High Five is a huge fan of Pluto (the planet, not the dog), and spends a lot of time arguing that it should regain its planet status. So, we were really excited that our drive from Las Vegas, NV to Phoenix, AZ was taking us past the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona where Pluto was first discovered.
The Lowell Observatory was founded by Percival Lowell in 1906 who searched for a ninth planet in our solar system up until he died. After his death the search was continued by Clyde Tombaugh, a young astronomer, who finally found the planet in 1930. Pluto remained an officially recognized planet until 2006 when the International Astronomical Union came out with an agreed upon definition of what a planet is. Unfortunately under this definition Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet or a Kuiper belt object.
Visiting the Lowell Observatory and seeing the telescope that was used to find Pluto was really interesting. We really enjoyed walking the observatory grounds and viewing the various telescopes used to search the night sky. The solar system walk, galaxy walk, and universe walk that are set-up on the grounds are really informative. We especially enjoyed viewing the sun through a solar telescope set-up by an observatory staff member.
After walking the grounds and viewing the sun we headed inside the main building where the kids were able to take part in an interactive exhibit that taught them all about asteroids. They each received an ID badge that they used to complete games and lessons on asteroids. With each completed activity they gained points and increased their “space rank”. The final activity was a quiz which tested their knowledge on everything in the exhibit. While High Five still doesn’t agree that Pluto should have lost its planet status we all agreed that the Lowell Observatory is a wonderful place to visit and learn about astronomy.
We were awoken early this morning under starry skies in Death Valley National Park to a chorus of coyote howls. It was the perfect way to start Halloween. For five of the last six Halloweens we have been on the road and it is always fun to fit that days location and destination into our Halloween festivities. Being in “Death” Valley definitely started this Halloween off on the right foot.
Thanks to our early morning wake up (courtesy of the coyotes) we headed to Zabriskie Point to watch the sun rise. We then put on our Halloween costumes and headed to Las Vegas for a stop-off at two of our favorite Vegas attractions, Ronald’s vegan donut shop and the Pinball Hall of Fame.
Our hippie, werewolf, and super-knight had a blast enjoying amazing vegan donuts and playing some serious pinball. While Ronald’s Donuts didn’t feature any specially decorated Halloween donuts we played plenty of spooky pinball machines including The Adams Family, Monster Bash, and Ghost Busters. All in all it was another howling good Halloween on the road.
As a young fashionista it is hard for me to find people willing to let me make outfits for them and dress them up. Until today. Costco happens to sell human sized bears for only thirty dollars. So after putting one in the cart a couple times we finally broke down and got one. We decided to name it Bruno.
But before we bought Bruno we took into account his size. We figured that he was so big he could fit in human sized clothes. Then today on our way to Costco to by Bruno we made a quick stop at the thrift store. I helped Mom pick out five outfits for him:
- A sports jersey for watching the Olympics and other sporting events.
- A pair of boxer-shorts with polar bears on them for pajamas.
- A business outfit complete vest, undershirt, tie, and hat.
- A casual sweater vest for around the house.
- And a green fleece vest for outdoor excursions.
As soon as we got home I rushed to put Bruno’s new clothes on him. After a little bit of a struggle we tried all the outfits on him. They all fit and I took a picture of him in every single one (which you can see above). As much as I was happy to have Bruno to play with, I was also happy because I finally had someone who never got tired of me dressing them up. I can’t wait till next time we go to the thrift store so I can pick out more outfits for Bruno!
Along with an estimated 3 billion people worldwide, we’re tuning into the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As with previous Olympics, we have our reservations knowing the billions of dollars flowing into the host city do very little to benefit the people who actually live there. In Rio 77,206 people were displaced to make way for the roads, venues, and public transportation lines that the athletes and tourists will use over the 16 days of festivities.
We decided that since we would be watching, Rio would be the focus of our monthly Philanthropy on the Fifth. After some research on charities that make a difference in Rio, we were thoroughly impressed with the BrazilFoundation. Not only does it earn an amazing score of 96.46 from Charity Navigator (the highest we found for any charity with a focus on Brazil), but also donors can choose from a wide variety of projects that are part of their Team Rio campaign that aims “to help create a positive social legacy for the city.”
We hope you’ll join us in choosing from one of the 35 projects helping those in the shadows of the Olympics have a better life once the world stops watching.
With the excitement of our three December birthdays behind us, we thought the time was right to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We made the trip to Victoria to see the movie on the only IMAX 3D theater on the island; thanks to Nana Five who sent us some holiday funds earmarked just for Star Wars!
While not as family-friendly as the other Star Wars films, we definitely had a memorable time feeling like we were right in the middle of the action. Five String prepared a Star Wars inspired mix for the car ride, and we found it got us in a Star Wars frame of mind while driving down. We hope you enjoy it as well either before or after (but probably not during) your own viewing of The Force Awakens 🙂