{Grateful Heart // Mason's Preschool}

Linking Up with Emily at Ember Grey for a Grateful Heart.

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These.wreck.me.completely. I knew the pictures were coming...I did...but I didn't know how un-prepared I was to see them! I walked into school to pick Mason up one day last week and saw Mamas looking at their child's Pre-K graduation pictures and I just about lost it. I asked Ms Ashley to put Mason's graduation pictures behind the Spring picture packet because I just couldn't. I couldn't. I mean I was already in tears over other Mamas looking at their babies pictures could you imagine the blubbering mess I would be if I looked at Mason's? We'll save that ugly mess for home. :)

I got in the car and put those pictures out of sight. I prepared myself the whole way home. Silly, maybe? But I had to. I am having a hard time dealing with the fact that my sweet little baby is old enough to graduate Pre-K and will be moving on to Kindergarten in less than five months. I mean, I just had him yesterday. 

I opened the pictures at home and just as I expected...the big fat ugly cry.  Even with his fake smile and sweet little face I cried. And I cried hard. It's just so bittersweet. 

But, with graduation approaching it really had me thinking. Mostly about how grateful I am that we found such an amazing school for Mason. The teachers and staff at his school are so thoughtful, so caring and they love these babies as if they were their own. That's not easy to find these days. We have been on the other side at a different school where it was just a 'job' to most of the teachers there. All I can say is that we are so incredibly blessed to be where we are now. Those teachers pour their hearts and souls into these kids over 8 hours a day shaping them into respectful, smart and caring little humans all the while preparing them for the great big world out there. I am astonished by the things that Mason has learned. He is writing on his own, spelling multiple words and sounding out words. I am almost certain I didn't do that at four years old. I am amazed. And not only is he learning so much there, he comes home talking about how fun it was and how much he loves his teacher and peers. That makes a Mama's heart so happy.

I had so much guilt taking Mason to school every day when he was at the other location. It rocked me to my core. But now? I don't have that guilt at all. Sure, I miss him like crazy and think about going to pick him up every minute of every day because he's a blessing and makes my days happy, but I do not feel guilty. He is loved, taken care of, having fun, making lifelong friends and learning so much. And it's going to make going to Kindergarten so much easier on him. Why wouldn't I want that for him?

So, today and for the rest of my life I will be grateful for FHK and the teachers and staff that make it the amazing place that it is. 

What are you grateful for today?
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{The Man behind the Mama}

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I am loving this Mama's tell all series and so glad that "The Man behind the Mama" is one of the topics of this series!! I love to brag on my man any chance I get.  He is seriously one of the greatest people I have ever met. When I count my blessings I count him over and over and over. And I thank God for bringing this sweet man into my life almost 19 years ago. I know it sounds cliche, but I seriously do not know where I would be without my Nathan. He is my everything! I'm truly blessed to be married to my best friend.

It's been nothing short of amazing to grow up and grow together with Nathan. I mean, we were babies when we first met and started dating. He has taught me so much about life and love and everything in between.We have had so many great adventures together as well as hard times that I am not sure I would have made it through without Nathan there to carry me. And every day I say that I don't think I could love him anymore he proves me otherwise.  At this rate, my heart just may burst as much as it grows for him. :) 

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Speaking of hearts, Nathan has a heart bigger than Texas and would do anything for anyone without thinking twice.  He is kind to everyone that he meets and is well liked by everyone.  He enjoys good conversation and will sit and talk or listen to you for hours. It's no wonder why he meets friends at places like the gas pump!  He's the real deal y'all. Genuine. Amazing. 

When Nathan became a Father to our son, Mason, was the day that my love for him soared to a whole other level. To see him so seamlessly and so proudly step into the Father role...oh man...I can't tell you what that did to my heart. It was a sure sign he had found one of his callings in life....to be a daddy! From day one he has been a hands-on daddy.  I mean, he has always been involved in everything and celebrates the small victories as well as the big ones with me.  Parenthood is not the easiest thing in the world, but being in it with Nathan makes it all the more sweeter.

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We make a good team and I always tell people that he is the calm to my chaos! I am a worrier by nature and let things work me into a melt down and a migraine and he is so calm, cool and collected and brings to me to the level I need to be at. We couldn't be more opposite in this area. I'm the one hiding in the closet with cushions and he's the one standing out watching the storm. Yeah, I guess he's a little crazy, too. ha. But, we balance each other out.

As for Nathan and who he is as a person {and not just my amazing husband/mason's awesome dad}; he is a man with a passion for baseball, coaching kids in baseball/tball, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, anything outdoors, trucks, traveling, college football, off-roading, all things manly and his family. He will find any reason he can to be outdoors and to be doing something. He loves to tinker; whether that is with cars, trucks, jeeps, just around his shop or even with power wheels. ha!  

