Entry for October 08, 2008: Family visit

On Wednesday, 1 October 2008, my younger brother Peter and his wife Kelly arrived from Virginia, by way of friends in metropolitan New York. From Janice's and my second duplex in Needham, Massachusetts, we walked through scattered showers to our local library, which my nieces Ava and Lili enjoyed running around in.

As with all my nieces and nephews, I've enjoyed observing the different temperaments and talents of Ava and Lili. Janice prepared a feast of chicken enchilada casserole, the first of many good meals this past weekend. After Peter & Kelly watched the droll Pushing Daisies for the first time, we managed to find sleeping accommodations for everyone.

On Thursday, we took the commuter rail into Boston. Although they were apprehensive at first, the children were fine for their first time on a regular train. We visited the New England Aquarium and had lunch at Faneuil Hall. I got food from Steve's Greek Cuisine in Quincy Market, which rivals the dining halls of Manhattan's Grand Central Station or Washington D.C.'s Union Station.

Upon our return, we took advantage of the clearing weather to let the girls play on a swing set in our backyard and to toss around some Nerf balls. I had worried about child-proofing our place, but the kids were well behaved, and we had enough toys for them to play with. For dinner, Janice prepared spaghetti and meatballs, my all-time favorite dish, and we later watched Smallville and the vice presidential debate.

On Friday, my parents Luke and Dominga arrived, and we had lunch at Blue on Highland, a bistro in walking distance of Janice's and my apartment. We celebrated my 40th birthday early with Janice's chocolate frosted, chocolate-chip brownies! My parents returned to their hotel after some chicken soup and homemade rolls, and we watched the series premiere of the SciFi Channel's Sanctuary, which was predictable but promising.

Peter and his young family left on Saturday, and Janice and I took my parents to the Needham Harvest Fair, where we enjoyed samosas, hamburgers, and the "Soup Bowl," a competition among local eateries. On our way back home, we stopped at the local library's book sale. We also had good conversations about politics, overseas relatives, and the upcoming holidays. After eating so well for the previous few days, all we could manage was some leftovers for dinner.

After Janice's usual volunteering stint at an animal shelter in Dedham, Mass., we met my folks for Sunday brunch at the Courtyard by Marriott in Natick, where they were staying. I also showed them my office nearby before they began their long drive home. We spent the rest of the weekend catching up on recorded genre television, e-mail, and sleep. I'll also be busy with work and gaming in the coming weeks.