Posts in Category: Adventures

N + 1 – Specialized Sirrus

N + 1 = Number of bikes you need in your life. Where N is the current number.

This is my Specialized Sirrus. It’s the grocery-getter. The pull the kid down the street bike. The hang out with the family on the bike trail bike. The bike down to the park bike.

Strava says I have a little under 500 miles on this bike which isn’t bad when most rides are between 2-4 miles.

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Rode down to the farmers market with Gray. Pork tacos and a beer made it worth it.

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Tag along bike is a big hit. #graysongram

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My riding partner today.

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Makes me happy to see bikes at the park.

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Took the family for a ride today. #familyselfie

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Ready to go

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Ready to go

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Ready to roll

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Ready to roll

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Half Marathon Report

@mrsshoo and I went away to St. Louis for a weekend. Kid free — we had forgotten what is was like to have an uninterrupted conversation at dinner.

First – we took in a ball game. A really good one. The Cardinals took out the Reds 10-4. We were lucky because the next day the Cardinals didn’t fare as well.

Cards win!

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Then the next morning we did a half marathon. We did the same half marathon almost 4 years ago. The course was different from the previous time, but we really enjoyed it. It crossed over the Martin Luther King Bridge and back over the Eades and around St. Louis.

Below was post ice cream sandwich. That run really sucked the life out of us.

This is what it looks like when you wear your Fitbit on a half marathon day.

This is what your day looks like when you run a half marathon with a Fitbit.

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And to top the weekend off, we saw Alton Brown at the Fox Theatre.

It was a jammed pack weekend.

St. John – The Sites

The Shoo family just got back from the US Virgin Islands. We spent a week with my in-laws, and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. And of course Grayson was along for the trip. Lots of photos and video. Be warned: you’ll wish you would have been there too. I am going to try to break this up into a couple of posts.

Quick facts:

In a not so chronicle recap:


Here’s the motley crew standing in front of Peace Hill windmill. The windmill was built in colonial times and used by Susanaberg sugar plantation. Note: Photo was not taken with a selfie stick or a tripod, but a good ol’ setting the camera up on a rock and setting the timer. #dadskill


Top right corner, multi-million dollar mansions over looking Denis and Hawksnest bay. There used to be a giant Jesus statue built in the 1950s on this hill but it was blown down by a hurricane in 1995.


Over Mr. Grayson’s right shoulder and down below is Denis Bay. Grayson was a lovely little kid on this trip. It was great just spending a week with him.



Mom and daughter. (Lynne and Sarah)


Lynne and Bob.


Bob had a camera this time. It will be interesting to see what he shot.


Looking up at the Peace Hill windmill


This is another windmill at the Annaberg Plantation.





A building on the Annaberg plantation. The hills were all terraced and would have been filled with sugarcane.



The texture of the walls is made of stone and cut coral rock.



This was our “No worries” friend Charles. He offered us sugar cane, “Wakes you up maaan!”  And cut open a coconut so we could drink the water and taste the coconut. The water was excellent. It had a sweet taste with just a hint of the carbonation. Charles told us it would “clean your blooood.” The coconut itself tasted like eating an almond. He handed Grayson the seed pod and told him “make music maan.”

But how could you not resist a kid wearing a Bob Marley t-shirt.


Charles’ very appropriate vehicle.

Don’t you wish you had a coconut? More photos and videos later.






Monticello Railroad Days – 2014

I am sucker for trains. My Grandpa Etter raised me on HO gauge set that took up more than a living room. I get a little excited when I see the BSNF coal train on Rt 104 headed to the power plant. I know what a 2-6-0 wheel arrangement looks like.

Needless to say, I was a little geeked when my father-in-law mentioned going to Monticello for Railroad Days. I hadn’t been in years and I knew Grayson would have a terrific day. In fact, the whole family had a great time.


Grayson was excited from the beginning. We got several “oh boy!” out of him.


First ride out we sat in the cupola of the caboose.


Grayson yelling down to his mom to “be safe.”


Gray was not the best at posing today. A few too many things to do.


The adventure these two have been on.


Talking with the engineer.



Friendliest hobo you ever meet.


“All aboard!”


“Full steam ahead!”



We had a great time today! Make sure to check out the Monticello Railway Museum.

Life updates.

First it was blogging, then it was Facebook, then Twitter, now Instagram. Just easier to take a picture to reflect on where you’re at in the world. So here’s an update and some connotation with the pictures.