He is also a fort-making, cops/bad guy chasing, lego building, super dad and is the best grilled-cheese maker if you ask Mason!  

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If you wanna read more about Nathan and our love story you can find part one here, part two here, part three here.

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{Our love story // part 3}

part one here // part two here

Nathan got sick {really sick} with bacterial meningitis and our lives were turned upside down...

Just in case you aren't familiar with bacterial meningitis...

What is bacterial meningitis?

Acute bacterial meningitis is the most common form of meningitis. Approximately 80 percent of all cases are acute bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening. The infection can cause the tissues around the brain to swell. This in turn interferes with blood flow and can result in paralysis or even stroke.

What causes bacterial meningitis?

The bacteria most often responsible for bacterial meningitis are common in the environment and can also be found in your nose and respiratory system without causing any harm.
Sometimes meningitis occurs for no known reason. Other times it occurs after a head injury or after you have had an infection and your immune system is weakened.

What are the symptoms of bacterial meningitis?

You want to watch for high fever, headaches, and an inability to lower your chin to your chest due to stiffness in the neck.
In older children and adults, you may see confusion, irritability, increasing drowsiness. Seizures and stroke may occur.
In young children, the fever may cause vomiting and they may refuse to eat. Young children may become very irritable and cry. There may be seizures. Also, because the fluid around the skull may become blocked their heads may swell.
The onset of symptoms is fast, within 24 hours. If allowed to progress, you can die from bacterial meningitis.

How is bacterial meningitis treated?

Bacterial meningitis is treated with antibiotics. A general intravenous antibiotic with a corticosteroid to bring down the inflammation may be prescribed even before all the test results are in. When the specific bacteria are identified, your doctor may decide to change antibiotics. In addition to antibiotics, it will be important to replenish fluids lost from loss of appetite, sweating, vomiting and diarrhea.

Nathan started feeling pretty ill that next Thursday. He felt like he was getting the flu and was in bed that evening and all of Friday. Over the next 48 hours I didn't talk to him much and when I did I could tell how awful he was feeling. My heart was breaking for him and breaking that I wasn't there with him. When he wasn't sleeping he was getting sick. It was Friday night and I hadn't heard from anyone and was pretty worried. I went by his house and everyone was gone. All of the lights were on and it looked like they left in a hurry. I knew something was wrong and it was the worst feeling ever. I tried his dad's cell phone but didn't get in touch right away. A couple hours later I got a call that brought the worst news...

Nate had started throwing up 'black stuff' (which we later learned was dried blood) and his head and back were in so much excruciating pain that he couldn't even stand up straight so they took him to the ER. But the hospital they were at were transporting him by ambulance to another hospital because it was pretty serious. I left and headed straight there. It felt like hours before I saw anyone or heard anything. I did finally see his family, but had no news on confirmed news on Nathan. They suspected Bacterial Meningitis, but they were still running tests and were going to take a while. There was no chance of seeing Nathan any time soon {understandably}.

Even though every single ounce of me wanted to stay and wait it out, I did what I needed to do. I took home Nathan's younger brother so that his parents could talk to the doctors and do all that they needed to do. I left there so lost, confused and worried. My brother in law and I drove home in silence. I prayed and prayed the whole way home for God to save Nathan. I remember going home and crying my eyes out to my dad. I tried to hold it all in and to be strong for Nate's younger brother, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. I didn't sleep much that night and was back up at the hospital early the next morning.

The spinal tap (which still bothers him to this day) confirmed that Nathan did indeed have bacterial meningitis. He was then quarantined to a special ICU room that circulated clean air ever so often and we had to wear masks to even go in the room. He was highly contagious and his immune system was low and we didn't want to bring anything extra in to him. Social workers interviewed his family and me as well {protocol} to find out all of the places Nathan had been the last 10 days. They were surprised that I wasn't feeling ill since Nathan and I always shared drinks and such. They wrote all of us a prescription that we had to take for the next several days. 

The doctors told Nate's parents that it was a pretty bad case and that if he had gotten to the hospital just an hour or two later it could have been fatal. Thankfully the first hospital started him on an IV right away. We later learned that them starting those IV meds that minute and him being in such a great and athletic shape saved his life. So scary considering all of the symptoms start out like the flu. 

For the next 3 or so days Nathan mostly slept and was on a lot of medication. He was incoherent for the most part. His head was in so much pain that the only way he could find comfort was to sleep. He told us that it felt like someone was bashing him on the back of the head with a brick. 

