Saturday, March 21, 2015

Learning Takes Practice

This is slice 18 of 31 for The Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by the
talented team at Two Writing Teachers--thanks Tara, Stacey, Betsy,
Dana, Anna and Beth. Click over to the Two Writing Teachers
for seconds or to serve up your own slice

The kitchen table is a long slab of quarter-sawn Paldoa. Warm brown, lots of grain, we spread out before breakfast: watercolors, water crayons, mixed-media spirals, moleskins, and coffee. We set up sweet with paper towels and water pens and travel brushes. We doodled a bit in our journals. My brother and I told stories and sipped steaming mugs of espresso. Last year he, our mom and  I participated in Sketchbook Skool. We learned a lot about sketching and telling a story around our images. It was fun and we had a lot of opportunity to practice and share or sketches. Our sketching has changed over time with practice and attention.

John's hand is in the picture. My niece's piece is on the right and mine on the left

This morning my brother, John, broke out some Aquabord and suggested an art swap. He made a piece for me and I did a piece of word art for him. My niece suggested art words, apt I though, so I went with it. Charlotte and I brainstormed a few good art words and I filled in with a few favorites too. I like how it came out. 

John talked about color blending and shading and how tricky it can be with water colors. I agreed and showed him how I've come to do it. I've been drawing word art for years. I shared some of my practice on Sharing Our Notebooks last year.  

After art we decided on roller skating. I have loved to skated since girl scouts and third grade. I started taking my son to skate when he was four and it's been fun to share. He's trying to learn to skate backwards on our home rink. Today he was all in for the twelve and up race around the rink.

Collin's third from the left sporting the DFTBA hoodie.

Today was Charlotte's first time on skates.  I remember Collin's first time on skates. Who knew limbs could move like that? Charlotte was so excited to learn. Part of it is the Auntie effect. She still loves to do what Auntie does--it is a strong magic,  love.

She was brave! "Chin up. Chest up. Stand tall. Let me see your eyes, Charlotte," I kept the chatter going as she gripped my hand. 

She looked up. Grinned. 

"Take a breath. You're okay. Walk like a penguin. You can do it." And so it went along the rink wall and back. Out to the middle of the floor we went. My home rink has  a beginner's rink along a back wall. The rink near my brother's house does not (but it does have a dance floor and a Karaoke contest). Instead, at this rink, they cone off the middle of the floor and use that center space for learners. 

Charlotte went from death-con grip level five to hang-loose hand to one finger to standing on her own. She did great. We penguin walked and pushed off from Ts. We held our bodies tall like ballerinas and lifted our chins. We felt our hips over those back wheels and tightened our tummies to hold ourselves strong. She watched people skate and slide and zoom and spin with a bit of a skating dream in her eyes. It was crowded. She had a lot of models around her. 

"Soon, Auntie, I will..." 
"Yes, you will, with a little practice, soon you will, Charlotte.."
Maybe next time I'll pack my skates in my carry on!

As we were unlacing skates and swapping wheels for shoes and boots and clogs, I heard she and her Mom talking about all of the places she could skate and practice. She has a basement after all. No doubt, she will rock that rink next time we come for a visit. Learning, after all,  takes practice.  


  1. I love that picture!!!! Sketchbook Skool sounds intriguing!!! I love that you took your niece roller skating! My five year old niece is coming to visit ME for the first time this summer. I can't WAIT for all of our fun adventures!!! Auntie love is magic!!! LOVE this post Lee Ann!!!

  2. Learning DOES take practice, and your family's commitment to lifelong learning...from art classes to roller skating, is absolutely inspirational. Thank you for sharing this post. I am going to check out Sketchbook Skool!

  3. I love the Word Art! Our Saturdays as kids often included roller skating. I'd forgotten all about it.

  4. Beautiful picture! And such a great idea, sitting together and creating art. My daughter isn't quite old enough to really color yet, but she likes organizing the crayons and scribbling here and there :)