Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pete Family Reunion | Day Three - Day at the Beach + Family Initiation

Last week I shared the photos from our road trip to Destin, Florida for the Pete family reunion and our visit the following day to the family farm that Friday. Saturday was our day at the beach and I seriously could not wait to get out there! After breakfast we got together with Ben's youngest sister, Karen, and two of her cousins from St. Louis where his father (and family) lives. The six of us walked next door to the souvenir shop where we bought a big umbrella and "Destin, Florida" t-shirt for the baby and a frisbee for the other kids to throw around on the beach.
Thankfully several of the moms from my mom's group have gone to the beach with their own little one's and had several tips for us. We claimed our land and a little bit of shade for Benjamin with our new umbrella and then laid out my favorite beach/park blanket that my mom gave me years ago. She'd also given Benjamin this little blow up pool that he used in California that I made sure to pack for this trip. In his [Love In Every Thread] beach bag I packed his bath/pool/park toys, sunblock, a towel, extra outfit, diapers, wipes, and hat. The only thing that I forgot to bring down from the hotel room was the baby powder to remove sand. Dangit. Otherwise we were pretty well prepared and our day went smoothly!
After I filled up Benjamin's pool and had everything set up, Ben laid on the blanket with him a while to play. I wanted to go in the water for a few minutes. The temperature was perfect and I swam out as far as the last person was in our area. I always do this and stop like there is an invisible line I can't cross. It freaks me out to go any further than the last grouping of people. The one time I did with my sister, Aimee, on our boogie boards we got stuck in a rip tide and a lifeguard had to swim out to push us back. I've learned my lesson! The water was much clearer than it is in California but I never would have attempted to open my eyes under water. It was my first time in the Gulf of Mexico and the water was so salty that it burned my eyes when just a little splashed into them.
Back on the beach I loved seeing Benjamin enjoying himself. There is something so sweet about the sandy, windblown hair and his sweet smile in these photos. He's a water baby like his mama. These are some of my favorite photos, snapped with Ben's iPhone:
It took me a while to figure out why Benjamin was so tired/relaxed. Then I realized that his sound machine that plays for every "sleep" is set to ocean waves. He was so relaxed that he fell asleep with us standing in the middle of the ocean! I'll never forget that. So cute! 

After a couple of hours Ben and I decided to get back up to the hotel so that we could shower and Benjamin could take a proper nap. Ben's dad had joined us at the beach so he helped us pack up all the kids and then we all walked back together.
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Ben told me that at 4 o'clock we were going back down to the beach to surprise our brother-in-law (his sister, Nikki's husband) Derek with a birthday cake. Ben insisted on holding the baby and then he handed my camera to Karen. I wasn't suspicious at this point but I was starting to get annoyed that he wasn't giving me my baby! Ha!
Derek kept looking at me and grinning and I was starting to get nervous. You see, the Pete family -- they initiate newcomers. And you never know when or what is coming...
 One minute we're eating cake and the next...
Thankfully, they took it easier on me (I didn't have cake in my ear like Derek did) but I do think my in-laws enjoyed this quite a bit. See Karen with her mom (my mother-in-law), Melva? They were chasing me! Haha!
All in all it was really great fun and no harm was done! I had on this lovely (not) nursing tank underneath so wam bam, good as new.

A few weeks before our trip I had picked up the cutest smocked outfit for Benjamin from a consignment store. It was (is) a little big on him but I tried it on to make sure it didn't look ridiculous which is didn't. I really wanted to get some nice photos of him at the beach in this outfit so after the festivities died down a  bit I took him a few feet over to this wooden box to sit on and snap a few photos. He did not approve of me setting him down.
Crying babies tend to make me laugh. Especially if they're big giant fakers like this little guy with his cute, pouting lips. These are literally the next two shots:
As you can see, he was just fine and obliged his mama with beautiful photos that I will cherish forever. Aww, swoon.

Meanwhile, behind us on the beach they had set up for two weddings. One was getting ready to begin so those of us that were there, stayed put and watched them get started. Wedding crashers, if you will.
Before we left to go back up to the hotel I took this photo of my boys which I love so much. Ben is wearing this year's family reunion t-shirt commemorating 30 years! Benjamin has a little t-shirt too and it's the cutest thing. It will be fun for him to have as he gets older; a souvenir from his very first reunion at less than one year old.