new season. This video is a promotion for that. I may have to talk to my local cable company about adding TVNorge to our package.

I’m not familiar with Norwegian comedy, but knowing the country to be relatively peaceful and fair-minded, I can only assume Ylvis’ “The Fox” is a joke. But let’s just assume for a moment it’s not, and these guys are really insane, and that our coworkers or children or pets won’t mind us cranking this to eleven for a dangerously dumb dance party.

Watch. Listen. Repeat. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Oral Traditions: Brushing a Toddler’s Teeth in 4 Easy Steps

October 13, 2012 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

Music may soothe the savage beast, but humor and distraction are more effective in getting the beast to do what you want. I may not do many things well, but I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping my toddler laughing and sidetracked in order to keep him safe and moving along in life. I found very early on that “Because Daddy said so” don’t mean squat.

One of the most consistent struggles has been teaching JJ to brush his teeth. Sure, it’s easy enough to get him to turn the water on (and proceed to drench himself and the entire bathroom) or to get the toothbrush in his mouth (and then suck every ounce of toothpaste off it). But to get him to use the brush for its intended purpose, I turned to two of JJ’s favorite things: zoo animals and YouTube.

I used to hold my son in my lap while brushing his teeth — but he got older and wanted to stand on his stool and hold the brush himself, and I lost control of the situation. I needed to regain control, but in a non-confrontational way — so I came up with a routine… Hint: each step should be announced with much fervor and glee:


Open mouth wide and brush the tops/bottoms of all your teeth.


Gigantic closed mouth smile, showing off those pearly chompers, then scrub back and forth to get the outsides clean.


Stick your tongue waaaay out for a good scrubbing.


Sometimes messy — but obviously his favorite — so never gets skipped.

It was an immediate success, so the next morning I pulled together some visual aids (EDUCATIONAL BONUS!) from YouTube to further bring the point home. I’m sure there are better videos out there, but these (below) worked just fine for us and were relatively easy to find.

Hippo Mouth!

Alligator Teeth!

Giraffe Tongue!

We also got this wonderful firsthand experience on our trip to Italy:

How to Brush a Todller's Teeth

JJ and his cousin feed a giraffe a piece of taralli through the car window.

Elephant Spit!

On the rare occasion humor and distraction fail to work, fear is a good backup motivator. If we ever have trouble with JJ at teeth-brushing time, we just ask “You don’t wanna have Joker teeth, do you?!?”

What tactics have helped you in the art of tooth brushing? Happy Hygiene!

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Be sure to like and follow Designer Daddy on Facebookyou know you want to!

Advent In An Hour: Dec 14

December 14, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

On the 4th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

FOUR TWEETING BIRDS! Because SRSLY, who calls anymore?

Advent In An Hour: Dec 6

December 6, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Today’s Advent drawing celebrates the birthday of my brother, Bryan. My first instinct was to illustrate something musical and Christmassy, but that was too easy. And expected. While I still get chills up my spine every time I hear him sing, there’s more too him than that. There’s his generosity. His compassion. And of course his flair for the dramatic. He’s spent his whole life being compared to me (both in appearance and personality), but he’s surpassed me in many of the ways we’re similar (especially the dramatic flair part) and completely come into his own.

One example? I can doodle til the cows sheep come home, and even sing okay from time-to-time. But I’ll never be able to do this… CLICK ME PLEASE.

Oh yeah, what’s up with the sheep, you ask? I could tell you that it represents how Bryan sees himself as the black sheep, but that he’s really more a sheep of a different color, bringing inspiration and zest to our sometimes white bread family. But nah — you’ll have to ask him about the sheep. 🙂

Sorry B3, this post can’t be all nice — I am still your big brother after all. Happy Birthday! xoxox B1

No, We’re Not Hasidic Jews (We’re Gay Penguins)

November 1, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Yes, we got asked if we were Hasidic Jews last night by an annoying (and drunk, maybe?) passerby as we were heading to our neighborhood Halloween block party. We also got asked if we were some sort of Two and a Half Men thing. The cutest was overhearing a little girl behind us asking her mom if we were related. Unfortunately, her mom said, “I think they’re just friends.”

I guess it would have been clearer had we ALL been wearing not only tuxes and matching top hats and red bowties, but also beaks and giant yellow feet. Maybe I’ll have more time to be crafty next year, but I doubt it. JJ’s birthday is next week, and I can only fit in so much craftiness in such a short span of time. Hey, I did add the red ribbons to our grownup hats.

So in case it wasn’t clear, we’re penguins. Inspired (partially) by one of our favorite family books, And Tango Makes Three. This equally adorable and controversial book is about two (real) male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who hatched and raised a baby penguin together. It’s a must for any same-sex parent household, as well as for any family with a kid who loves penguins (so yeah, all of them). There was also a funny episode of Parks and Recreation spoofing/celebrating the whole “Gay Penguins” phenomenon.

And Tango Makes Three

But mostly we were inspired by how awesomely cute JJ is in a penguin costume. And luckily he didn’t seem to mind wearing it.

