Monday, June 25, 2012

Strider ST-3 Balance Bike Review

Nathan was never really interested in pedaling a tricycle. For his first birthday we bought him one of those tricycles that have the handle you can walk behind and push the tricycle. Again, he never used the pedals. Instead, Nathan has always preferred push riding toys like motorcycles and other small ride on toys. He had two favorite motorcycle type ride on/balance bikes but he was beginning to reach their limits. The one in particular he really picked up speed on, there were two wheels close together in the back for a little help balancing.  He would start pushing the bike along and then lift his legs up and cruise down the street/driveway/living room.  With his long legs, I was beginning to worry about his knees getting jammed on the handlebars or the street.

So what was his next step?  A bicycle with training wheels or a bigger balance bike?  One of our neighbors has a little boy who rides a red bike with training wheels and he when he wanted to try Nathan's small balance bike we asked if Nathan wanted to try his big bike.  I was shocked but Nathan wouldn't even get on the bike.  Knowing very well that he only pedaled his tricycle a few times, and most of the time in reverse, I decided to skip the training wheels altogether.

The goal of balance bikes is to help kids develop their sense of balance before learning how to pedal.  I was also attracted to the simplicity of the Strider Balance Bike - no pedals, no chains, no cables, no need to worry about flat/under-inflated tires.

Strider sent Nathan one of their  2012 STRIDER ST-3 No-Pedal Balance Bikes to review in the color of his choice - red, of course, he wouldn't have it any other way!  Now when we are out on our walks and we pass other people (complete strangers), Nathan gets their attention and says, "I got a new red bicycle!  The delivery man gave it to me!!".  Close, Nathan, it was actual the nice folks over at STRIDER Bikes!

Strider Balance Bike 01
I am completely aware that shoes should be worn while riding bicycles  Nathan was on grandma and grandpa's walk way, having a little fun, being a good boy, posing for mama.  At least he agreed to wear his helmet.

We were outside coloring on the driveway with sidewalk chalk when the delivery man arrived with the box containing Nathan's new STRIDER balance bike.  The box itself had a convenient carrying handle and a picture of the balance bike.  Which means Nathan knew immediately what was inside and he insisted we open it immediately.  I was originally going to wait until daddy came home from work but that was not going to work for my eager little boy.  If I didn't open the box, I am sure he would have figured out how to open it himself.

Strider Balance Bike 04
Nathan cannot contain his excitement, "open it, mama!"

Unpacking and assembling the STRIDER ST-3 was easy enough.  I opened the box and took inventory of the following parts while making sure nothing disappeared into the hands of Nathan or Teagan.

Unpacking the STRIDER ST-3 (Diagram from the user manual)
I could've assembled directly from the above diagram but I am an instruction reader.  Regardless, assembly took no more than ten minutes, following instructions and being assisted by children.  As soon as it was assembled, we retrieved Nathan's helmet and took his new bike for test drive.  His first ride was more walking, straddling the bike than cruising, but you have to learn how to walk before you run, and balance before you ride.

Strider Balance Bike 03

So, what do we think of the STRIDER ST-3 Balance Bike?

Well, first impression - we LOVE the COLOR RED!!

The bike is extremely light weight, only 6.4 pounds, which is about half the weight of many other tricycles and pedal bicycles with training wheels.

I like that I never have to worry about putting air in the tires.  They will never go flat and are puncture-proof all-terrain tires.

I can easily adjust the handle bar and seat height with the quick release lever.  Which means Nathan (almost 4 years old) and Teagan (almost 2 years old) can use the same bike.  The bike accommodates riders from 30" to 44" tall (seat height 11' to 16' from the ground) and up to 60 pounds and comes with toddler sized seat and handlebar grips.   And when Nathan outgrows this seat, I can order an Extra-Long Seatpost with Saddle which adjusts from 14" to 19" from the ground.

We really love this bike.  Nathan is still learning how to use it but he is doing great on it.  Exercising his lungs is essential to his overall health and I am thrilled that he is getting a head start on riding a bicycle.  Teagan, on the other hand, will take a little longer because she won't even straddle the bike yet.  We will let Nathan have sole use of it for a while.

I also love how you can customize your STRIDER and join other Strider families on Strider Life, an online community and forum.

