Brooke’s Birthday Bonfire – 17 years old – where have the years gone?

Brooke and Gabby Shopping Birthday Party

One of the many benefits of having a daughter old enough to drive is that you can send her on lots of errands and she doesn’t mind one bit.  This weekend her list of errands Included purchasing many of the items needed for her own birthday party!  Honestly, who knows better what SHE wants at her party than she does!  I think it was a win win!  Brooke and a couple of her good friends (Brooke and Gabby pictured above) drove all over the peninsula to purchase bonfire birthday party supplies, with a list created by a mother who knows very little about bonfires, but loves to make s’mores over an open campfire!  Yep, you guessed it – We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores which was a big hit (to me anyway)!

About a week ago Brooke told me she wanted to have a bonfire birthday party.  I know that bonfires are the “thing” high school students do these days and I love nature, so I said sure.  Last Thursday, as in 2 days before the party, we began making plans.  Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done (planning a party two days before the event).

Brooke had a fabulous idea to have her party at a Newport News Park shelter!  I started looking into the possibility and realized shelters were only available from sun-up to sun-down.  NEWSFLASH:  You can’t experience the true ambiance of a bonfire in daylight.  I was suddenly reminded of visiting a good friend at the campgrounds located next to the Park.  So I made a call and Brooke and I took a trip to the Newport News campgrounds Thursday evening to “pick” the perfect party site!  After driving around all campsites located on the water, we picked the PERFECT PARTY spot!  Invitations were created and plans were in the works!


As you might expect, teenagers aren’t always concerned about preparation and mine are no exception.  After having a pretty horrendous meltdown earlier this week, I was bound and determined NOT TO STRESS OUT!  Long story short, we didn’t arrive at our party location until AFTER it was dark, which was another not-so-bright moment on my part.  In the event you’ve never tried to “set up” a party in the dark, it’s NOT EASY by any stretch of the imagination.  As a matter of fact, it’s nearly impossible!  We did the best we could and I think everything turned out just fine.  While Brooke’s best friends were there, I can honestly say WE had a BLAST!  (At least I did!)  So much so, I’m planning to purchase a fire pit for our yard!  I want to make campfires (and s’mores) a regular occurrence around our home for the next few years!

Brookes Party My Car

Kristina and her friends join me on the journey to Newport News Park (in the dark)

Brookes Party Table

The first picture I took upon arrival at the PARTY SITE! (notice it’s a little dark!)

Brookes Party Darkness

Brookes Party Neighbors

Pictured above were our closest neighbors.  They appeared to be TRUE CAMPING EXPERTS!


Party Preparations Begin!

Brookes Party Balloons

Brooke found GLOW IN THE DARK balloons!  HOW COOL IS THAT!?!?!?!?!

Brookes Party Decorators

The Party Decorating Committee (Appointed upon arrival at the Party Site!)


The first is built (Brooke and Gabby built the first themselves)!  I was SO PROUD!


My attempt to photography myself roasting marshmallows.  The best I could do, although a little blurry.

Lesson Learned:  Do not allow your children to invite everyone they know – turns out the Park has pretty strict rules and regulations (although no one told me).  Everything turned out perfectly fine, but it was a little questionable for a minute or two.


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