Nathan's family and I spent every day at the hospital. I think visiting hours were hours were over at like 10 each night, but sometimes there would be an awesome nurse that let us stay later. Each day got a little better and he was awake more and talked a little more. They released him a week later and then he was on a home IV for another week. Even during that week at home he was in bed most of the time. We watched a lot of movies and played MLB baseball and just hung out.

Nathan had several side effects for a year or longer. He had a sensitivity to the sun {which he'd never had before}, headaches, back pain where they did the spinal tap and he also lost a lot of his muscle mass after being in bed for over 2 weeks straight. Once he started feeling better his Grandmother set us up with sessions with a physical therapist/trainer so that Nathan could build his strength back up. Slowly, he got back to where he was before.

Needless to say, this took our relationship to a whole other level. Sure, we talked about marriage and our future but never with a time frame. We knew that it would be in our near future and that we didn't want to live a day without each other. 

I am so thankful God saved this sweet man!!

Part four coming soon...

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{This & That}

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We are loving that it's Spring and that we can sneak in snowcone dates after school!! We just adore our snowcone stand and the owners. Such sweet people and the best snowcones in all of the land. 

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If you are a mom read this. Now. I was feeling so defeated on the day this popped up in my FB feed. God is so good, y'all. 


The other day we were playing outside after school and Mason asked to go to the side/back of our house. I said sure and he took off running. I gathered my phone and camera and started walking over there and he's no where in site. I check the back of the house {we're on 2 acres} and notta. I start to panic a little like every mom usually does and went back to the front of the house and he was just as panicked and looking for me. He ran around the opposite side of the house just as I was walking to the other side. He runs to me and says, 

"Mama I saw these all the way in the back of the yard and picked them for you because you're my love." {can I bottle up this sweetness please?}

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How cute is our feed store? I mostly post this to say that I love my small little town. And I like that it's just that...small.  There is news of us getting like 8 new places {Michaels, Red Lobster, Cracker Barrel, etc} in addition to the Hobby Lobby and Academy they are already starting to work on. It kind of makes me sad! I don't want our little town to grow too much. But, have to admit I am excited about Hob Lob and Academy! 

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We've started crafting for Mason's birthday!! #lego

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I got my April Ipsy bag and I think it's the cutest bag yet! it's kind of burlap/jute material and so so precious. The goods inside were great too! Except for the red lipstick I got. I could never pull that off. ever. Do you get the Ipsy bag?

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In exactly ONE month we will have a FIVE year old. FIVE! This makes my Mama heart oh so weepy! And we won't even talk about his Graduation pictures that came in this week. Because I can't. I.just.can't. 

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In case you missed it...

On Monday I posted about our weekend
Tuesday was part two of our love story
Wednesday was Mama's tell all and how we came about naming Mason
Thursday I posted about my Grateful Heart

The countdown is on...

My best friends wedding >> 15 days
Pre-K Graduation >> 28 days
Disney >> 30 days
Mason's 5th birthday >> 31 days

Any plans for the weekend? Mine will be filled with crafting, family health day at our gym, Tball, Tball pictures, a bachelorette party, church, and whatever else we can manage to fit in!

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{A Grateful Heart}

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Linking up with one of my favorites; Emily from Ember Grey for a Grateful Heart. I love this link-up and that it makes me stop and realize all of the blessings in my life; big and small. Life can get crazy and mundane all at the same time, but there is always something to be grateful for. 

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” 
(1 Chronicles 16:34).

+ spring time; the flowers, the bluebonnets, the colors, the sunshine, & even the rain
+ longer days
+ mason's neighbor friends
+ a little boy that loves to play outside until sundown
+ a dirt-covered little boy that smell of outside {means time well spent}
+ cuddle time
+ snowcone dates
+ cameras & new & old photographs
+ back country roads
+ dreams
+ smell of fresh cut grass
+ that the storms yesterday were not as severe as they predicted
+ front {and back} porches
+ baseball
+ my sweet soul sister and our daily snaps {Love you Ashlea!!!}
+ and of course, my darling little family

What are you grateful for this week?

Oh and also, this linkup With Heavens to Betsy went live today. I goofed and posted this way too early. Oops!!

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

{Show & Tell Tuesday on a Wednesday // What's in a name}

Two posts in one day? I know! I just saw this link-up {that actually went up yesterday} and wanted to join in. I love the theme and loved reading the other posts that linked up.

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From the very beginning of my pregnancy I just knew the baby was a boy. Nathan was convinced it was a girl. We've had our girls name picked out for over 10 years now, but never had the name if it was a boy! Which is funny since I knew it was a boy all along. 

