Lists

SuperLunchNotes: Women Superheroes Edition

March 31, 2022 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Women Superheroes

Our house of two dads and a son is never short on testosterone, so ensuring my kid has female role models is of utmost importance. And while he has plenty of real-life women to inspire him, I’ve also enjoyed introducing my son to the vast and vivacious catalog of heroines and villainesses from the worlds of comics, movies, TV and video games.

While I’ve already featured Black, Latino, and LGBTQ characters, I’ve not done a proper showcase for the ladies. And while this comes on the tail end of International Women’s Month, it’s never a bad time to celebrate Girl Power!

My hope with collections like these is to educate and inspire other parents to do the same. Each note below features a link where you and your kids can learn about that character, whether you’re looking to doodle them on a post-it note or enjoy a family movie night.

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

March 14, 2022 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

This past year marked the ten year anniversary of a couple of personal milestones: becoming a father and the birth of this blog. To commemorate a decade 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 ten years.

favorite keepsakes

You may have noticed that I don’t write about my son as much lately. Once my kid (and perhaps more importantly, his friends) became old enough to read and surf the internet, privacy was more of an issue. It was cute sharing about my son’s potty training when he was a toddler. Not so much now that he’s a tween.

Nowadays my more personal writing falls mainly into two categories: sharing my vast (ha!) dad knowledge and reminiscing about the past. For the latter, I’ve enjoyed documenting many of my fatherhood faves from the last decade. For this list, I rummaged through the basement and have collected my favorite parenting keepsakes.

WHAT’S WORTH SAVING?

I’ve never understood the tradition of parents keeping their kid’s baby teeth (though I’m sure we have a few rattling around in a box somewhere). The same goes for locks of hair, newborn footprints, plaster hand molds. Those things don’t evoke memories for me; they’re just biological snapshots…and a little bit creepy.

The items I’ve chosen here tell a story, elicit a multitude of emotions, and remind me of how much I’ve loved being a dad. I should do this more often!

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Managing Anxiety in a New Year of New Challenges

January 5, 2022 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

Managing Anxiety in the New Year

HAPPY 2022! Can you believe we’re still* talking about (and dealing with) this $@#% pandemic?!?

As we transition from a year full of ups and down into one full of unknowns, many folks are experiencing high levels of anxiety (raises hand). And this is by no means limited to adults. Kids and teens are right there with us.

The hardest part for me has been getting my hopes up, making plans, looking forward to the future…only to be sucked back into a new wave of quarantines and testing, and the accompanying stress and fear. For parents, the challenge has been and continues to be — how do I manage my own anxiety while also helping my kids cope with theirs? Sometimes it feels like the blind leading the blind.

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SuperLunchNotes: Latino Superheroes Edition

October 14, 2021 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, I wanted to celebrate the Latino superheroes I’ve had the privilege of introducing to my son via lunch notes over the years. While this list could be longer, I’m including just the heroes I’ve created notes for. As I doodle more, I’ll add them periodically.

Latinx Superheroes

Throughout the year (not just designated months or days) I strive to teach my son to be curious about and appreciative of cultures and ethnicities different from his own. Often in the process, I discover new things myself. While researching for this article, I (finally) learned the significance of the September 15 start date of Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as the interwoven identity of Asian and Hispanic culture in the Filipino community. There were also a few characters that I didn’t realize were Latino until writing this post.

As with other minority representation in American pop culture, the inclusion of Latino/Latina/Latinx superheroes in comics, TV, and film is often a slow progression. Changing the ethnicity of existing caucasian superheroes (or just introducing new non-white characters) is still met with pushback from narrow-minded fans. Yet my hope is that as my son’s generation grows up with this more colorful and diverse universe, it will be reflected in the real world they create.

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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 Rainbow of Refreshing Summer Cocktails

June 14, 2021 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

Summer Cocktails

June is without a doubt my favorite month. In addition to kicking off summer, June contains my birthday, Father’s Day and Pride. Seriously, can this month get any more fun? Yes! In honor of this most fabulous of months, I’ve stirred up a rainbow of delicious summer cocktails — one for each color of the LGBTQ Pride flag.

To keep the festivities fun and safe, here are a few pointers courtesy of Responsibility.org:

  • Measure your drinks and cocktail ingredients. Familiarize yourself with the go-to bar measuring tool, a jigger. You can also use this handy Virtual Bar to help manage your alcohol intake.
  • Have water and non-alcoholic drinks available. I’ve included a couple of mocktail recipes in the list below!
  • Provide food to guests, and make sure you snack as you imbibe/host.
  • Check to make sure your guests have safe rides home.
  • Take some time to talk to your kids about alcohol and underage drinking, especially if they’re going to present at your get-together.

Feel free to click and print individual recipes, or share on social media. Scroll down to the end for even more tips on making and enjoying these colorful cocktails!

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12 Ways to Be An Ally to LGBTQ Parents & Families

June 8, 2021 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

How to be an ally to LGBTQ parents and families

I recently wrote a guest post on the City Dads blog, sharing some ways to be an ally to LGBTQ parents and families. That list could have been endless, but I know folks (especially other parents) don’t have time to read all day!

However, I couldn’t stop at that first dozen, so here are twelve more ways you can support, protect and advocate for queer families and parents. And while this list focuses on families, many of these actions can benefit anyone in the LGBTQ community.

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Designer Daddy’s Favorite LGBTQ Children’s Books for EVERY Family

May 31, 2021 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, THINGS DAD DIGS, THINGS MY KID DIGS

LGBTQ Children's Books

As a gay dad, it should come as no surprise that I read LGBTQ children’s books to my son. But what about all of you awesome straight parents out there? How many kid’s books with LGBTQ characters or stories have you read to your children?

I asked this question in a Facebook group of 1,200+ parents, and was disappointed that the most common answer was none. Even more surprising was that many hadn’t even considered it. Further, the majority polled didn’t know what LGTBQ children’s books were available… or if they even existed at all.

Luckily, Designer Daddy is here to help!

The list below contains books that are about same-sex parents or LGBTQ people; others address gender expression or identity. Some simply include queer characters as part of the story, without directly focusing on them. All are valuable stories to help normalize LGBTQ people and to teach children (and parents!) empathy and acceptance. It also sends the message that should your child ever identify as LGBTQ, you will be there to celebrate and support them.

There are certainly more exhaustive lists to be found, but this one is unique in that it’s DESIGNER DADDY APPROVED™ — meaning the stories are great, but the pictures are also pretty fabulous. Happy reading!

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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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I’ll Take the 3-Piece Parenting Advice Meal, Please. Hold the Anxiety.

February 28, 2021 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

You can’t swing a mismatched sock without hitting someone giving you parenting advice. Talk shows and books, blogs and social media, teachers, therapists, other parents, your parents — it’s everywhere and it’s constant. And as we’re a year into a pandemic, lord knows we need all the advice we can get. But I also know I’m not always ready to digest it.

Parenting Advice

Speaking of parenting advice, I recently sat in on a conversation with Jessica Lahey. Her book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, is a New York Times bestseller. She’s also a teacher and a mom, and chock full of delicious parenting know-how.

Jessica crammed a lot of wisdom, feedback and advice into our hour-long chat, sponsored by Responsibility.org. And while a lot of what she shared rang true, I found myself terribly overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with good and helpful information, but overwhelmed, nonetheless.

Quarantine life has been taking its toll on me lately, and most days I feel like I’m just getting by. I was tempted to give in to my anxiety, chuck all this info out the window, and hope for the best (a common defense mechanism for me). But this time I took a different approach.

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