Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Levi's Big Birthday Extravaganza Blog! - November 14, 2007

(For more pictures of all the fun, please go to:


Levi has had an interesting 25 years on earth. But for this quarter-of-a-century birthday, we didn't do anything huge.

So this year, for his 26th, I decided to throw him the birthday of a quarter century. I planned a three day extravaganza consisting of a tour of the Kennedy Space Center, including lunch with an Astronaut and a NASA Up-Close tour, followed by a dinner at a really nice resturant. Then the next day, another birthday dinner with friends, followed by a surprise bowling party! Then, (the piece de resistance) later in the month, we would go see the Shuttle Discovery Launch live!

So first, we spent the day of his birthday at the Kennedy Space Center, where we had lunch with a real-life (albeit retired) astronaut! We got to hear him speak about his experiences flying in space, then ask him questions of our own. Levi asked "What is the biggest problem with the space shuttle and space flight today?" and he replied that the lack of funding and public and political support. We even stayed after to speak with him personally and he said he had spent some vacation time in Saipan! (The tiny island in the Pacific where Levi's family live!)

We toured the facility and saw got to see, among other fascinating nerdy things, like the crawler and mobile launch pad, the Shuttle Discovery on the launch pad. We got to see everything pretty close up too... after all, it WAS the NASA Up-Close tour... The Apollo Center was full of amazing historical information, and including a real Saturn rocket, which was larger than life! After the Space Center, we went to the Astronaut Hall of Fame which actually had a walk of fame featuring all sorts of famous Astronauts and simulators, like one that simulated the earliest orbiters, which Levi sat in. (Please see the pictures to experience all the fun...)

That night, we went to a really nice stake house, Salt Island Chop House. The service was the slowest on the planet, but in a way it was nice, becuase we got to spend some quality time together. (And quality time with our dirty plates too, since they took forever to clear the table...) The coolest part of the dinner, though, was the FREE steak he got just for it being his birthday! So his Mom did all the work, and he gets a free steak... hmmmm... birthdays never really made sense to me like that. Oh well.

The next night, we went to Spice, a really nice steak house (sensing a pattern here?) on Park Ave, a really nice are around Winter Park. Then, as nonchalantly as possible, we said we all wanted to go bowling. He didn't suspect a thing, even when we walked in and saw the first of the surprise party guests! (He just thought it was a coincidence or something! haha) Eventually, when all of his friends ended up there, he caught on... and we bowled the night away!

A few weeks later, as promised, we went to see the Space Shuttle Discovery launch. And not only did we get to see the launch, but we got a fully coordinated tour (all over again...) of the Kennedy Space Center, AND THEN we got to see the launch from the CLOSEST point that the public can view from.... six miles away. But it was plently close enough. Apparently, shortly after a launch, a dangerous cloud of gas forms around the launch area of hydrochloric acid and floats around, so no one can really get that close. Oh, that, and the million degrees of heat I'm sure that those rockets give off when they're firing. The launch was absolutly overwhelming and beautiful. All you could think about watching it was all the history of the space program, how far we've come, and how far we are going to go in the future.

So all in all, Levi's 26th birthday went off without a hitch!

Now, I'm not really sure how I'm going to top this next year.... *sigh...*


At 8:15 PM, Blogger The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

We're not a small island nation; we're a large ocean one.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger ML said...

Don't worry Selena, his dad and I were treated to a candlelight steak dinner by the hospital--glad you two had fun!

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