Ali has an online shopping habit. Luckily she's pretty good at searching out a good deal. Most of her purchases are less than $20, but at any given time she's got open pages on her web browser with at least $500 in her shopping carts. While I don't want to encourage her habit I am impressed at her inventiveness. She typed up a flier and asked me to put it on my Facebook page. I copied it below. It turns out the timing was perfect. I'd posted something about babysitting for Nikki a few years ago and didn't get any interest. But after posting this for Ali I had a few people inquire about babysitting, pet sitting and she's even started tutoring. She is tutoring a friends daughter that's in the 5th grade. It's a perfect start. She is working on how to help her process the information she learned without giving her the answer outright. I'm so proud of her for working for what she wants. Beside the fact that she will earn some money to support her habit, she is learning some valuable skills. Love these kids!
This was an odd year for Halloween. It was on a Thursday night and neither of the girls had Friday off from school. Ali had invited over a bunch of kids to go out trick or treating. She'd wanted to go out on their own but a parent had asked if we'd be with them. Plus Leslie had Millie and Parker that wanted to go out we had to be with them anyway. I told Ali we'd just trail behind and they could run ahead.
But first we had pumpkins to carve! I bought three pumpkins; one for Ali, Nikki and Bill. And Bill had big ideas of what his was going to look like. But then Ali had two ideas and wanted to do both. So Ali and Nikki did two designs. One on the front of their pumpkin and one on the back. Only I didn't get photos of the finished pumpkins somehow. Trust me, they were awesome!
Now onto the big night. Fourteen kids ended up being here. It was great to see all of them dressed up, and not just the lame costumes. They all looked great! Ali and Paige had gone up the street to a church festival for about an hour before everyone showed up.
I think this is the 5th year this group has come up to our house for trick or treating. It's grown each year, and always is a lot of fun. It's sad to think this was probably our last year of joining them.
Nikki went up to her friends house and they went to a party. She wasn't able to stay out too late because of school the next day, so it was a pretty uneventful evening. Although the funny of the night for me was when the kids all got back to our house and were sorting their candy in the living room. The doorbell rang and a little boy of about 3 and his bigger sister said, "trick or treat". I said hi and gave them some candy. They started to walk away when the little boy turned and said to me, "there's a lot of people in there". I told him yes there were. He started to walk away again, then turned and asked, "did they go easter egging?". I laughed and said, "yep they just got back". His sister finally pulled him away but he was adorable. Makes me miss when the kids were so little and took it all in.
Oh and as a side note, apparently Stephen enjoyed Halloween as a college student. I think their celebrations went on for several days. But I did get a few photos sent to me. This was my favorite:
Ali finally got her braces off! She initially was told they would be on for 12-14 months. Needless to say, they were on longer. I'm not sure how much longer, although if you ask her she could probably tell you to the day how long she wore them. Part of it was her not wearing her rubber bands as diligently as she should have. But either way, they are off and it's before high school.
I think she was looking pretty great at this point. But she'd been asking me to let her dye her hair darker with a temporary color treatment. So we went to Target and picked out a nice chestnut brown. It was really easy to apply. Although I realized about mid way through that we should've bought two boxes because she has so much hair. But since we weren't sure if she was even going to like it, we decided to just proceed. It turned out really pretty. The top had more color than the bottom, but the under layer of her hair is darker naturally so it worked out fine.
It actually looks a lot like Nikki's hair now. I think she's happy with it. Although her friends gave her mixed reviews. She's getting all dressed up for a bar mitzvah tomorrow so I'll post a photo of her all done up.
Okay here is the follow up photo of Ali and Grace before they headed out to their party.
Now for the good part of the evening. As we were finishing up, people started to arrive. It worked out well that we finished her hair and makeup at the house that was hosting the pre-party. This also happened to be the same family that hosted the pre-party for Stephen a couple of times so we knew they'd have a good yard for photos.
