Our Trip to The St. Louis Zoo 2015

IMG_3934This summer I have Friday’s off work. So yesterday we decided it would be a great day to spend a few hours at the zoo. We got up extra early and got the kids ready to get there right when the zoo opens. The first hour the zoo is open everything that usually costs money is free, such as the children’s petting zoo, the carousel, sting rays, and I believe a few other areas. The train isn’t free but we knew that going there. Our first stop was the petting zoo to see some goats. After that I can’t name all of the animals we seen, except I wanted to see a black mamba and I totally got to see one.

There were a few areas where the animals weren’t out, such as the many of the apes, monkeys, and gorillas. That’s okay, we still seen plenty of animals for one trip. Since the St. Louis Zoo is free to get in and does not cost to see the majority of the animals, it is a perfect place to visit many times during the year. Abby and Alex had a great time as usual. Although this year Abby was a little more vocal about the 30 degree temperature in the puffin and penguin house.

I took the GoPro with us during our visit and put together a little video of our trip to the zoo. The music is by Coldplay – Sky Full Of Stars (Geek Boy’s Jersey Bootleg). Just a cool mix I thought went well with the footage.


My Little Gym Superstar

IMG_3898 Abby had her final Little Gym class the other day. This class was a special one in where parents can come in and see all of the amazing things that the little gymnasts have learned. Things didn’t start out smoothly though. We pulled into the parking lot and not even 5 seconds after getting out of the car Abby tripped over her own two little feet and went face first into the curb. She received a nice scrape near her eye and one on her leg. She was in tears and I wasn’t sure if Abby would be up for class after the incident. We got her cleaned up and her teacher was right there encouraging Abby to join the rest of the class and show everyone what she can do.

It was awesome. Abby got a big introduction along with all of the other little gymnasts. Then they started with their performance. Abby is only four years old so it wasn’t anything like the Olympics or very advanced. She showed off her skills on the high bar, dancing, balance beam, flips, and more. Parents rotated around the room so we could follow our own kids around snapping pictures and taking video.

IMG_3896After all was said and done the kids were awarded a medal for their great work. The medal was a great way for Abby to forget all about her injury. She was so excited to get a medal that right after she got it and left the podium she ran over to show me. The smile on her face was priceless and I’m positive she will treasure that medal for years to come.

Watching my little girl receive her medal was a very proud moment for this dad. She had only missed one class because she was sick. So she really committed to going to her gym and has listened to her teacher attentively. It makes me feel like she is another step closer to starting school, which is a thing in of itself. My wife and I haven’t discussed what’s next for Abby in regards to activities such as the Little Gym. We had discussed possibly signing her up for something a little more advanced in regards to gymnastics, but we just are not sure yet. We want to see if there is anything else that Abby might want to try out first. Maybe it’s time for soccer or tee ball… Who knows… I’m sure we will be figuring that out soon.


Texting Troubles: What you need to know

This is an excellent guest post written by Donna Fitzgerald. She reached out to St. Louis Dad in hopes of spreading valuable texting and driving information. I asked her if she would be open to write up a guest post for the site and she agreed. Read her story below!

Photo By Matt Lemmon
Photo By Matt Lemmon

Today I wanted to share some of my troubles as a mother raising two difficult teenage daughters. As mostly all that are reading can imagine/relate, dealing with the hormonal changes, and bratty behaviors that accompany raising a teenage son or daughter can often be extremely challenging. I wanted to make a change in my daughter’s lives. I’m sure most will disagree with handing their child a car when they are first able to drive, but I wanted my daughter to grow up in a different manner than I did. I remember struggling to save all my money up to purchase my first car. I never had parents support, or even guidance as to which car would be most suitable for me. This made it extremely difficult to enjoy the simple pleasures of being a teenage girl! I’m hoping that by proving my daughter with a car, right after getting her license, isn’t a mistake! At least the car was inexpensive, and didn’t put too much of a dent in my purse.

