Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 4th

Happy Independence Day from the Luongs! For the second year in a row, we decided to spend July 4th in Fredricksburg, a small Texas town about an hour north of San Antonio. My parents would drive us up there for day trips when we were kids and for me that place just feels like summer. This time around we got there in time to catch the second half of the local parade, then walked up and down main street until lunch time enjoying the little shops and small town Texas atmosphere. After lunch we drove out to our favorite wildflower farm for some peach ice cream. 

Last year we heard about a kite festival at one of the many wineries in the area, and it was the highlight of our day. This year my Dad surprised Wilson with his own kite, so we called ahead to the winery only to find out that they weren't hosting the festival this year! They were kind enough to say that we could bring our kites anyway and make use of the great hill on which they are located. It was such a beautiful spot, the weather and wind were perfect and everything was so peaceful. It was by far my favorite part of the day. Samantha and I sat on a blanket under a tree and enjoyed the breeze and the live music coming from the deck of the winery while Wilson and Dad flew their kites and Lucy ran around between everyone. It was summertime perfection.

We drove through the hill country for an hour or so to let babies and Granddaddies take their naps and then headed over to the park for a picnic dinner before the fireworks. Then we ended our perfect day with two screaming girls in the backseat about ten minutes before we got home and a toddler who insisted on her bedtime routine even though she was too tired to comprehend any of it. Just another day in our little family and I love it. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Three years ago on Mother's Day we blessed Lucy in church and today, on another Mother's Day, we blessed Samantha. She wore the same dress her sister did, made by my mother out of several pieces of vintage lace. Samantha was peaceful and alert as she was surrounded by members of the priesthood and Wilson gave her the blessing. He blessed her that she would find the good in others, that she would be discerning and choose the right and that she would remember that her Savior loves her. A beautiful day with so many beautiful blessings. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

To Samantha Lark:

Dear Samantha,

You were so lovingly anticipated before you were born. In the months before your arrival, I couldn't stop looking at your big sister's baby pictures trying to get some clues as to what you would look like. Then, at your last sonogram you smiled for us! I must have looked at that picture three times a day in those last few weeks. 

You were born on a Thursday. I could hardly sleep the night before, even though we had to be at the hospital at 4:30am; I was too excited. When you arrived, you were silent. The doctor showed you to us and said that you were a little sleepy then passed you to the nurses to try and get you to cry. Your daddy and I watched each other's faces as we waited and then we heard the most adorable squeak. No cries, just little high-pitched bursts of new life and that's when I felt the tears. Just like with your sister it wasn't first sight, but rather, first sound when I fell in love. 

Lucy immediately wanted to hold you, hug you, and kiss you. She completely understood who you were, just like she had since she told us that you were coming nine months ago. In the weeks that followed, she introduced you to every person that walked through our door or passed us along the way. Families are forever, and you have a sister that loved you before you were born. 

I am obsessed with your big, bright eyes and the roundness of your cheeks. I adore the shape of your mouth and chin. Everyone thinks that you look exactly like your big sister, but as each day goes by I notice your differences more and more. Your complexion is lighter than Lucy's was and you don't have quite as much hair as she did when she was born. I am curious as to what else will set you apart as you grow up. 

Right now we are still trying to adjust to our new "normal". Whenever I find myself wondering if things will ever settle down, I like to find an excuse to hold you as you sleep (which isn't too hard since you sleep about 20 hours a day) and listen to all the squeaks, growls, and sighs that punctuate your dreams.  Though it will take us some time to find our routine as a family of 4, I hope that you will feel our love and attention as you grow up and learn new things. I can't wait to hear your voice, see your smile, and show you everything this dazzling world has to see. 

You are wanted. You are beloved. We are so happy you are here. 

Te Quiero, 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


With the arrival of Baby #2 in a few weeks, we are taking some time to make a few last minute special memories with Lucy; just the 3 of us. This past weekend we decided to take her to the zoo for the first time. I know, I know - she is almost 3 and we've never taken her to the zoo. You can judge. The truth is, that animals have never really held Lucy's attention, and after the debacle that was the 2014 Luong Rodeo outing, my instinct just said that the zoo was not going to be the magical place for Lucy that it was for other kids. But it's something you have to do, yes? At least when they are two and admission is still free? Well, I am quite proud to say that my motherly instinct was spot on. 

Here is the complete list of Lucy's favorite zoo experiences:

- "feeding' the animals - starting from the very first animal exhibit (flamingos) Lucy would walk up to the fence, look at the animal(s) and then say to herself "I'm going to feed it corn/bread/oranges/pears..." while reaching into her non-existent pockets and throwing imaginary food to the animal. She would then promptly walk away from the fence, signifying that she was done and ready to move on

- locating every plate of orange slices in the butterfly exhibit. "Look, Lucy! A blue butterfly!" "Look, Mama! That plate has oranges and pineapples!"

