Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not Enough Blogging From Here

So you should just check out my daughter's blog.

Our little girl has decided to do her own blogging now. She says it's mostly for her friends but I guess that's why one starts blogging.

I guess I'm sort of her "editor" so I've just created a blog under my user account but she's going to take care of all the content.

Her new blog is here:


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Everything's Big in Texas

Our time in Texas was a whirlwind of shopping and eating as you'd expect from a Vidal family vacation.

We got to explore San Antonio for a bit, remembering the Alamo ( and the San Marcos outlet shops! ) and all that. But, we spent our days in Mcallen bonding with the huge extended family we have over there. It just felt like our own version of Canday-ong Road just got transplanted in the heart of South Texas!

We discovered the joys of Taco Palenque, Klondike Bars and Church's Chicken; the retail madness that is Sam's Club, Walmart and Best Buy; and the endless choices in HEB. We spent a weekend getting sunburnt at Schlitterbahn and enjoying the quintessential American road trip to Corpus Christi and back.

What we thoroughly enjoyed the most though was the company of family. The connections and relationships that you miss in the intervening years.

Can't wait to see you guys again hpefully next year!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

US Trip 2010

We had the best time in the US. It was the first time for the kids to visit and our first as a family and we were just so excited to go.

We left a cold Adelaide first and arrived in Sydney airport. We only had a little over an hour get through Sydney airport domestic terminal, ride a bus to the international terminal, then through immigration and to the boarding gate. This was the connection I was anxious about and in the end we had probably 15 minutes to spare before they opened up the gate for boarding.

We got to ride on Qantas' Airbus A380, the largest plane in the world as they say. It was impressive on the outside and inside they did have new amenities we have not tried before like touch screen and widescreen consoles. All four of us got to sit together in the center aisle so no window seet but at least we sat together.

The A380 was nice and new, however, in terms of space, even though it may have looked large on the outside, the seat configuration still felt like every other international flight we've been on and no real improvement in terms of room. Bear in mind, we were only in economy and Qantas had a whole new section called premium economy which boasts a few more centimeters of space per seat I think.

The on-board entertainment was nice, with all content on-demand like games, TV shows and movies. There was even a view of the outside through a camera mounted on the plane's tail and you can view the outside as if you were riding on top of the plane!

Good as the system was, we also had a few issues with it. One of our consoles froze 3 hours into the flight as it was trying to load a game. Repeated attempts by the airline attendants to get the console reset came to no avail and we resigned ourselves to just having to share the 3 other consoles for the remainder of the 15 hour flight. We figured we would be sleeping most of the time anyway so hope not to be missing much. The staff were apologetic and they did try to make it up with a $100 gift voucher for duty free.

When it came to the meals it wasn't too bad in economy. What we didn't get though were child meals for the kids. We're not sure if it was our travel agent forgetting to book child meals or Qantas not getting our booking but it would have been nice to have the child meals set up. We've never had a problem on Singapore airlines and we sometimes the child meals are better than the adult meals!

Anyway after the meals and a sleep the Qantas crew were able to reset the consoles. They had to do a group reset across a few rows in order to fix the problem and they only got this done probably with 5 hours left on the flight. Still, that was good anyway so were all able to experience the entertainment on board anyway.

We arrived in LAX morning local time and as expected the line through immigration and security checks was a monster! We got through fine anyway and collected our bags in no time at all. Now, we had 5 hours until our next connecting flight to San Antonio, Texas and we thought we had time to kill at LAX. I tried looking for our next flight and this was where we had a little "fun".

Our booking had Terminal 8 as our next connecting flight but turns out LAX appeared to only go up to Terminal 7. I tried to work out which airline we were supposed to go and figured out that what we thought was the connecting airline operated out of Terminal 1. After walking around a bit trying to figure out which shuttle to take, we finally made it to Terminal 1 only to be told that the actual airline that were connecting to did actually operate out of Terminal 7! It turns out that Terminal 8 was accessed through Terminal 7 so we had to ride another shuttle all the way back.

This makes me come out with my favourite quip: "We're not lost kids, I know where we're going, I just don't know how to get there!"

At any rate, we finally made it to the counter and after checking in and passing through another security check we made it to the gate with a couple of hours to spare. So it looked like that 5 hour layover was useful after all.

We waited for a bit, had a meal and finally got on the 3 hour plane ride to San Antonio. We arrived in San Antonio past 7PM in the evening with the whole Vidal clan waiting. Good thing they figured out where to wait because I totally forgot to give them our itinerary! All's well that ends well though as it was great for us to see all their smiling faces as we stepped into the arrivals area of the airport.