And Tango Makes Three

You can’t hear him, but he’s saying (and doing) “Waddle, waddle, waddle!”

So what did your kiddos (or you) dress as for Halloween? Please share photos — would love to see ’em! And to all you seasoned parents out there, I’m also curious how long your kids let you choose their costume. I know it won’t be long before JJ makes the jump from happily dressing up in whatever cutesy animal suit Daddy picks out to demanding to be Jango Fett, Optimus Prime, or -shudder- a Wiggle.

Happily Ever Adopted (The Tale of Two Fairy Dads)

October 28, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, POP CULTURE

It’s coming up on JJ’s second birthday, and subsequently this blog’s first. My son (as well as my profession, but mainly my son) was the inspiration to start Designer Daddy. Yet due to JJ being adopted, I’ve been reluctant to share too much personal stuff — not only to protect our and the birthparents’ privacy, but also to protect JJ’s story. I want to be able to tell it to him first, when he’s ready to hear it, and in a manner his Papa and I think it should be told.

Because of this, I’ve not bared my soul as much as other parent bloggers. And I’m a little jealous of that. My best writing comes from my heart and my gut, not from my head (or my wit, or design sensibilities) so I feel like I’m not sharing the full story. Because I’m not.

But a couple of things pushed my buttons recently that I need to get off my chest.

The first was watching the pilot episode of ABC’s Once Upon A Time.
I’d seen mixed reviews, so my expectations were low and I didn’t get around to it until several days after it premiered. (DVR is one of Daddys’s favorite inventions) Overall it was a decent show, but my beef is with its not-so-happily ever after portrayal of adoption.

adopted - once upon a time


Polka Dotty Doggy

October 23, 2011 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS, THINGS MY KID DIGS

I came across this cute little web site while strolling the interwebs… or maybe it was the Twitterverse, I can’t remember. But you’ll notice it’s pretty darn girly. Not that I have anything against that, it’s just that I’m the oldest of four brothers, married to another man, and the father of a son. So just not a lot of frilly, princessy stuff in my world.

But I wanted to give a shout out to the site and its creator — author/illustrator Wendy Grimm — due to our shared love of polka dots! The site is based around her book, Little Lilly’s Polka Dot World… but it’s a whole lot more than that. The fun and well-designed site is chock full of color and (simple, not annoying) animation, and features an interactive ABCs game (which JJ loved), pages to print out and color, as well as an online version of the book — which can be viewed with or without narration. But I think my favorite part is how the curtain opens and closes between each section of the site. Random, I know, but I love me some polka dots!

My only complaint is that JJ I wanted to stay and play longer, but ran out of stuff to do too soon. I’m looking forward to more games and stories from Ms. Grimm and Little Lilly. Go check it out!

Adventures in toothbrushing

September 18, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

JJ LOVES to brush his teeth, and I’m just going to go ahead and give myself a lot of the credit for that. There are still many fatherly things I haven’t mastered. But through persistence and creativity I’ve made this one activity both fun and productive. Here are a couple of things I’ve found help make toothbrushing your toddler a less painful ordeal.

1. Buy this awesomely fun toothbrush. A while back I blogged about the Crayola light-up toothbrush. Well, the red one started to wear out, so I got JJ two — one in each of his favorite colors. (Well, it’s two of the three colors he knows at the moment.) Now whenever it’s time to brush, he gets a choice. Plus I get to hear him say “gwee” (green) or “puh-pah,” (purple) which never ceases to be über-adorable.

2. Buy this awesomely funny book. I originally bought “Pony Brushes His Teeth” — and a couple of others in the series — for the wonderful illustrations by Oriol Vidal, but liked this one in particular. Not just because it was pertinent to an issue we were currently dealing with, but because I was pleasantly surprised to find this story involved an activity with a little pony (no, not THAT little pony) and his Dad.

Each of the spreads involves ‘lil pony doing something with Dad pony, starting with eating and then going through all the steps involved in brushing teeth. I found it fun and refreshing to see a youngster and his Pop doing something together that wasn’t sports- or car-related. Good to see a father (even if in equine form) participating in the day-to-day life of his child.

The book ends with Lil’ Pony spitting on poor old Dad. Which makes me very curious as to what happens at the end of the Duck Goes Potty book…

Scary for All the Wrong Reasons

September 5, 2011 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Sadly, Labor Day weekend is now behind us, which means summer is over, both astronomically and emotionally. So now it’s time to pull out the Christmas decorations, buy eggnog in bulk, and start bargain hunting for Snuggies or whatever asinine infomercial piece of crap will be the go-to White Elephant gift this year.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a teensy bit. But certainly Halloween is already being shoved down our throats. Candy corn has been on sale at CVS for a couple of weeks now, but I refuse to buy it until the month has a “-BER” at the end. My sweet tooth does have some standards.

Another sign that autumn is lurking around the corner is this frightening catalog we received in the mail recently. Not frightening in a Pinhead kind of way, but more of a Twilight meets Toddlers & Tiaras* kind of way.

Click to take a closer look at the dolled-up vampkids.


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