- seeing another little girl wearing her favorite donut t shirt from home

- every food cart and restaurant that we walked by

- the carousel

We walked through less than half of the exhibits before Lucy was done and we didn't see any reason to force the rest of the experience. To other parents this might have felt like a crash and burn situation; a bust of a Saturday. I could have gotten totally frustrated that she wasn't finding the wonder in the zoo, but instead I was so amused. My little girl loves playing make believe with food, watching baking shows on PBS, and going out to eat. She asks me to draw chalk drawings of fruits and vegetables on our driveway while her neighbor draws animals on his. She tells me what she wants for dinner while bringing me ingredients from the pantry, and watching her at the zoo just made me realize how confident and assertive she is in her own particular interests. 

I think the deciding moments came for us when we would approach  a glass enclosure or a large pen where some animal would be missing and Wilson and I would search for it, saying "Lucy, do you see it? Where is it?" Lucy would suddenly point excitedly and say "There! It's right there!" and we would follow her gaze to a find a squirrel, grackle, pigeon, or some other local wildlife trespassing through the enclosure. By the time we would turn to tell her that we were looking for something a little more exotic, she was already walking away - completely satisfied. I'm thinking we can save the money on the zoo membership for now and continue to let Lucia observe the wildlife in our backyard. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's a . . . .

The night that Wilson and I found out we were pregnant we had already put Lucy to bed and both made a pact not to say anything about the pregnancy around her. This was back in August (I was only about 4 weeks along) and Lucy was just hitting the age where she would spill everyone's secrets. ("Mama, Daddy got me a cookie at that store!", "Grandaddy fell asleep!", "Danielle took me to Taco Cabana!") It was a pretty safe assumption that anything you said or did would probably come out of her mouth at the most inconvenient time. So we both decided that the word "baby" was off limits around the Luong house until we were ready for the whole world to know.

The very next morning as I was taking Lucy downstairs for breakfast, she turned to face me and said 

"baby sister." 

I was so surprised I stopped in the middle of the stairs. Equally intrigued and freaked out, I asked,

"Baby sister? Where Lucy, where?"

She took her little finger and pointed to my mouth, 

"Right there, Mom, right there."

I didn't say anything after that, but every so often throughout the following weeks, Lucy would stop playing or watching her shows to look up at me and say "Baby sister." Each time I asked her about it she would point to my mouth and say "right there". We never had to tell her there was a baby coming, she pretty much told us. Flash forward 4 months and we just learned what Lucy already seemed to know:

It's a Girl!!

Now that the initial creepiness of a prophetic 2 year old has started to wear off, I love that Lucy seemed to know her sister was on her way. I can't wait to watch them grow up together!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

baby, it's cold outside

It wasn't snow, but it was the closest thing that Lucy has ever seen. Imagine a yard full of icy cold styrofoam pellets, or a yard full of Dippin' Dots, and that was what we woke up to today. I knew Lucy's experience with anything like this would be limited in her early years so I bundled both of us up and ventured out. There was enough to crunch under your feet, which was enough for us, and my little one played to her hearts content. Her heart was content with about 20 minutes, by the way, after which she stopped mid-run, said "cold, cold, cold" and then starting walking inside. That's my girl.

Monday, January 20, 2014


I am San Antonio, born and raised. I left for almost a decade to spend some time in the Grand Canyon State, but I'm back and ready to rediscover SA and show her off to Wilson. I know I have said this on many occasions but San Antonio is about 12 times cooler than when I left! Seriously, the arts, the neighborhoods, the city life; I'm so impressed with what my home town has been up to in my absence that I have decided to start a personal project this year to catch up with SA.

The idea came to me this past week when Wilson came home with Spurs tickets. Excuse me, Spurs court side tickets. And how crazy am I that the first thought in my head was "Really? Find a babysitter, drive across town, deal with parking etc....?" What?! When did I become that girl, and can I leave that girl at home in her yoga pants watching Netflix, while I go out and enjoy myself? Fancy court side treatment aside, the whole experience was like an old friend. I realized that the last time I had been to a Spurs game was in high school (coincidentally, the half time show was the dance team from my high school), and I wondered what else I was missing.

So each month I am going to participate/visit/enjoy something that is pure San Antonio. Call it an exercise in welcoming new experiences, of embracing the inconvenience of planning ahead and leaving the house, of being able to show our visitors something besides the Alamo, and giving Lucy a head start on loving this city.

And to all of my friends transplanted here, you have a standing invitation to join us on any of our adventures. Especially those of you living up here on the far North side and who have told me that they don't see anything too special about SA . Sorry, but you are going to have to go south of the loop (the other loop) to really see San Antonio. Let me show you!