Tessa’s Turnabout

Napa High’s Turnabout (girls-ask-boys) Dance was tonight, and Tessa and I went shopping last week to get her dress. After adamantly refusing to try on anything that wasn’t tart-y enough, she saw this little number and fell in love.

off the rack

Classy, demure, modest even. Shocking.

Even with the Mom Seal of Approval, it’s a rare dress that doesn’t need alteration, at least shortening, for my 4’11” daughter. She also wanted something other than the plain black ribbon at the waist.

We happened upon these satin shoes (color: Merlot) at one of the outlet stores ~ they were the last pair in stock, magically her size, and 75% off original price. Score! Then we scooted over to the fabric shop to buy some satin to match.

yummy shoes + a new sash

Once I re-hemmed the dress (3.5 inches shorter) and added the new belt, this is how it looked:


Tessa’s friend Nick’s parents are famous for their pre-dance gatherings for the kids. Kelly and Craig move big tables and tons of chairs into their family room, decorate in keeping with the dance’s theme (Valentine’s Day this year), and put out a big spread for dinner, so that none of the kids has to pay for a restaurant. Before dinner, all the kids gather in the backyard for photos taken by their parents.

Tessa asked me to contribute a backdrop for the photos. She was vague about what she wanted, so I hatched a grandiose plan to make a helium balloon arch, with a lovely spiral pattern of pink, magenta and red balloons. I then planned to tweak the arch into a heart shape using nylon fishing line.

Such was not to be, unfortunately. The red and magenta balloons ended up looking nearly identical once they were inflated, so I ditched the spiral plan. Then Howard and Craig (my balloon assistants) convinced me that a simple arch was more than sufficient. Since it was nearly time for the kids to arrive, I had to agree. Here’s the result:

it turned out okay, I think

I also had the bright idea of making some props for the kids to hold in the photos, so I made giant (about 14″ across) conversation hearts. I used a heart-shaped plate as a template to cut the hearts out of foam core. Then Tessa and I used acrylic paints to give them the traditional pastel colors. We added the red lettering and voila! Conversation hearts.

they look almost good enough to eat

In case you were wondering, SWAG isn’t a confectionary typo (for S.W.A.K.). Tessa’s friends refer to themselves as the Swag crew. It was a last-minute whim to use that as a heart caption, and naturally, that ended up being the most popular one.

they look so tough (not)

Nick and Tessa

Tessa and BF Justin

matching shoes!

Here’s the whole crew, ready to eat dinner, climb aboard the party bus, and head off to the dance:

Once the kids were on the road, some of the parents stayed for adult beverages and conversation. Kelly and Craig are great hosts, and Howard and I had a great time getting to know some of the other parents better.

Tessa’s back home now. For some reason, she didn’t appreciate that we hauled the balloon arch all the way home and installed it in her bedroom. Go figure.

It’s after midnight, and that means it’s Super Bowl Sunday. I need to rest up so I can give my full attention to all the cool commercials the big game.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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