Lists

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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The ABCs of Trump, Part 2: Even More Words My Kid Learned from 45

January 18, 2021 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, POP CULTURE

Partway through Trump’s first year in office, I wrote the predecessor to this post. As we near the end of his term rampage, who would have thought I’d be able to create an entirely new list of 26 horrifying words associated with our 45th president? Anyone who’s ever heard him speak (or Tweet), that’s who.

Over the last four years, I, like so many others, have thought “Surely this can’t get any worse” more times than I can count. Each time I was proven wrong, as Trump’s ego, ineptitude and callousness one-upped itself on a near daily basis.

As a parent, I’ve also had more difficult conversations with my son than I can count. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve discussed enough terrible topics to fill a lifetime. How in the hell were we supposed to be prepared for all this? The chapters on global pandemics, police brutality, psychotic leaders and domestic terrorism were missing from my parenting handbook.

So sit back, raise a glass (or two) and help me toast an alphabet we hope to never repeat. Again.

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

THE ABCs of TRUMP, Part 2

Warning: As with everything Trump-related, some language may not be suitable for children. Or anyone, for that matter.

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A is for ALTERNATIVE FACTS

When a kid exaggerates out of embarrassment or self-centeredness, it’s a fib. When it’s Kellyanne Conway defending false claims about the overblown attendance of Trump’s inauguration, it’s a bald-faced lie. The moment we began to realize the amount of fucked-up fiction we were in for. Alternative As: Antifa, asinine
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B is for BULLY

Trump is the quintessential bully, in that he finds pleasure in cruelty, equates intimidation with power and has no sense of remorse. He also likely doesn’t know what “quintessential” means.
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ABCs of Trump, Part 2

C is for CONSPIRACY THEORY

If there’s a conspiracy floating around, you can bet Trump either started or promoted it. A suspicious sampling: anti-vax/vaccines cause autism, Biden/Ukraine connection, climate change denial, COVID-19 conspiracies (of which there are legion), “deep state,” Epstein didn’t commit suicide, Hurricane Maria death toll, Obama “birther” conspiracy, QAnon, Russia investigation counterclaims, Stop the Steal/voter fraud and impersonation, Trump Tower wiretapping, wind turbines cause cancer.

For the full list, check out THE ENTIRE WIKIPEDIA PAGE dedicated to Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories. Extra Cs: Charlottesville, China, coronavirus, coup

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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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