After our intensly sociable schedule last week, we felt the need for even more human company. So we decided to head up to the mountains of Tennessee to see some of our chosen family, namely sis Kender, her hubby Shadow, and their little ones K. and C.

The last time we’d gotten up to visit was back in October, before C. had been born. Kender was on bedrest, so we’d taken her up a huge stack of books and DVDs to keep her entertained and save her from the perils of Edmund Spencer, who had been so recently tormenting her every waking moment. (If you don’t understand how someone who has been dead for 400 years can torment a girl, then you’ve obviously never known a post-grad lit major. Nuff said).

We arrived late Friday night, after the kids had already gone to bed and Shadow was off doing his Sandman routine at the local hospital. We stayed up for a bit talking and exchanging some of the christmas gifts and then went to bed.

Saturday morning, with the kids awake, we finsihed the Christmas present exchange. I had bought Kender the second season of Buffy on DVD, and Shadow the first season of Stargate, because I know they like those shows (I had given Kender the first season of Buffy last year). K. got a couple of tops we bought at ZooAtlanta with pandas on them, a Graeme Base book, and a copy of the “Free To Be You And Me” CD that kitanzi had picked up on E-bay. C., who is only four months old and not yet ready to be really excited about presents, got a little blue outfit and a Bumper Jumper. The Bumper Jumper is a small seat with a tray around it that can be suspended from a door frame on a very strong spring. When adjusted so that the wee one’s feet just touch the ground, they can bounce up and down in it. This contraption came highly recommended to me from eloran, whose son R. is just a week younger than C. and loves his to pieces, so I felt it’d make a good gift. Outside of clothes, shopping for four month olds is hard. It’s been so long since I was one, I don’t remember the sorts of things I liked. For both kids, though neither is probalby quite old enough to find it irresistablly cool, was a globe on a wooden floor stand that we picked up at the yard sale for $10. Shadow and Kender gave us a set of very nice flatware, which was extremely nice since the cheap stuff we bought when Kit moved in was falling apart. (When I’d been living by myself, I only needed a small amount of silverware, really. Two people go through it a lot faster.)

Gifts exchanged, we set out for the church yard sale that Kender had been planning on going to. Kit and I immediately gravitated to the book table and picked up several, including a handful of Mrs. Pollifax novels, a Garrison Keillor collection, and an old hardcover of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. I also found a copy of the game Encore, which I’d played back when I was living with telynor.

We walked across the street to the community center, where Kender had taken K. for her swimming lesson. I noticed they had a large empty basketball court, so I inquired about checking out a ball. There’s a game I used to play by myself some years ago, when our neighbor put a backboard in the front yard for her son, and said I was welcome to make use of it when he wasn’t. The goal of the game is to make as many baskets as you can before making 10 misses. The first shot in a sequence is made from about the foul line (or further out if you have no trouble at all making this shot). If you make the basket, you get 1 point and can shoot again from the start line. If you miss, however, you have to recover the ball, wherever it bounded off to, and make your next shot from whereve you regain control of the ball. If you’re a lousy free-throw shooter like me, you tend to get a lot of exercise either trying to get into a good position to rebound the ball after having shot it from the free-throw line, or chasing the ball down after it’s bounced off in an unexpected direction, making a shot from that point, and running back up towards the goal in hopes of getting a more favourable rebound if (more likely when) you miss that shot. A LOT of fun, and something I haven’t done in years, as was evidenced by how out of breath I was at the end of it.

We returned home for a wonderful lunch and then everyone decided to take a nap. Afterwards, I went up and watched a bit of the Stargate SG-1 DVD with Shadow. I’ve never really watched Stargate, but the premise is facinating, and it does have Richard Dean Anderson in it, who I’ve always enjoyed as an actor since back when he did Macguyver. I might think about adding that set to my own DVDs-to-get list (as if it isn’t already a mile long).

Dinner was a tasty array of crab legs, which were delicious but very difficult to get into. After I finished eating, I spent most of the remainder of dinner helping K. get her crabs open. I think I understand why some people buy the crab meat already out of the shell. We stayed up and chatted a bit after that and played with the kids, but around nine, Kit and I both ended up crashing in bed. Somehow we didn’t communicate this well to all of our hosts, as Kender thought were were coming back up. “No, they went to bed”, Shadow told her. Ah well, we were bushed, and Kit was a bit zoned from an antihistimine she’d taken earlier in the day. We didn’t stir again until the next morning.

We had promised to stay through lunch, so we spent Sunday morning doing yet more visiting, then having an absolutely marvelous meal of barbecue ribs and a spinich-and-cheese cassarole that we promptly stole the recipe for. We then offered to watch C. for an hour or two to allow Kender to get a nap. This worked well for a while, but eventually he got into one of those “I’m unhappy and nothing you do is gonna make me happy” moods that infants sometimes get in, and after a while Mom came down to rescue us from the miniature air-raid siren that is our nephew. He was very well-behaved the entire weekend though, so a little crankiness in 3 days is nothing to complain of.

The weather outside was stormy as we headed back home, but we arrived back at our place well before dark. A good weekend all around, and I’m hoping the next visit won’t be so long in coming.