We went out into the backyard and watched as everyone started filtering in. The girls were all beautiful in their sparkly dresses, sky high shoes and false eyelashes (that was the one thing Nikki was sad to miss out on by not getting her makeup done). The boys all looked very handsome as well in their new suites and bright ties. Immediately they all started grouping up and mixing and matching for photos. Here are a few:
Nikki and Cassie (the family that hosted)
Alex and Nikki doing the flower exchange
Maddie, Cassie, Jillian, Nikki & Jenny
They looked beautiful! By now everyone had arrived and had taken plenty of photos. We tried to take some full group shots, but I didn't get any worth posting. There were 17 couples and all of their families. It was way too many people in one place. So the party bus was at the curb and they loaded up and headed out.
They drove the bus from Upland down to BJ's Restaurant in Chino Hills. They wanted to have plenty of time to enjoy the bus. From there, they went to Damien High School for the dance. After, one of the boys invited them all to go hang out at his house. Finally about 2 am a group of girls headed to Jenny's and they crashed there for a few hours. Nikki had a soccer game at 11:40 the next day so she couldn't hang around long. All in all it was a great night and one that I hope she will have fond memories of when she's old, like me :)
We somehow made it through another Homecoming! I'm finally admitting that it's just way harder with daughters and dances than it'll ever be with sons.
First a follow up to the dress. We went the weekend after shopping in LA to Fashion Island. We went into Bloomingdales and within 20 minutes, she'd found the dress she really wanted. She went in knowing if we didn't find what she was looking for, she would have to wear the dress from LA. She said she'd just felt pressured to buy something while we were there and really didn't like that dress. So it was a real win to find the one she loved at Bloomingdales. And it was on sale so we ended up with two dresses for the price of one. Scored!
Back to Homecoming day. She now had her dress, jewelry, shoes, nails done and appointments for hair and makeup. So the day should've been a breeze right? Hmm not so much. Her hair appointment was for 2:15 and makeup for 3:45. We got to her hair appointment a little early and surprisingly her good friend was in the chair having her hair done. Neither of them knew they were going to the same place. When it was Nikki's turn, she showed the girl the picture of what she wanted. She was also very clear and said if you can't do it exactly like this, I will just wear it down. The girl confirmed that it wasn't a problem. She also knew what time we had to be out of there for makeup. So at 3:30 when she was still not even close to being done, I stepped outside to call the makeup place to let them know she was going to be about 15 minutes late. Well lo and behold, they didn't have her scheduled for makeup! What?! After a few minutes on the phone, the lady told me she'd call me back after talking to the stylist. Now at this point Nikki's hair was just about wrapped up. When the stylist asked Nikki if it was good, Nikki paused. She finally told her that no, it wasn't loose enough. That was the most important part of the style, that it remained very soft. So the stylist said it wasn't a problem, she'd fix it. So she pulled a few pieces out and tried to get more softness. Finally at 4:00 we walked out of the salon. No sooner did we turn the corner, Nikki burst into tears saying how much she hated it. She said it was nothing like she wanted. Unfortunately I had to agree with her that it didn't look anything like her photo. In fact it looked almost identical to her friends hair that had been there before her. I got the feeling it was the only updo the stylist does.
You can see here, she is just about to burst into tears. So we get into the car to start to head up to her makeup appointment when I realize they never called her back. I call them back and am put on hold. After being on hold for over 5 minutes we decide that it's never going to work. Even if they got her right in, people were supposed to meet at her friends house for pictures at 4:30 and it was 4:00 already. So I dropped her at that friends house, ran home got her makeup, dress, etc and headed back over there. The mom was working on Nikki's hair while I helped her get her makeup done. It was nothing like the relaxing, happy day I had planned for her to have, but in the end we got it all done and she looked beautiful.
I know that kids all develop at different rates and am trying to help guide all three of ours through the teenage years as best I can. The problem comes when I am not quite sure how I feel about what I'm trying to guide them through. In this instance, it's dating.
