I have decided that I should not wait for another 6 months, or a severe case of hives to post again. Mainly because that makes for a boring blog to follow, but also I hope for the later to never happen again. Ugh!
That being said I don’t actually have something I particularly want to write about, so this could be interesting. I’m just going to start typing and see what comes out and hopefully it won’t be to boring, or incoherent.
So, I just finished one of my biggest projects ever this week. I vinyled approximately 50 shirts for Kirsten’s preschool. The teachers wanted to have matching costumes for the Grandparent’s Day Halloween costume parade. They saw this super cute idea to be crayons. Everyone just wears black leggings and a solid colored shirt. On the shirt is the solid black line with the squiggle running through it on op and bottom, and the black oval with the word “crayon” knocked out. So cute. Really. SO…… they asked if I would be willing to cut and apply the vinyl.
Let’s be honest here for just a second. 50 shirts is a lot. Yes it is. And while the design is simple, 50 shirts is a lot. And the vinyl it would take to do the design is a lot. And of course GLITTER vinyl makes it even cuter, but is more expensive. Times 50 shirts. And if anyone should bring in a black shirt glow in the dark white vinyl is the only answer. Which does cost a little more. But as much work and money as it is all put together, you have to balance that with the thrill of making matching costumes for 50 of the most awesome educators in the whole world, who will love them and tell you how awesome you are. So of course I said “yes” in a heartbeat.
My daughter’s preschool is really awesome, and I always feel like I don’t give enough of my time to them. Honestly as a Mom of 5 kids there is only so much of me to go around and I have chosen to focus what free time I have at the Elementary School. There it is. I had to make a choice. But our preschool is awesome.
I first sent Joel there because at 4 he had a rather sever speech problem. I tried working with him at home, but for whatever reason he just couldn’t do it. My friend who worked at the school suggested I take him to get tested. This preschool focuses on kids with some type of disability. They take all ranges. They also take some “typical” students to fill in the classrooms. It is about a 50/50 mix. Within 3 months we saw the biggest difference in Joel. I couldn’t believe it. He graduated preschool with no speech problems and was even beginning to read. People would comment to me on his reading skills and I never take credit. It was all his preschool. They were awesome.
Kaylene attended the following year. I had her go through the screening process because she was a very difficult toddler and I was concerned maybe something was going on. And there was. She is by nature a very stubborn child, but that’s not surprising given who her parents are. But to add to it at the age of 3 she was scoring like a 5 year old on a lot of the metrics, they explained that basically she was at a disconnect between what her brain was thinking and her body could do. So if she wanted juice and I said no, she would just go get it herself. I thought preschool would be good for her, for structure, and learning to follow rules. I was worried when she went to Kindergarten that she would melt down. It turned out that she loved school so much, and she never had a problem. I shouldn’t say never. There was one day she was a little ornery, and that was the day I was visiting. I realized that for somethings, Kaylene needed to not have me around.
And that leaves us to why Kirsten is in preschool. She does not have a speech problem. Other than being crazy cute when she says ridiculously large words. She does not have a behavior problem other than the usual fighting with siblings of computer time. So why would I send her to preschool? Because I am selfish. I have spent 13 years with kids at home. 13 years of every time I need to run an errand, getting kids dressed, in coats, with socks and shoes, buckled into car seats, then reversing the process to run the errand (minus the coats and shoes process. Sometimes.) and doing it all over again to get home. My house is only ever quiet late at night when everyone is asleep, and even that is no guarantee. I wanted a few hours, just a few all to myself. So off to preschool it was. Of course Kirsten was ready, and between you and me she could have gone to Kindergarten and been just fine. She is smart, and is used to doing everything Kaylene does. She WANTED to go to school.
Of course all that free time I thought I had has been eaten up by all my volunteering the the Elementary school, but I have squeezed in a few fun shopping trips. And I have even worked on house work on occasion. And it has been great. She LOVES school. Even using all of my great writing skills I can not over emphasize how much she loves it. She is so sad on Fridays when they don’t have it. And she is learning so much. One of my favorite things is, that even though she is not a student with a disability they have a specific goal for her to reach. And they have a plan for how to get there, and they work with her to be the best she can. It is everything a Mom could want for her child.
So when this awesome school asked if I would help make 50 crayon shirts, I didn’t even have to think. The answer was yes.
Of course with any big project comes a stress. And not all stress is bad. And it doesn’t help that I am a bit of a procrastinator, So the teachers started sending in shirts and I did a mock up to make sure what I was doing was what they wanted. I took it in one day and they showed it around to all the teachers. I could hear everyone whispering and saying how they loved it. Let me just say if you ever want to feel amazing about yourself, that experience will do it every time.
So I started cutting and quickly realized that every shirt is slightly different a medium in one brand will not have the same measurements as another. So to make sure everything turned out right I decided I needed to measure each shirt as I went. This slowed me down a lot since I couldn’t just set one to cut and go do some cleaning then set another, and then take a stack with me to weed while I was waiting in the carpool lane at school pickup. (Weeding is when you take the vinyl that is cut and pull off all the stuff you don’t want. I just wanted to clarify since with all my typos it could easily be confused as one.) I did finally come up with a system to lay out 4 shirts on my table. I took a post it note and measured each one. I cut out the stripes ordering from largest to smallest and did the weeding while the next was cutting. Then I measured the height between the lines just to make sure I didn’t need to make adjustments. Then I would stack all 4 shirts and take them to the kitchen to iron. By the end I could get 4 shirts done in a little over an hour.
Now, I know my Dad has just done the math. Probably instantaneously without even realizing it. 50 shirts divided by 4 is 12.5. 12.5 times a little over an hour (let’s just round to 1 hour for simplification) is still 12 1/2 hours. That’s a lot of time, but wait, I said by the end I could go that fast, so in the beginning I was NOT that fast so a better estimate would be 12.5 times 1 1/2 hours to account for the average time it took. That makes this project would take me about 18 hours and 45 min. Approximately.
That is not a little project.
But the crazy thing is, I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact I KNOW I will do something just as crazy, because it is who I am. I love cutting vinyl and making things that take your breath away. I love helping people, especially people who have given so much to me. I love that feeling I get when I give something to someone and they love it.
I love service of all kinds.
I guess most of you know (since pretty much everyone who reads this has shared a last name with me at some point) that I have struggled with self esteem and depression and anxiety. And while I need medicine to help an equally important part of my “treatment” is service. Serving someone can make a bad day, good. It is so hard to put into words (which is kind of bad for a blog) but service just makes everything better.
I don’t often venture into my faith or my religion in this blog, but truthfully it is so much a part of me. And I think of the Savior’s life on this earth. What we know, what was recorded of his life, was mostly His acts of service. He is the perfect example for us, and he spent his life and even His death serving others. There was nothing too small and nothing too big. He gave us His everything. And I am so grateful.
So I guess that’s about it, and I think I’ve figured out a title for this post. I just want to end by saying……..
What kind of crazy person agrees to design and vinyl 50 shirts?!!!!!! – Me, that’s who. And I LOVED it.