The morning began with sleepy cousins getting reacquainted over one of Jeanine’s special breakfasts. Mario and Rory are off to Albany/Schenectady for a week long visit before they return to Concord.

Mario and Nico appear to be playing synchronized croquet. It should be noted that shortly after this photo it began to rain and the game continued despite a thorough soaking of the participants.

My sister-in-law Marie arrived early this morning with cousins Mario and Rory. Marie has that second trimester glow which means Maya will have a new cousin to play with by Thanksgiving.

Our river adventure concluded with ice cream at Bedford Farms where Maya befriended this massive Newfoundland. Maya has a special bond with animals and had no intrepidation what so ever when introducing herself to this dog that is easily three or four times her weight.

Kyle enjoying limo treatment with the Metzold boys Evan (rear) and Edmond doing the work. This vessel made several unsuccessful attempts to better the canoe containing Carl, Tom and Nicolai. Problems with erratic piloting and apparent use of the wrong end of the paddle contributed to their problems.

Lunch was enjoyed under a tent at the historic Old Manse. Nicolai is still spiking a fever and did not need much encouragement to take it easy (although he did paddle for almost a fourth of the journey). Photo courtesy of Evan.

Maya insisted on paddling and turned out to be quite capable. The women were quick to decide they would have a canoe to themselves leaving the boys to engage in various forms of testosterone driven behaviors including crashing canoes into each other and racing back to the put in point.

Karen, who shares the same birthday as Carl, is an outstanding volleyball player and here demonstrates her proficiency at piloting a canoe. Jeanine first met Tom and Karen at their wedding where Carl assisted Tom, clad in his tuxedo, into the hotel swimming pool. Fortunately on today’s outing all parties remained out of the water despite some close calls in the kids boat.

Tom and Carl were wrestling partners in high school and have remained close over the years. Tom was bigger and stronger but Carl was quicker and better looking.

Today we joined the Metzold family for a canoe outing on the Concord River. We embarked from the Southbridge Boat House and paddled up to the Old North bridge where we put in for lunch and conversation.

Today the boys learned they could earn money by weeding the flower beds. Maya enjoys weeding and does so for free. Nicolai has spiked a fever every day since his return to Concord. A trip to the hospital and then to his pediatrician have eliminated many possibilities, but the cause is still a mystery.

A long discussion with the children preceded this photo in which the major thrust of the conversation was whether the tail end of this beast was a stinger or not.

Larry’s garden attracts a number of beautiful butterflies and insects.