Stephen transferred into public school in 8th grade. He had his first girlfriend soon after being surrounded with all of these new kids. It was short lived and cute. Then he entered an all boys high school and didn't worry himself over girls, which was fine with us. By his junior year, he was widening his circle of girl friends and more easily able to date since he was driving. So he had a few girlfriends and we didn't think much about it. We knew he'd go off to college and hopefully someday find the girl of his dreams.
With Nikki, it's been a little different. A boy asked her to "go out" in 6th grade. She'd said yes, but then the kids at that point we're into holding hands or hugging each other goodbye. She wasn't comfortable with that, so I told her it was always okay to blame me and say that she wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend. That day, she went to school and took care of business and wrote off boys for awhile. Now that she's sixteen, I've pondered the thought of her dating again. I mean, I'd really be fine if she wasn't ready to date until she went to college. The problem comes in when you haven't had any experience dating, and then are thrown into a pool of sharks. Not that all guys are sharks but I feel like it'd be like going from 0-100 in the blink of an eye and I think I'd rather her start now and learn slowly. I think this thought has been coming up for me because I have a few friends that are LDS. They have a tradition (and I'm not exactly sure on the specifics) that they are not allowed to date until they are sixteen. But at sixteen, they start dating. From what I understand, the boys have to call up one of the girls from their ward and take them out on a date. In my opinion, you date someone to help you figure out what you're looking for in a spouse someday. If you don't date many different types of people, you won't have anything to base your choice on. Now these dates they go on are very casual, but they are getting great practice. From asking the girl out and the girl accepting, to learning how to converse with the opposite sex. I absolutely love this idea. Problem is, we aren't LDS. I think it would be weird for me to call up one of my friends with a son and ask them to have their son take my daughter out on a date. Who knows maybe I could start a new trend.
After sitting here writing this, it has become more clear to me. I don't want any of my kids having that boyfriend/girlfriend that is all encompassing at this point. I don't want them to forget their friends, or spend every waking moment together. I do want them to appreciate the opposite sex, feel comfortable and learn slowly what they are looking for in the future. Now just to figure out how to get that for them?
Nikki and her friends were bound and determined to all go to Homecoming together this year. Last year, Nikki went with a boy from the water polo team. It was a fun group, but not her closest friends. So this year, they plotted and worked trying to be sure each girl had a date. Not only a date, but one that would be accepting of going with the girls group of friends.
Last week Nikki and a few of her friends asked us moms to take them into LA to go dress shopping. At that point not one of the three girls had even been asked to go to the dance. They all assured us that they had verbal confirmations, but the "official asking" had just not been done yet.
Nikki had planned to go with Alex. Now Alex had sort of liked her back in freshman year. In fact he was going to ask her to Homecoming then. But at the time, we decided she was getting too nervous about a dance and told her she couldn't go. In the meantime, Alex has had a girlfriend (or two) and Nikki has moved on. So this year when I started hearing his name come up, I thought it would be interesting to see if it worked out.
Turns out it did work out, although not how he'd planned. He'd bought her a soccer ball (because they both play) and was going to bring it to practice with some flowers with the word "Homecoming?" written on the ball. Thursday night when he'd planned to ask her, she came home sick after school and didn't go to practice. So he ended up having to come to our house and ask her here. I think that was way tougher on him than doing it at the soccer practice. So I give him big points for doing it alone here.
So the deed was done and we were able to go into LA to shop the next day with two of her friends and their moms. We had a ton of fun, although who knew how exhausting it was! We shopped for over 5 hours and Nikki couldn't find a dress. The other two girls both had found one, so the pressure was on. Finally Nikki settled on one that she was happy with. We made a last stop for jewelry and at 4:00 finally headed out to get some LUNCH! We were all starving and exhausted, but our mission was complete.
It really wasn't the dress she was looking for, but it looked cute on so she went for it. Now she's wanting to go this weekend to local stores to see if she can find the one she couldn't find in LA. Luckily we don't have any plans this weekend, so we'll see what comes of this.