Thursday, March 24, 2016

Harry Potter Birthday Party

Do you ever have an idea, and think it would be so fun to plan and execute, but then procrastinate way too long to actually have it executed exactly how you wanted it? Yeah, that is basically the story of my life, and definitely the story of this birthday party. Our friend James loves Harry Potter (who doesn't), and I really thought it would be fun to have a Harry Potter party. So we talked to his wife, Kathryn, about throwing a surprise party for him in the theme of Harry Potter. She loved the idea, so we decided that when they went to the Nutcracker, we would sneak into their apartment and decorate. 
Kathryn was in charge of the food, and we were in charge of the decorations/butterbeer. We had pink cake (just like in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Golden Snitches, baby basilisk (lil smokies), and a lot more. 
For decorations, we made wands, had Moaning Myrtle in the toilet, Hogwarts banners, the fat lady, a brick wall for platform 9 3/4, and a lot more. It was a surprise to James to come home to a brick wall outside of his apartment door, but that added to the magic of the night. 
We had a sorting hat, and sorted everyone into their houses. 
Ruby and Adam were Ravenclaw, and James and I were Hufflepuff.
Caitlin, Vivian, and Catherine were Gryffindor, and Amy, Porter, and Kathryn were Slytherin.

Once we were sorted into houses, we had games that we played. The most popular was Quidditch (naturally).
We made Quidditch hoops, and used ping pong balls to see who could get the most goals. We didn't have seekers as part of the team, so there was no Snitch, and definitely no bludgers. 

It got really intense. Hufflepuff ended up winning the house cup. I never thought I would be proud to be a Hufflepuff, but that night I was elated! 
We also had a "Have you Seen this Wizard" sign (Prisoner of Azkaban), which seemed like it would be so easy to construct, but we really ran out of time. 
And of course, we ended the night singing happy birthday to the birthday boy! Such a fun night! We would've had fun even if there wasn't a theme, but it is always fun celebrating together Hogwarts style.

Holiday in the Park

We bought season passes to 6 Flags since there is one super close, and they were super cheap. We have been trying to go once a month in order to really get the best use out of them, and of course, during the holidays they always have fun things happening at 6 Flags.
The 6 Flags in Vallejo is called Discovery Kingdom. It has animals, kids rides, roller coasters, and a lot more. It is a lot different than the 6 Flags in Southern California. But that just means there is more to see at different times of the year. Since it is cold in December, we got to spend time with penguins. When I was young, I loved penguins until I went to the zoo on a class trip. The penguins smelled so bad (like fish and poop) so I decided I didn't like penguins anymore. These penguins totally redeemed the species cause they were so cute. Even though there was a hint of fish and salt water in the air, I didn't mind. Maybe that is a sign of maturity or something.
Since we have season passes, we never feel like we have to do everything at the park, so we pick and choose what we do each time. We decided to ride a few rides we hadn't experienced, and then spend some time exploring different areas decorated with Christmas fun. 
It was really a polygamous day, since neither of our friends husbands could come (studying and football... I think). But it was a really fun day to be at the park. We spent a total of about 4 hours, and then everyone crashed in the car on the way home. Well, everyone except me. I had to stay awake since I was driving, but we were all definitely exhausted. 
Happy Holidays from 6 Flags!!

10 Pins Double Date

I apologize for the poorly lit pictures in this blog post, but I had to post about our great time bowling with Catherine and Tim. There was a Groupon for 2 hours of bowling for only $20, so we snatched it up and convinced our friends to do so too. We made it a competition to see who could be the best bowler. I won overall, but Tim and Catherine were a more consistent couple. 
When I was young, my grandparents tried to teach me proper bowling form, but I was too stubborn to listen. Now I wish I had followed their advice cause I look ridiculous when I bowl. But hey - if the pins fall down, nobody is really too concerned with my sloppy form, right?
Caitlin and Catherine have become like sisters here in Alameda. It is great since I travel for work, and Tim is in dental school, so they have girl time in the evenings when Tim is studying and I'm gone. 
And of course, spending time with Caitlin is my favorite thing on the weekends, so bowling was a great excuse to unleash our competitive sides and knock down some pins. I can't wait for that Groupon to cycle back through so we can go bowling again!  

Hosting Thanksgiving

Since there are now 2 of the 5 kids in Catlin's family live in the Bay, it is only natural that we would spend a big holiday here. In 2015 it was Thanksgiving. Our apartment isn't big, but it is open, so we decided it would be best if we hosted Thanksgiving at our place. And since we were hosting Thanksgiving, that meant that we got to have visitors! 
Visitors are the best excuse to be tourists in the city where you live. We had so much fun taking everyone around and showing off the sites of San Francisco, Oakland, and Alameda. 
The family went into the city to explore the Painted Ladies, Trolly Museum, Chinatown, Ghirardelli Square,  Lombard Street, and Fisherman's Wharf. 
Lindsey's flight got in later in the day, so I stayed back in order to pick her up, and then met up with the in-laws and Caitlin at the Trolly Museum. Everyone else had moved on to see Lombard Street, but we weren't as interested in a steep and curvy hill, so we went to get ice cream instead. A true Hendrickson family outing. 
Ghirardelli Square is great cause they give you a piece of chocolate when you walk into the store, and there are 2 stores there! Plus, if you're as lucky/sneaky as us, you get there when the shifts change and get two chocolates in the same store by exiting and coming back in when the new person starts handing out those delectable little squares. 
Anytime Caitlin and I have gone to Ghirardelli Square, we never buy anything since the portions are huge and the prices are outrageous, but since there were five of us, it justified the purchase of one sundae to share between us all.
After Ghirardelli Square, we stopped by Fisherman's Wharf, smelled the delicious scent of Boudin's sourdough and the street vendors lobster rolls, and decided it was time for us to head back home.
Everyone (except Alan and me) took the ferry over to Alameda so they could see the city and bridges from the water. Alan and I had to drive the van back/pick up my car from the Bart station, so instead of a beautiful ferry ride, we sat in traffic crossing the Bay Bridge. 
Once we got home, the tired kids were not super excited to be cramped in a small apartment for the evening, so we tried to entertain them through coloring books. I may have been more into it than they were. 
The following day was Thanksgiving, and Caitlin went all out on the decorations. 
She made table runners for the occasion, flower arrangements, signage, menus, and even made a pie stand all by herself. 
It turned out beautiful. I'm so lucky to have such a talented wife. 
And the food was amazing too! 
We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, rolls, jello, pies, and much, much more! We were so stuffed by the end of the meal.
And of course, the best part of the day was being able to spend time with the entire family. We are so lucky to have time to all get together. This upcoming year we are excited to do the same on my side of the family. Maybe we can convince them all to come down here for the holiday. :)