Nathan and I both loved the name "Lane" but agreed that it would be a middle name. Lane comes from the bull-rider Lane Frost. One day {shortly after we found out Mason was a boy - 12/09} we were in the nursery and Nate said what about Mason? I quickly shouted "Mason Lane" that's it. That's our baby's name! There was no looking back. We were in love with it. 

It was a name that wasn't already being used in my HUGE family, wasn't very popular {at the time - thanks Kardashian for ruining that! ha}, and just seemed perfect for our little guy.

So, where did Mason come from? It could have been that Nate was going through his apprenticeship to become a Free Mason at the time. He also coached a well-liked kid named Mason in baseball. 

I can't imagine calling him anything else. Mason Lane is just perfect for him. We always laugh because in the movie 8 seconds {movie made after Lane Frost} they are always saying "waitin' on Lane" and now we find ourselves always waiting on our Lane, too! 

How did you come up with your child's name?

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{Mama's tell all // Adios diapers!}

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Me: Mason why did you spill your soda?
Mason: I didn't Mama. I peed

Linking up with:

For Mama's Tell All...

Oh man, potty training feels like many moons ago, but I still remember it. And as much as I hate to say it {because I know how difficult it can be} we got really, really lucky in the potty training department. Mason was potty trained at 33 months and it only took 4ish days with only 4 or so accidents. We were very blessed, though, that his school helped with the process. This particular school broke up the rooms like so; newborn-12 months, 12-24 mths, 2's, 3's, Pre-K. And they start potty training them in the twos classroom when they show interest. And again, we were blessed that Mason was ready at this time. I think a big factor was seeing his friends go potty {at school} and he wanted to be big like them! And honestly, I've heard that boys are just easier to potty train than girls. I can't attest to that since I don't have a little girl {Heaven help me if I ever do!}, but I can say Mason was pretty darn easy. 

Here's what worked for us...

He has to be ready...
Make sure they are 100 % ready first and foremost. If they're not ready and you push it you will only bring upon yourself many of tears, stress and frustration. I remember taking Mason to his two year well check and his sweet doctor asking me if he had any interest in potty training. I told her that there have been a couple of times when Mason wanted to potty, but nothing ever happened. She told me to not push it and just let him tell me when he was ready. She said if he's not ready and you push it then it will just be a long journey of basically trading diapers for pull-ups. Boys are stubborn and hard-headed {well, most} and want to do things when they are ready to. She was SO right! 

Talk it up...
Once they show interest start talking it up really good! How cool potty training is and what a big boy/girl they would be if they used the potty. 

Picking out a potty...
Let them decide if they want to use a little potty their size, or if they want the little ring that sits on the big potty. Mason of course didn't care one bit for a tot-sized potty. He wanted to use the big one like Daddy. 

Picking out undies...
Let them pick out their own big boy undies! They will be more inclined to wear them if they picked them out. Super heroes and Ninja Turtles are a big plus in a little boy's world!!

Avoid pull-ups...
Skip the pull-ups! I know!!! Sounds crazy. But it worked for us! I only bought one pack of pull-ups and used only two or three of them. I put one on Mason the first night. And he just peed in it instead of waking up to go potty. So I stopped using them. I had a talk with him and told him that he is wearing big boy undies and if he feels like he needs to go potty he needed to wake up to go. And that was that! To me pull-ups are basically a big boy diaper. For 2 years they have pottied in a diaper and why would a pull-up feel any different? 

Little reminders...
Tell him to go potty every 15 minutes or so, even if it's just one tiny drop. 

A little praise goes a long way! Make a really big deal about it when he goes potty in the toilet!! Do a dance, clap, jump up and down, whatever works!!

Other little tidbits for potty training little boys...

Let them pee on trees. It's fun! And takes them to a whole other level of big boy status. But, stress the importance of only doing that at home. Ya know, so they don't do it on the playground at school.

Put a cheerio in the toilet and have them aim at it! 

Always carry extra clothes with you. It may take them a minute to remember they are in big boy undies and need to potty and it may be too late.

Something Mason's school did with the little boys...they made them sit down to potty regardless if it was going #1 or #2. That way they didn't have to think about if they needed to sit or stand each time. Saved quite a few accidents! Now of course Mason knows the difference, but potty training is overwhelming enough...every little thing helps.

Just find what works for you and go with it! And if you have a little boy get ready to clean up a lot of messes. They pee everywhere and on everything. 

The Rambling Llama

What tips and advice do you have for potty training? Was it easy or hard for you?