Got a new coffee maker. May be just a little geeked. #bunn #coffee

Had a birthday. Got a new coffee maker. Even better, Bunn is a local company which I know a few people employed at. It might be the coffee snob percolating out of me with my locally roasted Custom Cup Coffee, but I believe I can taste the difference. I realized it the other day when I ran out of the good stuff and brewed something that I had sitting around. Not good.

Swing set finally got put together. Someone is enjoying it.

Grayson wanted a swing set. It is the tool that got him potty trained so quick. It took some time over a couple of weekends to put it together even though it arrived mostly assembled. Thanks to Pa-Pa, Bob-Pa, and Uncle David for the help.

Old gray hairs. I feel mine coming soon.

Buddy is my first furball. He reminds me that I’m not getting any younger.

Library night #magicschoolbus

We are big fans of the library. And since we live in one of the donut holes of Springfield, we especially make sure to use our $80 library card.

#hillThere is a @flavius217 down there

I’ve put on some miles on the bike this summer. Of course it’s documented on Strava.

Worst coworker ever. #graysongram

I’ve been working out of my west side office lately. This dude has stopped by a few times. If only I could get him to hit the right keys.

This might be why Grayson is obsessed with #tmnt#tmnt Yup.

As mentioned in previous posts, Grayson is obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Grammy and Bob-Pa have been fueling the fire with related #TMNT paraphernalia and his Uncle Sean’s old turtle collection. It is neat to see him get so geeked about something at such an early age.

Fireman Grayson

I didn’t get to go along on this adventure, but Grayson and Mrs. Shoo went with the Mom’s Club to the Chatham Fire Department. Looks like they had fun.


Magic House

Needing an excuse to get out of the house and cash in a coupon for REI (sports/bike store), I took the family down to the St. Louis Magic House.

I told Grayson before we left that we were going to the Magic House and they have fun things for little boys and girls to do. Without any other explanation you would have thought that I sold him on the funnest thing in the whole-wide-world. The way down he kept repeating “hoooouuusse.” Then we threw it into overdrive by telling him that Sid the Science Kid, a PBS kid’s show for those without small children or PBS, would be at the Magic House. He went bonkers after. “SID! SID! Hooooouuse!”

Grayson and Sid the Science Kid

Luckily we got to meet Sid right away. No tears, got a hug and fist/elbow bump. He thought it was terrific.


We averaged about 20 seconds per activity. It was amazing that I was able to shoot a couple of photos.

That tongue is the source of his determination.

No trip is complete without a photo at the static electricity ball.

What little boy doesn’t love trains?


It was a great day for the whole family. We even made it to REI! A kid is a lot of work, but today was one of those days that just makes everything worth it.

2013 – A Year In Review

2013 was a good year for the Shoo family.


Sarah and I ran a half marathon. My first. Her 2nd. Note: This is from a 10k. When you’re tired and sweaty, you forget to take group photos.

And then Sarah kept running.

And running.

And running.

Still running.

We had an epic vacation to Kauai, Hawaii.

Grayson transformed from a baby to a toddler.


Chris got to be an “aging hipster” (Quoting Mrs Shoo) at Lollapalooza.


Sarah started a video podcast called In A Sknit. And is a state blue ribbon winner.

My dad and I built Grayson a sandbox.

And there were many-many-many bike rides.



Looking forward to 2014, Happy New Year!

Before the broken leg

Before Grayson and I toppled over the front steps we made it out this weekend to Pasfield for a couple runs down the small hill. He loved most of it. Not a fan of going up the hill, but loved going down. Love it even more when mom and dad had a snow ball fight.


We’re blessed every day, but this weekend a little more than usual.

Blessed that the dog broke his toenail cleanly off and only required an antibiotic and some time away from licking his paw.


Blessed that when I was holding Grayson and I slipped off the icy front porch that we weren’t seriously hurt. We did have to take Grayson to the ER after an Xray revealed that he had a fracture in his tibia. We are fortunate that the little guy was a trooper, stayed perfectly still for Xrays, a splint wrapping, and hammed it up with the nurses. Obligatory Tiny Toons, “Hello Nurse.




I will do anything for suckers and stickers.


Grammy and the little guy and his red cast. I’m told he chose red because of Santa Claus. If he’s lucky, he will only be in this thing for a month. On the plus side, it is nice to slow down Grayson for just a little while.

He’s hobbling around and crawling on the floor like GI-Joe. It won’t be long before we hear “clonk, clonk, clonk” of his cast on the floor.

“These things happen” – Grandma Fran.