Little Nugget

This little nugget turned one!
Isn't she just the greatest thing ever?  Yeah, I think so too.  My cousin, Jessica, and Addy moved up to Santa Cruz earlier this year, and has been such a wonderful blessing to the whole family.  Every time we go up north to visit family and friends, we get to see her sweet little face.  She is such a curious and inquisitive little girl.  I love watching her facial expressions as she explores and discovers new things.

Addy and her mama.
Addy loves her grandpa.
Addy and her posse in San Luis Obispo.
Addy at the fair with Jessica, Lizzie, and two men on horseback that she wasn't a huge fan of.

Jessica is such a great mom to her and works so hard to make sure that Addy has everything that she needs.   Happy Birthday Addison!

Getting Excited...

Las Vegas + Halloween = Love. The first year that we went to Las Vegas for Halloween was in 2007.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from this year, but we stayed at the classy Excalibur Resort and Casio with our friends, Sarah and John. Sarah and John dressed up as gold and silver.  Doug and my costumes were far less awesome and not even worth mentioning.  Sarah won $80 at the penny slots, John got kicked off of the Casino gaming floor for having a painted face, and we danced our socks off at a nightclub (Doug and I are dancing machines). 
We have to practice a lot to look this good.
In 2008, we had talked up our previous trip all year. This was all part of our foolproof plan.  By the time Halloween rolled around, we had a few more friends who were desperate to come along with us.  That year, three of us dressed up as characters from Scooby Doo.  The highlight of the trip was when Doug used his "Scooby Snacks" fruit snacks to bribe a bouncer into letting us into a nightclub with a hideously long line.

Doug, Lizzie and Brent as the Scooby Doo gang.

My brother, Jimmy, as a Spartan, me as Daphne, Doug as Shaggy, Sarah as a ladybug, Steve as a Tootsie Roll, Jennifer as a cowgirl and Brent as Freddie.  Oh... and Scooby, of course, as himself.
This was also the year that we discovered the breakfast buffet at Mandalay Bay.  Give us a pile of crab legs, a bowl of butter, and all you can eat dessert, and we are the happiest people alive.

In 2009, we got even classier and stayed 5 people to a room at Hooters Resort and Casino.  Eight of us dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters.

Brent as the Caterpillar, Matt as the King of Hearts, Sarah as the Queen of Hearts, Rachel as the Mushroom, Jennifer as Alice, Mike as the White Rabbit, Lizzie as the Cheshire Cat, and Doug as the Mad Hatter.
Jimmy chose not to participate in the group costume and instead went as a "gay fish."  I think you need to see South Park to understand the reference.

A very happy group after the breakfast buffet.
I think my brother put it best when he said, "As soon as I get off the plane in Las Vegas this year, I am going to explode with happiness."  He is flying all the way from Law School in Virginia, four of our friends from Northern California are flying down, and I am so excited that I can hardly stand it.

My Ride

This spring, I got promoted into a Sales position.  And no, unfortunately, I don't have to go door to door selling any of these treasures.  What I do is use my engineering background to help select a product that best suits my customer's needs. One of the perks of my new position was a company car.  "Car" might be a bit of an understatement.  Meet my beast:
Moving from my nice compact little VW Passat to this monster has been quite an adjustment.  Thank goodness that my company pays for gas and insurance on this bad boy because I can't even imagine how that would affect the budget.  At least weekly, some man that I don't even know will walk up to me at a gas station or in a parking lot and say, "That's an awfully big truck for such a little girl," "I think this car is too big for you," or, my personal favorite,  "You look like a bobble head driving around in that thing." (wuh?) I usually just put my head down, mumble something about it being a company car, and tell myself that they are just trying to make conversation.  Another thing that I never, ever noticed before is the height limits on parking garages and fast food drive-thrus. I always find myself ducking when I drive through them. 

I always thought then when I became a soccer mom, I would want some kind of massive SUV.
And yes, when I become a soccer mom, I intend on keeping my vehicles adorned with fresh flowers at all times.
   Lately, however, I've realized that I am much better suited for something like this**.
Because that definitely won't attract the attention of random men...

**May or may not be  foreshadowing my Halloween costume

Creating a Budget

Confession Time: Doug and I do not track our spending.  At all.  Well, ok maybe that's not 100% true.  From time to time, we glance at our credit card bills to make sure that this website has not put us down for a case of 30.  But since we've been married, we haven't had much concern for our personal finances.  We have lived by a philosophy of, "We make plenty of money, we tithe, we pay our bills, and whatever is left, we stick into our savings account."  Good enough, right?  Lately, we've realized maybe not...

One of our friends at church has a passion for personal finances.  He taught at our Young Adults group a few weeks ago and one of the things he stressed was how important it is to create a budget.  Later that night, Doug and I were reflecting on our backgrounds in Industrial Engineering.  For those of you non-enginerds, Industrial Engineering is improving processes in order to make them more efficient (think: assembly line).  The first step in making a process more efficient is to gather a complete understanding of the process.  This will allow you to figure out where changes can be made.  The same concept can be applied to personal finances.  Proverbs 24:3,4 says, "Through wisdom is an house built; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches." 

And so, Doug and I have started a monthly budget.  At this point, we are not trying to change our spending.  We are simply spending as normal but tracking where the money goes.  Thinking about it now, we have been very foolish to have waited this long.  How will we know if we can give more?  How do we know if it is a wise time to go on a big vacation?  How will our lifestyle change when we have children?  I'm excited to see!
Hopefuly we will stop doing this with our money.

My Third Favorite Holiday

I first started calling things "My second favorite" after I went on a cruise to Alaska with some of my extended family.  One of my cousins (who is now very grown up and probably won't even remember this) reminded her mother every night at dinner that when we stopped at Juneau, she had to buy a tee-shirt there because Juneau was her favorite capital.  After about the third night of this reminder, we got into a discussion about our favorite things.  This led to an even longer discussion about our second favorite things.  The conclusion that we came to:

It is always better to refer to something as your "second favorite."  This allows you to leave the place of honor open without making others think that you are indecisive.

From that point on, I have used this technique.  Of course, you always get those obnoxious people who ask, "but what is your first favorite?"  I ward them off by changing the subject.  But I digress.  My third favorite holiday is Halloween.  More on this later.
The Percival kids on a cruise (fine, this was on a cruise to the Caribbean, not Alaska, but you get the idea) in what I must say is one of the more attractive pictures of us.

Well, here goes.

I first discovered the world of blogs a few months ago when my cousin, Corinne, showed me hers.  It's not that I didn't know they existed; it's just that I didn't realize it could be so entertaining to read about the day to day of other people's lives.  After spending months reading other people's blogs (many whom I don't even know, creepy?), I've decided to start my own. 

Well, here goes.