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{Our love story // Part 2}

part one // here

Nathan and I continued to date all throughout High School. We were pretty much tied at the hip. In school we were no longer just Nathan or just Crystal ...we were Nathan & Crystal. Nathan came to all of my cheerleading events and I proudly wore my "baseball babe" shirt with Nate's name and jersey number on it to every one of his games. We got in trouble for kissing in the halls more times than I can count. We spent every waking moment together and when we were apart were sure to be on the phone together, or paging each other with a "143" {remember that? 143 meaning I love you}. I don't even know how many times we fell asleep on the phone. Crazy.in.love.

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From then on it was typical high school stuff; banquets, homecomings, proms, tournaments, Friday night lights, etc.  And somehow after a year or so I talked 
my daddy into letting me go on camping trips and vacations with the Hall family. They were all the time going somewhere and doing something and Nathan and I hated being apart. We were good kids and our parents trusted us! We slept in separate beds in the camper with the whole family. 

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We made it through our High School years even with me graduating a year before him. It was hard, but we did it. After HS we went to the same college and even worked for the same company. Still inseparable. People thought it would harm us spending so much time together, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We just enjoy each other's company that much. 

Nathan and I weren't ones to go out to bars or anything. We never really go into that during our college years like most of our friends. I mean, we loved to go sit on a patio and listen to live music, but never were bar hoppers. But one night we were invited to a birthday party that ended up at a bar and Nate is almost positive that's where everything went down. 

Nathan got sick {really sick} with bacterial meningitis and our lives were turned upside down...

...to be continued

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{Weekend Wrap-up // Six Flags, Antique Alley and Bluebonnet Festival}

Happy Monday!! Man, the weekend flewwwww by too quick. And I really stunk at taking pictures this weekend, too. Ugh! Even though I don't have the pictures, we had a pretty fabulous weekend.

Friday was our annual school district night out at Six Flags. The park is only open to the employees and their families for this night. Last year {here} we had a blast! We could basically walk up to any ride and had no wait/line. This year we rode 3 rides and a typhoon came! They shut down all but like 4 things {Runaway Mountain which is indoors, the train, antique cars and the carousel}. We hopped on the train and rode it for a couple of round trips all the while getting soaked by the storm! We still enjoyed it, but would have loved to be able to do more. Good thing we have Disney in like 34 days or something like that!!

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Saturday morning Nate woke up early to help his dad with a few things & hit the gym while Mason and I got ready for the day. We went with his brother and girlfriend and her cousin to Antique Alley and the Bluebonnet Festival. And guess what? I forgot my dang camera. I was so disappointed! Antique Alley was good, but super crowded. We only went to 2 of the 3 towns and were ready to call it quits! But not before I snagged a wooden sign {in turquoise} that says "In the morning when I rise give me Jesus" and also a feed sack that says "Sweet Tea & Jesus". LOVE!!! 

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Next was the Bluebonnet festival in Ennis. They had bouncehouses, a petting zoo, games, vendors selling all kinds of things, and food, etc. It was neat to walk around and check it all out! After the festival we drove the bluebonnet trail again! I just love taking the back country roads. That evening we had supper & snowcones with some sweet friends.

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Sunday we were able to meet up with our best friends, the Browers! And got to meet their newest addition to the family! He is as sweet as can be!! We had a nice lunch and hung out and talked for a bit. 

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How was your weekend?

{Texas Bluebonnets // Bristol Bluebonnet Trail}

Good morning and Happy Friday!!

We were supposed to have 2 T-ball games last night, but it rained and lightened {for all of 5 minutes} just before the games and they called them. My parents, sister and 2 nephews were already on their way into town to watch Mason's games so we met them for supper instead. After supper we got Mason a vanilla milkshake and Nate and I got a protein shake and were on our way. Nate passed the entrance to our neighborhood and I knew he had a plan!! He drove us out to the Bristol area to see bluebonnets!! 

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In case you didn't know...bluebonnets are a HUGE deal here in Texas!! Every year around this time you see families everywhere out taking pictures in them. you have about a 3-4 week span where you can do this. That's all! I just love this time of year!! Click {here} to see our Bluebonnet post from last year. 

It was after 7 when we started the trail, so we were racing the sunset. But, we didn't mind. The views were AMAZING!!! And the sky was amazing, too. We fell in love with the area and felt like we were in the Texas Hill Country at times! There were so many nice homes and ranches. We half-joked about selling our house and moving over there. 

We didn't take any pictures of Mason because he was in his T-Ball uniform. And also because we plan to go to the actual Bluebonnet festival this weekend. We will be ready for pictures then! Also, these were all taken on my iPhone. I will take my big camera when we go back. 

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Have you taken Bluebonnet pics this year? Also, do you watermark your pictures? I normally don't, but have had people stealing my pics lately. :(