Charlotte Would be Proud

Last Friday morning the kids and I set out on a great adventure. We planned to take a nature hike, complete with backpacks, nature journals, colored pencils, water bottles and snacks. My friend, Liz, knew just the place, the only problem was, she wasn’t exactly sure how to find it. No matter, we loaded up the kids, I hung my little DVD player between the seats, popped in Multiplication Rock, and off we went.

We had a lovely drive, as we listened to “three is a magic number,” chatted, and watched for signs that would show us we were getting near our destination. Finally we decided to try a gravel road that looked somewhat familiar – but didn’t lead us any closer to our intended spot. We did meet an artist painting on the side of the road who was part of an “En plein air” competition, which I only understood because Liz’s daughter, Katie (our homework helper), is an artist.

Eventually we wound our way back to town and I called Noah who told me that we had been within three miles of our hiking trail.  Unfortunately, we were short on time, so our original plan had to be abandoned.  There was a time when this would have completely thrown me off, but I was determined to take the kids “hiking” so we stopped at a little Nature Park that I’ve driven by for years, unloaded the kids, put on our backpacks and headed out.

The trail was probably less than half a mile long ( probably much less), but my goal is to teach my children to love nature and cultivate a spirit of exploration.  I kept using the word “hiking,” even if it was really just a walk.   I could see the baseball field and houses nearby, but being much shorter, the kids saw tall grass, lots of trees, and all kinds of interesting things.  They proudly wore their backpacks and “hiked” along.

The highlight was finding signs of beavers along the trail and finally locating a beaver dam in the creek.  The kids were thrilled.  We stopped to sketch while they had a snack.  Unfortunately, my camera battery died after the first few pictures, so I can’t show you the dam, but it was pretty great.

The idealist in me was tempted to be disappointed, but the teacher/mom in me was happy that my children explored, observed, sketched, and celebrated their discoveries.  Charlotte Mason would be proud.   If you want a bit of inspiration, check out the blog, Handbook of Nature Study.

#281 – 290 giving thanks

children excited to explore

branches gnawed by beavers

cameras that take a few pictures before the battery dies

Liz for joining me on my adventures

the sight of my children hiking ahead with backpacks on their backs

small group last night – just two of us sipping coffee and smoothies

Dimples’ locs tightened yesterday – they’re growing longer

Honeybee’s good night hug and kiss

chicken enchiladas for dinner

a warm sweater on a cool evening


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Emily
    October 6, 2011

    Totally thought you meant Charlotte as in Charlotte's Web… I think she'd be proud too 🙂

    1. One Thankful Mom
      October 6, 2011

      Yes, I hope that Charlotte would be proud too 🙂

      1. Carole Q
        October 6, 2011

        Me too. That tells you the extent of my literary prowess!


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