Going Downton

Just before Valentine’s Day, I tweeted that I had never seen Downton Abbey. To which some smart-alec I know tweeted this to about 200k followers:


As you can imagine, I heard from a “few” devotees who pretty much begged me to tune in for “at least the first season.” 

So a few days later, with John by my side, we watched the first episode of the first season. Afterward, I tweeted, “t’was ok“. 

My husband wanted to know why we didn’t look like these women while we watched it.

But now, four episodes in, I’m starting to get the hang of it. You just have to step into that time and embrace their world view to truly experience those “WHOA!” moments with more oomph. Then, scenes like the Dowager Countess of Grantham’s first experience with a swivel chair really is hilarious. And Lady Mary’s acceptance of a male suitor to her bedroom makes your palms sweat in fear for her honor.

And so, I was truly immersed in the spirit of the day when we watched Lady Sybil proudly marched into the room in her new outfit and face her family.

PANTS!“, I stage-whispered to my husband in a mixture of shock and awe. And then giggled uncontrollably at how completely scandalous this had been to me.

Yes, Downton Abbey, you’ve got me hooked. I think my husband would still rather be watching The Walking Dead though.

Just do it (without sweating)

Last night, I got into a conversation with some moms of girls in eighth grade who were from different towns. The discussion was about their schools’ gym classes and the fact that kids no longer change into “gym clothes”.
After having a brief, yet horrifying, flashback to the ugly one-piece, zip-up gym uniform that I wore in sixth and seventh grade, I realized what they were saying: Kids in gym wear their “everyday” clothes from class, to gym, to class again. No peeling off sweaty tees, or removing wet gym socks, and certainly no quick shower on super-hot days.
I realize that Time In The Classroom is seen as sacred nowadays but I also think this is an interesting message to send tweens: Exercise is important, but if you don’t want to stink up your entire biology class, you’d best take it easy. 
Sure, many kids play very competitive sports after school, often meeting every day of the school week. But, what about those kids who get very little physical activity, or kids at risk for obesity?

Or maybe gym class meets so infrequently nowadays that no one really believes it makes much of a difference.

Did you used to change for gym class? I honestly can’t remember much about junior high/high school, but know we did through middle school. I also remember having to take swimming in first period of eighth grade which was a horror show for all girls who were wearing non-waterproof black eyeliner. Yes, that would include me.

The week I had four children

One month ago, I was putting sheets on the guest bed wondering if I’d soon be up with a sad child most of the night: They said that some kids get very homesick.

I had stocked my kitchen with macaroni-and-cheese, chicken nuggets and juice boxes: They said some kids weren’t used to eating adventurously and shouldn’t be forced to develop a new palate in just one week.

I had given the kids “the speech” about being polite and kind and understanding: They said that many kids may be very shy in their new surroundings.

I was prepared to protect our Fresh Air girl and ease her into our suburban life slowly. I was ready to hold her as she carefully tried to ride a two-wheel bike. Fasten a bubble around her waist when we got near water. Dry her tears when a bug landed on her or when she got homesick.

And then she arrived and taught us that not all city kids act the same.

Our girl was up for anything.

Ride a bike? Of course.

Swim? Sure!

Hungry? Yes, let me try that!

Tree? Pshaw, I can climb that!

No, I don’t need to call my mom right now. And, can I just sleep in the girls’ room instead of the guest room?

Where can we go today? Let’s swim/play/dance/eat/enjoy/laugh/soak-it-all-in.


She wanted nothing to do with the Wii or even the television for most of her visit. If ever a child decide to embrace the experience put before her, she did it.


It was tiring at times. It wasn’t easy every day. The kids didn’t always get along perfectly. And a week’s visit felt about long enough.


But it was hard to say goodbye too.

If you live in New England or the Mid-Atlantic area and think you could host a child for a week during the summer, check out the Fresh Air website. It’s an experience you won’t forget.