Strider Balance Bike 02
He is balancing with his toes of the ground!

Disclosure: We received a balance bike from Strider to review and enjoy, no other compensation was received for this review.  All opinions expressed within this post are my own and not influenced in any way.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

an overpriced watermelon

About a month ago we went to the local Farmer's Market.  Nathan wanted my dad to buy an extremely overpriced watermelon.  Nathan thinks he wants everything when we are shopping even if it just sits on our counter for him to stare at.  But Nathan wanted a huge pay by the pound watermelon so my dad picked one up.

eating watermelon - 01

I probably would have caved to that grin too.

So we return home with Nathan's watermelon and what does Nathan want to do? Play with it of course...

eating watermelon - 02

My dad, a big kid himself, carved Nathan a smiley face and then a bad guy face with a frown because Nathan likes bad guys. Hmpf, Are all little boys obsessed with superheroes, or should I say villains?  You know, for the price of this watermelon, we could have just bought a set of Legos.

But then Nathan surprised us and dove right in, face first into that watermelon.  He has always loved fruit but recently he hasn't been interested in eating much of anything.  This is a sight that just warms my heart.

eating watermelon - 03

Just because

I've been really busy, having fun with these two.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

just beginning

Summer has officially begun. Since neither of the kids are school age, we've been living like it is summer for some time now. Nevertheless I love the real beginning of Summer. It means celebrating my husband's birthday (today!) and the longest day of the year (also today!). I wish every day had this much daylight, makes for enjoyable family runs and visits to the park in the evening when it is not as hot out.

Although today, it is very hot out...91 degrees according to my iPhone (when I typed this earlier). I picked up our badges to the community pool and I've never seen it as crowded as it was today.

I've been on a little blogging hiatus lately, can you tell?

The extra hour of inhaled antibiotics each day sucks up a little my free time, if you can call it free time.

I've got many photos to share but so much going on with clients, Nathan, etc...I can't wait for our anniversary camping trip - 5 days, 4 nights, tent, flashlights, 4th of July fireworks, Lake George, friends, family, wilderness, no cell service. Ok that last part makes me a little bit nervous but I am just beginning to get very excited for some major R&R.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Golf outing tomorrow, rain or shine (hopefully shine)

Nathan's golf outing is tomorrow and I can't believe how it has come together. I can't take any credit for anything besides the T-shirt (friends and family, don't worry there will still be another shirt, you did not miss out - I figured one thing at a time for my sanity), my dad did it all from concept through completion. He had some help from his friends but really if was all him. Thanks dad for all you do for your little buddy, Nathan.

I've got a wicked headache and am nursing T to sleep now. As soon as we finish N's extra long TOBI treatments I'm calling it a night. After tomorrow the never ending list of to do's continues - just the way I like it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Clinic Update

Nathan cultured pseudomonas and MRSA.  Tomorrow we begin TOBI again for the first time since October 2011.  It has been such a long streak of wellness and that makes me happy.  Of course I am never too excited to begin a new cycle of inhaled TOBI because it adds over an hour to Nathan's daily treatments.  It should be an hour on top of the hour he already does but his compressor isn't brand new.  It only works real well and nebulizes medication fast when it is brand new.

One day we will splurge on a Mobilaire 50 psi compressor like this:

But for now we will just keep chugging along with our current compressor.  The one thing I am really not looking forward to is bringing TOBI on our anniversary camping trip to Lake George, what a third wheel.  I was all set to bring Nathan's xopenex puffer and nebulizer for hypertonic saline and do manual CPT in lieu of the Vest which I'm not sure our car power inverter can handle.   On top of keeping our food cold in July weather, we have to worry about our supply of TOBI.  I'm thinking we will be purchasing alot of ice, very often.  And although TOBI just runs itself, it is exhausting just to sit next to the hum of the compressor and I really want to figure out how to bring Nathan's Vest while camping without having to sit in the bathroom with him because that would just stink, literally, and be unnecessary exposure to bacteria. Can't vacation just be easy?

photo dump 6-10-12photo dump 6-10-12 part 2

Thursday, June 7, 2012

CF Clinic

Strawberry Picking 2012-0979 2

Going to update real quick tonight mainly so I don't forget what happened at Nathan's CF check up yesterday.