One of the most important things parents forget when it comes to their teens, and first having the ability to drive, is warning them of dangers. The most important danger, being texting and driving- or any behavior that distracts them from the road.

Photo by Lord Jim
Photo by Lord Jim

My sixteen year-old daughter is in the age where you basically cannot tell her a single word, without her already “knowing everything” you have to say. Its at this age, that our sons and daughters have the mindset that they can tackle the world, and they know everything there is to know about life. We all know, this is completely false, and very worrisome as a parent.

As I began the distracted driving talk with my daughter, I found that she simply wouldn’t listen to what I had to say, and I could tell she was not processing the information I had to tell her. She seemed as though she had already had this discussion at school in her health class. Though this may be true, I wanted to make sure she was fully aware of how many teenagers are involved in serious accidents as a result of distracted driving. Furthermore, I came to realize how often I actually engaged in the behaviors that I was teaching her. I’ll admit, sometimes I use my phone to text a friend or my sister, right in front of her! I’m sure this is the case for many moms and dads trying to teach their children safe behaviors- our children probably think we are huge hypocrites!

I recently used a resource online, that has helped me learn more about safe behaviors, and how to reinforce them with teens. Ill admit, I’ve taken a few of the suggestions, such as putting my phone away when I’m driving, which I believe is setting a better example for my daughter. It’s important that we as parents, recognize that the problem doesn’t lay just with our teens, but we need to take responsibility for the problem as well.

Be sure to also check out the Q & A section on questions and answers parents commonly ask that come up when discussing distracted driving with their teens.


Let’s Pley LEGO!

IMG_3719Who doesn’t love Lego? There are so many different types of Lego out these days it’s next to impossible to afford every set, unless of course you have an exuberant amount of expendable income. This is where Pley comes in handy. My daughter and I had the opportunity to try out Pley and in turn provide an honest review here at St. Louis Dad.

Abby is all about Lego. She has advanced passed Lego Duplo and has moved on to the Lego Junior, Lego Friends, the easier superhero sets, and some of the small Lego City sets. I told Pley to send me something in that range and within two days we had the Superheroes #76015 Doc Ock Truck Heist in our hands. The set arrived in a really cool Pley box that you can dump the Lego in and sort through all the bricks. The bricks themselves were in a mesh zipper bag all ready to be put together. The instruction book was also included along with a brick separator and a really cool bracelet that you can attach bricks to. Also included was the return bag as well as a pledge card for builders that promises not to lose any pieces and to also take the set apart before sending back for the next builder to enjoy.

A really cool aspect to signing up is that the bracelet, brick separator, and that really cool box are items you get to keep! I was not expecting that. It makes a lot of sense though, the box is very helpful to keep all the bricks together. The separator is super helpful in taking the Lego set apart to send back, and the bracelet is just a great bonus. My daughter loved the bracelet, she put Spider-Man and Doc Ock mini-figs on it and was making a serious fashion statement.

IMG_3730With everything unboxed we dumped the Lego into our box and started making sure all of the pieces were there. We found that we were missing only one piece. A small 1×1 flat green brick. It didn’t stop us from building the truck that Doc Ock intends to heist. It took Abby and I some time to put everything together and once we were done we played with our completed set. After enjoying the truck we decided it was time to take it all apart and see what we could come up with on our own.

After playing for a few days we figured it was time to take everything apart and get it ready to be sent back. Pley provides you with a nice mesh bag to put all the Lego in and then you put the Lego and the instructions in next bag to get sent back to Pley.

Pley is a really unique service. The pricing seems very reasonable. I always thought about how cool it would be to build a Death Star, but the set is expensive. With Pley a Death Star set becomes a real affordable option. Sure you have to send it back when your done but at least you can say, “Yup, I built a Death Star.” The only thing I would say that I don’t like about playing with Lego you do not own is that it’s hard to resist mixing your own Lego in with the set. I suppose you could if you wanted to, but then you better be sure you get all of the right pieces when you send the set back.

Me and Abby, we give Pley two thumbs up!