Thanks for everyone's input...
to answer one question posed....she weighs about 145 lbs.
We went to a second ski shop today shopping around. After speaking with the saleswoman for a few minutes, she actually flat out said that she suggested we consider season long rentals. She walked us out of the store and down the hallway to the rental shop. The ski season here in Northeastern United States won't start for 2 months or so.
The ski tech there said that he had been working in ski shops for 12 years, and talked us into a season rental for boots for my 7 year old (the big seller there was the boot brand/model was nearly identical to the boot we were about to buy at the last shop), and a season rental for my wife.
The big seller for the season rental for my wife was that they would adjust the ski as her skills improved. She only went skiing 3X's last year, so she is a total newbie. They suggested that she start out with a slightly short for her height/weight ski, and then once she becomes comfortable, come back and they would exchange it for a longer ski/adjust the tension on her bindings upwards if need be.
Also, they have 3 brands/styles of boots to choose from, and would also let us switch around. We rented skis by the day all 3 times last year, from different resorts or slopeside rental shops. 2 of the boots really bothered her, and one of them didn't. She's greatly concerned about the boot bothering her and she likes the idea of being able to bring them back and trying a different pair if they're uncomfortable (so am I!).
We picked up a new helmet for my 7 year old, and also got her a season rental on her boots too (instead of buying a whole new package like we were planning). We held off on new skis for her. The "correct" size ski for her right now that they had in stock was a 107 or 110. She has 100's from last year, and we're going to give using them again a shot.
For my wife, we still haven't decided yet on renting Vs. buying, but I think we're leaning towards renting now. It'd give us a much lower point of entry dollar wise, and give her a year to figure out what she likes and doesn't like. Hopefully, then, at the end of this season, we just go and buy a quality pair of skis for her that she likes!