His previous check up left me frustrated with a two pound weight loss, which I realized was from the switch to whole milk (from pediasure). After that appointment we sacrificed in many departments to buy pediasure for Nathan and it worked. He not only gained those two pounds back but he gained nearly three pounds total in the past three months since his last check up. It is very clear that he needs the pediasure. He is just shy of 40 inches (39.6 inches) and at 35.9 lbs he has a BMI of 16.1. We are very happy that his BMI is in 63-64% since the CF guidelines recommend staying above the 50% for BMI.

Nathan needs to eat solid food but right now is not the time to argue with him. Now that his pediasure was approved as medically necessary by insurance he will get three of those per day, which still leaves him short of fulfilling his caloric needs. Hopefully some solid food will fill that void. Tonight I made him 5 pasta wheels, that is 5 individual no broken wagon wheel pastas each with their own individual piece of butter and some Parmesan cheese for Nathan to sprinkle. He ate 4 pieces willingly and hesitated on the 5th piece. Jay eventually got him to eat the last one, the hesitation was because he didn't like how the butter was positioned on the wagon wheel (it was half falling off the pasta wheel). This is how every meal goes, there is always something wrong with whatever I give him, it is extremely frustrating him.

But halelujah he is doing well!  He has gained weight, he is growing, he looks good, he feels well, his lungs sound great.  He cooperated for his annual chest x-ray which we will not see until his next clinic visit in August.  He willingly lifted his own shirt for the intern to have a listen.  I am loving that he is being such a strong cooperative boy during his clinic visits, even with everyone from his team has to follow infection control protocol for MRSA.  Everyone who comes in contact with Nathan in the clinic must wear gowns and gloves, until he is MRSA free for an entire year.  We will see what happens in this culture.

Keeping all medications the same just adding singulair for allergies.  Always adding prescriptions, never taking away.  At least it is a chewable.


This photo below is from strawberry picking today.  This is how hard Nathan makes me work for a smile in a picture.  Goodness gracious, son, give your mama a smile.

Strawberry Picking 2012-1014 2

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Peter Fiore Art Auction for Nathan

I am excited to share that a very talented and renowned painter is hosting an auction and selling one of his very prized pieces to benefit Nathan.  The auction is live until Sunday June 10th EDT (5 pm PDT - that's ebay time).

Painting Auction for Nathan: "A Winter Morning's Sun", oil/panel, 12x24 inches (approximately 18x30 inches framed)

Nathan is the three year old grandson of my friend Frank. Frank has been taking care of my teeth since I was 20 years old and now I would like to help take care of his grandson Nathan. You see Nathan has Cystic Fibrosis and is in need of various medicines, supplements and a whole array of things a three year old boy should not have to contend with. As you can guess this all costs money and his family needs help. So what I propose is to auction off my painting, A Winter Morning's Sun. It is a 12x24 inch oil painting  on panel and will come with the frame you see in the photo below. It is approximately 18x30 inches with frame. One of my best, I always intended to hold onto this one for my collection, but would now like very much to offer this to help Nathan. All of the proceeds of this sale will go directly to Nathan. Please bid early and often -- let's help put a big smile on this little boy's face.

Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic life threatening genetic disease where thick mucous clogs the lungs, airways, pancreas and other mucous producing organs. This thick mucous increases the risk of infections and decreases the body immune system and the ability to digest and absorb nutrients from food. At this time, there is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, only daily time-consuming and expensive treatments and routine visits to hospitals for tests and in-house treatments and follow-ups.

To learn about Nathan and his family, visit or to learn more about me and my work, visit

A Winter Morning's Sun has been featured on my blog, visit to learn more about the painting and its making.

The retail value of this painting is $4000 however we don't have to necessarily stop there. Let's think big.

peter fiore auction 1

peter fiore auction 3

peter fiore auction 4

peter fiore auction 5

peter fiore auction 6

peter fiore auction 2

We thank you, Peter.  The talent you possess as an artist is surmounted by your kindness and generosity.   We are truly speechless.

Boomer Esiason Memorabilia Auction

Nathan's First Annual Cystic Fibrosis Golf Outing on June 13th is quickly approaching and we are all getting really excited.

