The things we do for our kids


This is what happens when your husband goes to the grocery store and buys an after-Easter rabbit on sale and your daughter asks you to put antlers on it.

The Easter bunny turned jackalope happened yesterday. How could I say no when my daughter asked me to turn her bunny into a jackalope? Where there’s a will (or an idea), there’s a way.

So I took a scroll down memory lane this morning and found pictures of all the strange “fixes” I’ve had to do to toys over the years. I hope you enjoy. What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to do for someone?  (Tweet this)


This is what happens when your daughter’s favorite Barbie, Cheetah Girl, loses a hand. She becomes Pirate Barbie! Arr!


This is what happens when Cheetah Girl #2 loses a hand (see the blue hook) and also loses a leg. You make her a hook hand AND a wheelchair. I offered to make a peg leg but my daughter told me no. /shrugs/


This is what happens when your dog eats the horn off your daughter’s unicorn. You make a prosthetic horn. Looks like a little party hat, doesn’t it?


This is what happens when the same dog, a few days later, eats the eye off the replacement unicorn. You make a patch and voila, a pirate unicorn.

And a couple of fun projects revolving around wardrobe.


When you want to go as a fairy for Halloween, Grandma makes dresses and Mom makes wings.


Camp shirts for Glow in the Ark. 

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When you want to dress up as Abe Lincoln for a school project. Before you ask, the 16 is because he was the 16th president. 😉

And, remarkably, all of these requests have come from my youngest daughter. She thinks outside the box and apparently believes her parents can fix anything. It’s interesting to me how sometimes all you need to be creative is for someone to challenge you to do something you never thought of. (Tweet this.)

It’s Midnight and I’m Thinking About Good, Evil, and Heroes

Young Super Hero Standing on Laundry Machines

Because I have to work for a living, much of my writing is done between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. So this would have been written very late (or early) as usual.

The topic of good and evil has always fascinated me ever since I was four years old and teaching myself to read from comic books. Yes, I learned to read from comic books before I “learned” to read in the first grade. My teacher was fascinated at how “intuitive” I was in my reading, but if I ever told her what I was reading at home, she would have ranted about my choice of reading material. Teachers have come a long way since then, and so has the comic book. Going back for another BA and a Masters allowed me to explore the heroic ideal that I loved as a kid. The advantage I had this time was that I came understanding from a more “grown up” perspective that life isn’t fair. What I learned from classmates half my age was almost as instructive as reading the Odyssey in its original language, or Beowulf.

In our consumer driven culture, fed on instant gratification and information at the the touch of a finger, few young people seem to understand the value of pursuing goals grander than themselves and the value of self-sacrifice for no personal gain. Whether its Superman or Beowulf, Ben Grim or Perseus, without understanding hardship (central to hero’s journey) one doesn’t learn to value strength, justice, accomplishment, or sacrifice for the greater good.

My mother went through the Great Depression as a kid, my father was a WW2, Korean War, and Viet Nam  veteran. I cannot speak to the issues of Civil Rights from a personal perspective, but there are those that faced harsh treatment, and they overcame. They faced great evils in their generation, and as a culture, they triumphed. I do wonder about millennials, individuals who have never lived without a cell phone, a computer, and green bars on their phone where ever they go.



I personally believe that there are evils yet looming that my kids and grandkids will have to overcome. The evils of unchecked power by government (Fascism?) and the challenge of understanding that just because science can do some things doesn’t mean science should (remember the atom bomb? Now our government traces every call and bit from our cell phones and computers without warrants in the name of public safety. Should they be doing that?  Shades of Facism?).

Heroes are needed more than ever. You can laugh at Superman or the Avengers. As a long time reader of those comic books, I for one enjoyed the movies. Heroes (and the heroic journey) are as important now as they were when I grew up. A child needs to learn that monsters can be overcome, even though it may be hard and require much sacrifice (The Fellowship of the Ring). Stories can provide this.

I want to paraphrase a paraphrase of GK Chesterton Quote. Neil Gaiman, in the beginning of his novel Coraline, paraphrased a GK Chesterton, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten ”

I would like to offer my own version of that paraphrase. Hero stories are more necessary, not because they tell us evil can be beaten, but because they show us that evil must be beaten. In that struggle, the true hero cannot compromise. The hero understands that the victory doesn’t come by  imitating evil, because once the hero imitates the villain, evil has won already.  ”

T.J. Akers