Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Duty's

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All Aboard!

We did a very small party for our little one year old with trains as the theme. Here are pictures below:



I made this cute little happy birthday banner (Pottery Barn inspired) to use for this birthday and future ones too!


I sure had fun making the little train cakes! I felt like a little kid popping on all those Sprees and Hot Tamales!


Beckett with his cake: "What...you want me to eat this thing WHOLE?"


"Alright, I'll give it a try..."


SUCCESS!!!


"Can I wear this thing as a hat?"


All aboard the alphabet train!


"Mommy, I know I'm one now, but can I still have my nap?"


A video I made for Beckett's First Year of life...be forewarned...it's 11 minutes long. But every minute is sweet. I get emotional watching it, but then, I'm the mommy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday, Precious Boy!



Sweet Beckett,

When you were in my tummy, I had hoped you were a girl.

I didn't know what to do with boys. I knew all about ponytails and dolls and tea parties. I love PINK! I didn't want to subject a boy to that.

But, before we even found out for sure you were a boy, I knew. And I was scared.

You popped out like a football player with those big shoulders, all 9 lbs. of you

I saw that dark brown hair and those big blue eyes and wondered, "is he mine?"

But then you cuddled in next to me and made your home there.

You made your home in my heart, sweet boy, like I never imagined was possible.

From the start you made it clear, "this mommy...she's mine."

And I've loved every minute of loving on you, cuddling you, teaching you, nursing you...

I'm saddened that you are turning one, honestly.

I hope you still want to cuddle me and give me big open mouth kisses.

I hope you still let me rock you to sleep and sing your hymn, "How Great Thou Art" to you at night. Every time I sing it I am more in awe of how great and amazing our God is. Somehow looking at your face, singing that song...I become overwhelmed with His goodness. Honestly, I have to commit you to Him often. I frequently have to check my grasp to make sure it's not too tight. You have a way of sneaking into my heart and my thoughts and making me want to grasp your sweetness a little too tightly. I know you're a blessing from Him. There's no way I could have dreamed up something so precious.

I'm glad I have celebrated one year with you.

A year of amazing firsts, like smiles that light up the room, laughs that keep us rolling, smirks that steal our hearts, not to mention, rolling, crawling, sitting, talking, and taking your first steps!

What a precious year it has been. Oh, the things I have learned and the things you and your sister have taught me. I'm convinced they could fill a book! Thank you for teaching me what only you could teach me in the way that only you could.

I love you eons more today than I did a year ago and who EVER thinks that is possible staring at their little newborn?

You are a special boy, Beckett Cole.

Happy Birthday my little man.

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vote for my Snow Bears


Precious Snow Bears


KBTX has a place to upload snow photos and, of course, I would like for you to vote for my cuties if you get a chance! Just click on the little checkbox that says, "Vote as Best"!

If you are scrolling through the pictures you may just find some additional pictures of Beckett with his first snowball as well as the youth group crazy snow fun last night. Vote for those too!

Here are some pictures from last night's fun!




Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Isn't that just SO Texas?

Yesterday I was sweating my pants off at a nasty 77 degrees and 100 percent humidity and today, lo and behold, we opened up the blinds to find this!



Texas has always been ridiculous about this, but really? Allen and I couldn't have been more shocked when we opened the blinds this morning after SEVERAL hours of being up and around the house.

Taylor was very excited about the snow and so we went out to see it. I couldn't handle the cold for too long.



In true Texas style I asked Allen, "Will the roads be icy?" He just laughed at me. Ah, the joys of being a Texan...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

My Helper



The annual bakefest (aka Christmastime gifts and treats) has officially begun in our home. Last year I was 9 months pregnant or had a newborn, attempting to bless every last person in our neighborhood or at our church with goodies.

This year things are going to be very different. Know why? I actually have a helper. This helper isn't eating all the dough this year. Nope. She's not hanging on my legs. Nope. She HELPING! Woo hoo!

We made snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies for the youth volunteers this week and she rolled the dough in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. She made things go much quicker and I am so proud of her. I let her have a little dough and one baked cookie, and reassured her that we were making these to bless others. Usually I have to allow extra time doing something if Taylor will be "helping," but not so this time! I am thrilled!



Here are the recipes in case you're interested:

Snickerdoodles:

1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 C. oil
2 eggs

Mix together. Roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture and bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes. They won't look done when you pull them out. They will look doughy, but they will stiffen up. If you pull them out when they look done, they will be overdone. I'm just warning you. ;)

Chocolate Chip Cake Batter cookies:

Same as above except nix the cinnamon/sugar and add Ghiradelli chocolate chips to the mix. Mmmm...

Here is our birthday boy doing his own "cooking" in the kitchen. Plus, I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of my little cutie.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

First Week of Advent

It's the first week of Advent. Get excited! We decorated the inside of the house this weekend after a wonderful Thanksgiving in Dallas with our families. Taylor Joy keeps saying, "Mommy, Christmas is pretty."

On another note, Advent in the Duty home started yesterday. We are doing the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Since I can't do anything the traditional way, here's how our Advent looks.

Our calendar:




Made out of toilet paper rolls, scrapbook paper, ribbons and cute extras, I made this with my own two hands with love and excitement for the Advent season. I created an advent calendar detailing relevant scriptures, activities to do together and questions to discuss during family worship time. Each day will have it's appropriate page inside of the toilet paper roll. Thanks to all who donated rolls to our cause. Know that lovely pearls of wisdom are being stored in the place where your toilet paper hung. Now that's beautiful.

Our wreath:




Honestly, I just plain didn't like any of the Advent wreaths that I saw. So, I bought this wreath at Michael's and the candleholder as well (for the Christ candle) and then placed them all snugly inside. I decided to buy battery-operated candles for the candles so that Taylor Joy can help "light" them and so that we can leave them on all day.

Here are some scriptures to consider this week, the Prophecy Week:

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Psalm 62:5-6
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved. (KJV)

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful...

Micah 5:2
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Isaiah 11:1-2
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

John 15:4
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Jeremiah 23:5-6
"Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD,
"When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.

"In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness.'"

Ephesians 1:9-12
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Malachi 3:1
"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 42:1, 5-6
Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.

Thus says God the LORD,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it,

"I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations. (NASB)

Isaiah 60:1-3,19-22
"Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

And, our Advent Cheatsheet:

Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

  • The four candles represent the 4,000 years prior to Christ's coming and the four weeks of Advent.
  • The unlighted candles represent the dark ages before Christ's coming.
  • The lighted candles represent Christ, the Light of the World. Each week we light one more candle and that represents the idea that the coming of Christ is closer.
  • The circular form of the wreath symbolizes that God has no beginning and no end.
  • The green of the boughs indicates hope--just as the green of spring indicates new life.
  • The word Advent means the coming of promise.

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