Despite San Antonio being a good 4 to 5 hour drive from where home is in Texas, they all drove up to meet us! My sister even caught a plane because she had stuff to finish up just so we can be together in San Antonio for the rest of that weekend! I am quite thankful for that.

So, finally after a few years, we were one complete family again!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I know I have been neglecting this blog of ours for a long time now and I'm hoping this change of layout would be sort of a fresh start. Will see..

Anyway, speaking of restart, after 3 weeks of holiday time in America, we've just got back and slowly getting used to real life all over again. Right now I'm battling jet-lag going into the weekend but looking forward to getting back on track.

It was a great great time over there and we've missed the family so much. It was so good to have the siblings and parents around us again and hoping we get to see each other real soon.

In the meantime, I've still importing all the pictures into iPhoto and will be posting them real soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Playground Review: Lightsview Park

This is our daughter's attempt at a review of our local playgrounds. Enjoy!

Bianca' s Playground Review

Where: Lightsview ,the one with the purple slide
Stability (1 to ten) = 3
Fun-o-Meter (1 to ten) = 7
Height = High
View = great
Age 6+

This playground has 2 spider webs. The first one has good shape and has a double slide. The second web is a great place to hang out with. The web seats is the best place to hang out with your friends, just remember that the webs are not recommended for people who don't have sneakers.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Year With the Wii Fit

We bought the Wii and the Wii Fit game last year. I wasn't exactly expecting much, nor was I really thinking about drastic weight loss but I did actually thought I could see some improvement in my ongoing weight challenges. I guess I'm just one of those people who get easily sucked into new technology and what it could do. I was also attracted to the Wii's visual style and seeing stats up on the big screen.

Starting out, the first few months on the wii fit didn't really live to expectations. I tried my best to give at least 30 minutes a day on the machine but I could still see my weight just go up and down and fluctuate. It didn't help that it was leading into the Christmas season and we all know what a help to the diet that is.

Anyway, I soon realised that just having 30 minutes or more on the Wii fit a day wasn't cutting it. Of course, the Wii Fit software did have helpful reminders about overeating and snacking and the effect it could do to attempts at weight loss but those words on the screen didn't really drive in the concept so much as the numbers did. The first 3 months on the Wii Fit saw me actually gain a kilo or two despite the time I was spending on it. I could actually see it on the graphs on-screen.

This was then I decided to add a bit more to my routine. I dusted off the excercise bike and started biking again. First for 5 minutes, then gradually built it up to 10, then 15 then 20 minutes a day. I also kept up my time on the Wii Fit, doing at least 30 minutes on the cardio workouts.

This was when I started on fixing my meals and portion control. I've come to realise that excercise and diet had to work together. Who knew!

So, I started having more oatmeal for breakfast and salads for lunch and eating the right amount of food. It took me a while to get used to the concept that one doesn't have to be really full for every meal.

I got into walking during my lunch breaks at work, at least 20 minutes a day in the beginning and slowly building it up to 30 to 40 minutes a day. I still kept up with using the Wii Fit and checking my weight daily.

It was fine for me to see how the changes I made translate into the graphs. I could see how a big meal would show a weight gain and how much work I had to do to get it down again. It was almost a simple equation: eat less, move more.

Before I knew it, I lost a kilo here and there. In two months, I lost 10 kilos just by building up my routine.

I started seeing the fat turn into flab so I started doing sit ups and push ups hoping to tone up the skin around my waist and arms.

The next few months showed my weight loss rate decrease as my body adjusted to the changes. I kept at my routine for the most part although I have to admit I soon was using the Wii Fit as just a way to keep track of my weight through the charts and graphs. I stopped doing the 30 minutes a day on the Wii Fit and concentrated instead on the biking and walking.

I now have lost 20 kilos since I started. I lost over 10 inches from my waist line as well.

The funny thing is I don't feel especially healthier but I guess the gradual changes haven't made me notice. I still can't run for more than two minutes without gasping for breath so I'm starting to work on my fitness in that way.

I have controlled my blood sugar and cholesterol as my last tests shown I'm in the normal range for the first time in a long time.

We recently came across old videos of me from almost 7 years ago and the kids could hardly belive their eyes, me neither! I also had this picture of me and the girl from last year and how I look today. I can see the difference now and I hope I am able to maintain this for as long as I can. I don't want to be one of those cautionary tales of drastic weight loss and gain!

Last year...


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Blogging Hiatus

I have totally been neglecting our blog in favour of Facebook status updates. I don't know whether to be sad about it. Oh well, I guess it was inevitable but I still do want to maintain this blog of ours to keep writing in the long form.

At any rate, I do know I have to revisit this blog sometime soon. I just need to to inspire my writing side.