Winter Formal rung in December back on the first.

 Grace looked as radiant as ever.

So did all these beautiful girls:

 …and boys too.

Well, maybe more handsome than beautiful, but there’s something awesome to me about a bunch of teenagers dressing up and being all formal with such good manners and cell phones mostly tucked away for an evening.

Loved it.

 Grace graciously offered for us to host the dinner…

…for twenty at our home. (Winter Formal is girls’ choice.)

So that was fun.  Ha!  But really, it was great. Grace and her friends helped a ton on the set-up and all the other moms brought delicious food.

We had these tables all set up outside first but decided it was too cold so we brought them in.

Which led me to worry more about weather on the upcoming wedding night…but that’s a post for another day.

Let’s back up to the getting-ready prep.  Elle’s friend helped her (and a ton of other girls) with make-up because she’s pretty good at it!  Here she is waiting for her turn painting her nails:

Grace did her hair while she was waiting.

 Have I mentioned how jealous I am of Grace’s hair?  Oh boy, it is so beautiful!

Then we headed over to take pictures.  I was the photographer but someone’s mom found a pretty great spot.

 Grace’s date is one of the most kind and mature boys.  Love him.


I keep getting these pangs of heart-sick thinking about that girl leaving me next year.
So the two of us hug a lot.

She’s a good sport 🙂

Meanwhile, guess who joined the dance bandwagon this time around?

Yep, this girl:

 …and all her girlfriends.

We don’t date until we’re 16 in our family so none of my other kids have gone to dances until then.  People in these parts don’t usually go to dances without a date.  But this was a cheer fund raiser, so a lot of Claire’s friends and under-classmen were supposed to go.  One of Claire’s friends had an extra (free) ticket so she decided “why not??”

As you can tell, these girls were pretty excited to dress up all fancy.

And I was so glad my friend took some pictures.

Ok, back to Grace…we raced back after pictures to find all the food had been delivered and we got to feeding all these kids. 

 The girls served up their dates and then they sat and talked and talked.

(I turned down the lights for a little mood effect 🙂

After that that whole crew of twenty kids headed off to a fireside.

Yep, you got that right. A fireside right smack-dab in the middle of the festivities.  Elder Bednar, one of the apostles in our church, happened to be speaking here and our specific congregation of churches (stake) happened to be invited to be there.  On the very same night.  I loved that those kids decided, even in the middle of all the winter formal hoopla, to go listen to that good man.  I’ve got to admit I was a little overcome with that use of free-agency.  They all wanted to go (well, I guess any that didn’t were brought in by peer pressure), and we sure have heard some great things about that fireside.  Mostly with Grace who has brought up some pretty interesting things from that night that have become good discussions ever since that night.  (Parents weren’t invited.  Boo!)

Claire and even Lucy went too (to the fireside).  So grateful for friends who carted those two around while I was on clean-up, photo-downloading duty.  Here’s my friend helping situate all the clean-up (the kids helped too).  Love these kids.

Both of our girls had the “best nights ever.”  At first I think Grace was a little skeptical of her little Freshman sister “crashing the party,” but I those two ended up pretty enamoured by the fact that they got to share that dance in some way.  I love that any high school memory they can make while they have time there together this year is so cherished by them both.  Makes my heart feel heavy with love for sisters and for them.  
Here’s the only picture they sent, and yes it’s blurry, but can you see that love just glowing out of them?  I love it.
They both came home with so many funny/great/crazy stories to tell.
I know I’ve said it before, but high school is the best.


  1. My kids' winter formal was the 1st, too – and I feel the same as you. I love seeing them all dressed up together – so much fun!

    Grace and Claire (and everyone else) looked just beautiful! xo

  2. I love the corsages — does someone make them, or are they available through florists in your area? I live in Colorado, and we can only purchase very boring, very traditional corsages and boutonnieres around here… roses, with a limited selection of colors. But I do like that here in CO kids regularly attend dances without dates — we also do not date until 16, but I've loved that my kids attend some of the dances with large groups of friends. Even those old enough to date sometimes don't get asked to the dances, so it's nice that they can still go with their friends that have dates and it's not weird at all. You are crazy busy… I don't know how you do it!

  3. Grace and Claire looked beautiful! I also love that we live in an area where going to dances (except prom) without a date is the norm. Takes the pressure off and the kids enjoy going with a big group of their friends.

  4. Really confused. Did they go to a church event or a dance and why was there a dinner at your house part of the evening if they were so time crunched? Sometimes you just have to say no to something. There appear to be more than one dance a year. If it’s an important religious person why not just see the person or not? If it’s not a once in ten years event just go to the dance. Eat at 5 at your own house, put a nice dress on and then show up at 7 to the dance and leave at 10 or whatever time is necessary to get home before the city curfew. It’s not complicated.

    1. It wasn't time crunched at all…sorry if I made it sound that way. They started at 3:30 or 4 and it all fit in perfectly. I was actually pretty impressed with the girls' organization and the way they managed everything….all their own choices.

  5. I honestly feel bad about this pressure. Perhaps it would save another mother after reading this from deciding on top of the hoopla of a dance at one location requiring a dress/suit and makeup and hair and photos to have a sit down dinner at someone’s house in a second location and a church event in a third location all on the same evening? Is it a way to keep the church kids together on the day of the dance? Isn’t a dance and the cost or arrangement of the clothing and appearance and finding a date for it and photo shoot enough activity for one night? They have seminary on weekdays, they have three hour church on Sunday. What about the kids not invited or not able to afford the dance going to the church activity only to be reminded they were not able to go. It also seems extravagant. They whole group bought the tickets and the clothes and expense of it only to not be there for part of it. It would be better just to have higher activity fee.

  6. Shawni might reply to my comment that it’s just expected here. Why do so many commentators feel it’s negative when someone comments to keep things simple? Aren’t we supposed to discourage the constant perfection and taking on too many responsibilities? Moms can say no to things that are too much.

    1. Simple is awesome, but you can do simple and still fit in what you think is needed. That's what these girls did this night and I think it's pretty great! They had plenty of time at each thing (they just started earlier this time around, which didn't stress anyone out). Perhaps if this was your daughter and her friends maybe they would do it differently but this is just a record of how it worked here.

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