Tickets for the dinner and auction are still available at $50 per person.  If you would like to attend the dinner please email me at nathansfight (at) gmail (dot) com to find out where to mail your check.

We have been extremely putting together gifts for auction and also just received a very exciting package from Boomer Esiason who is contributing an autographed NFL Authentic Football, an autographed NFL Jets jersey, and an autographed Boomer Esiason photograph.  We are overjoyed to auction these items off during the dinner and auction of the golf outing on June 13th to benefit the Boomer Esiason Foundation.  All proceeds from these items shall go directly to the Boomer Esiason Foundation, one of our favorite Cystic Fibrosis foundations.  We adore the Boomer Esiason foundation because it's mission and ultimate goal "to free the world of CF; while we wait, we will improve the lives of those who live with the disease".

Inspiring and supporting individuals with Cystic Fibrosis is a very important goal that I share with BEF.  Can you tell why? (smile)

Boomer Esiason Foundation-04

Boomer Esiason Foundation-02

Boomer Esiason Foundation-01

Boomer Esiason Foundation-06

Boomer Esiason Foundation-05

Boomer Esiason Foundation-03

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Potty Training with Flat Diapers

Potty training Nathan is taking MUCH longer than expected.  He will go #1 when we remind him or tell him to go.  He does a potty dance so #1 is pretty easy to stop.  Nathan gets so absorbed in everything he does, whether it be watching TV, playing cars, building Legos, etc. that he doesn't want to take a break.  Training him to go #2 on the toilet is just not happening.

I started sewing some cloth training pants for him to wear to save me from having to buy disposable pull ups.  I have 4 pairs completely finished.  I have about 6 more pairs that I still need to sew leg and waist bands on.  I kept having trouble with my sewing machine which is why it is taking so long.  I realized I need to replace the needle with a ball point needle to sew the stretch material.

Nathan Cloth Trainers 03

Because I have only 4 finished pairs of training pants (two of which I finished yesterday), I have still been putting him in Pampers pull ups.  I will probably have the rest of the trainers done this month but I decided to try a cloth potty training diaper, not a DIY potty trainer.

I purchased a Flip Potty Trainer Shell.  I decided against the kit which comes with 3 organic cotton pads that velcro inside the shell because I have so many extra diaper inserts (most of my all in one diapers came with two inserts so I knew I would figure something out).

The Flip training pants are a one-size potty training system that children can pull-up, pull-down, and parents can snap-off.  The outer shell is made of PUL and the side panels, that completely detach, are made of the same stretchy material used on the bumGenius diapers I use for Teagan.

You can buy the shell alone (I paid $17.95), as a kit with the inserts ($29.95 for one shell and 3 inserts) or you can buy a 3 pack of the organic cotton inserts alone ($17.95).  The kit is actually a very good deal considering you can reuse one cover over and over, just wiping the PUL inside of the shell clean.  But I was determined to do it cheaper and since I just finished the week long flats challenge I started there.  Enter pad folded flat diaper.  The Flip diaper system is meant to work well with prefold diapers so why not pad fold a flat diaper inside.

I used the Gerber flats (that I didn't like as an origami fold for Teagan during the challenge because they were too small and too thing to wrap around her). Since the challenge, the majority of these Gerber flats have been switched over to clean up cloths. With flat laying next to the Flip Trainer Shell, I folded up so that it was as long as the shell, and then folded each side so that the ends meet in the center.

Flip Trainer with Flat Diaper-01

I then folded in half so that the flat was the same width as the shell.

Flip Trainer with Flat Diaper-02

Then I tucked the flat under the flaps of the Flip Trainer not expecting anything from the velcro tabs.

Flip Trainer with Flat Diaper-03

Oddly enough, Velcro loves the birdseye cotton of the flat diaper and fastens nicely to it. I am sure this means wear and tear on the Gerber flats but at a little over a dollar each I am okay with the breakdown over time.

Flip Trainer with Flat Diaper-04

I have been slowly selling some of my lesser used all in one diapers and diaper covers, but now I may slowly destash some of my more loved all in one bumGenius 4.0's and transition to Flip Potty Trainer Shells. Teagan may be more easily potty trained at this point.

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. If you purchase from Kelly's Closet through my affiliate links, I make a small commission which helps me buy diapers for my kids.