Sunday, December 27, 2009

Get yours too!

Bible Reading Plans for the New Year!

Allen and I read through one together last year and it blessed our socks off! Doing it together was fun, and always gave us something to talk about as well. Once I heard a few other people were doing it, it was great because we could discuss what we were learning through the scriptures, too.

Justin Taylor had a blog post last year with many different Bible reading plans to choose from. Last year we read the ESV Bible Reading Plan and this year we are going to try the Discipleship Journal Plan (with catch-up days), which will work nicely if you fall behind or if you want to research something more fully on the "off" days.

So, don't delay! Go choose yours! I highly recommend it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours...

Thanks for reading updates of our family and joining us in this journey of life. We are blessed to walk through it with you and with a Savior who loved us enough to come to earth as a baby and rescue us from our sin. We are overwhelmed by His goodness and grace toward us as we consider what we really deserved, death. But He who is infinitely holy showed His infinite love to us who are infinitely sinful and instead of giving us the infinite punishment that we deserve, He gave us His infinite grace. What an amazing thing! REJOICE!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beckett's Birthday

A slideshow from my birthday boy's party...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Beckett's Second
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Funny Photo Friday

Check out this photo taken of my family.

Never has there been a sillier family photo.

The bad and good news of it all:

Bad news: Not one picture was taken where we were ALL looking and smiling (not including Easton).

The Good News: They are pretty talented Photoshoppers and we ended up with a great one of all of us with my family.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life Group Christmas Party Pics

This must be the week for pictures...I have more coming from Beckett's little birthday get-together and also, the funniest family photo. You'll want to see this.

But, for now, here are the pictures from our Tacky Christmas Sweater Party with the Newcomer Life Group. Enjoy! This was so fun!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Christmas Party
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beckett is 2!

I am awed and astounded that my little boy is 2 years old today.

Sweet Beckett,

Two amazing years ago I had no idea what it would be like to raise a little boy.

I went into the hospital anticipating the blue that was going to enter into our world. The balls and bugs and dirt that would become a part of pink everyday life. I was worried I wouldn't know what to do. Anticipating that I would fall short of what a "boy mom" should and could be able to do.

Two years later and I can't imagine not having my little boy. I now have two boys! Double doses of the joys of boyhood are heading my way. I have already experienced the independence that has marked your second year of life. Part of thinking about this year in regards to the way you have grown and changed makes me want to cry and the other part makes me want to rejoice. I cry because your independence has made you need me less and less. You rely on no one fully. You do whatever you need to do and like to play on your own a lot of the time. You only cuddle before bed. Any other time I am blessed to be able to give you a hug in passing.

But, oh do I relish those cuddles before bed. I still rock you and sing your hymn to you, "How Great Thou Art." I rejoice in how great the Lord is and how great His blessings are to me, especially you, sweet Buddy!

I am overjoyed and praise God for the evidences of His grace that I see in your life. I praise Him that you are independent. You still hardly notice Easton. That's great! That means there is no jealousy to speak of. When you do notice him, you are very loving toward him and I can see that you are going to be a great big brother and example for him.

You are a great playmate to your Sissy, Taylor Joy. The two of you play together often and get along very well. You share with Sissy and the two of you make a great team (Word Girl and Captain Huggieface to the rescue!). I love the way that you use your imagination to play together. It is a blessing and joy to watch as you interact and I think of the wonderful friendship that is being built between you two.

You are a wonderful son, so lovable, such a fun personality. You are quite the character and life around the Duty home would not be the same without you.
We pray everyday for your salvation...that the Lord would draw your heart and grant you faith and repentance in Him. We'll continue to pray, holding fast to His promises and continuing to shepherd and teach you. We love you today and always, Beckett!

Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Couple of Weeks Worth of Pictures

Just a few pictures from the past couple of weeks...

Taylor Joy and her G-pa (Allen's dad)

a little sibling love... and Dinosaur Tales

Allen and Easton at the Christmas Tree Farm

With my family at the farm

On the hayride...

Little helpers watching Papa cut down the tree...

"Easy E" (as we call him) in the Bumbo

A girl who loves to swing...

The smiliest baby I know... Did I mention he made the 4 month mark a couple of weeks ago? So not cool that I missed blogging about it! I'll make up for that later...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In case you thought...

I was done talking about Advent, I'm not.

I wanted to share an Advent Calendar that my friend Sarah and I came up with to do with our MOPS group. It is really simple. Really.

We made it out of a placemat that I found at Bed Bath and Beyond. We purchased an awl at Home Depot and ribbons at Hobby Lobby. Each calendar will need either one roll of Christmas ribbon or 2 rolls of regular ribbon. Choose one that is thin and soft (grosgrain wasn't the easiest...)

So, supplies:

1 placemat
1 awl
1-2 rolls of ribbon
kid's needle (one with a big eye)
Advent scriptures formatted into a square, printed and cut

Steps to make your placemat Advent calendar:

It's never too late to make this now... or save it until next year. But, it really won't take you longer than an hour.

1. Poke holes into the placemat with an awl. Measure and mark 4 dots across and 6 dots down. Then poke 2 holes per dot that you marked. This way there is a hole for your ribbon to go through and one for it to come out. So, you will have punched 48 holes.

2. Thread ribbon through the needle and through the placemat, with the loose ends coming out of the front. Do this 23 more times. (or more reasonably, do it 5 times, take a break, 5 more, get some coffee, 5 more play with kids, and then only 8 are left). My hands hurt a bit after doing this!

3. Print and cut out your formatted Advent scriptures/lessons and roll them up like a scroll. Tie them inside of the ribbons on your calendar and make cute little bows.

Here are the "preschool" Advent pieces we used on this calendar. We have 2 Advent calendars and this one has been way more suitable for Beckett and possibly Taylor Joy, as well. We let each Christmas story fact build on the other so we talk about all that we have already learned each day up to that point, in hopes that by Christmas they will be able to tell us the whole story of Jesus' birth and the way it all went down.

I know you either are or aren't doing Advent this year already, but I just wanted to go ahead and pass this along for those who have asked what we do with our littler kids during Advent.

Happy Advent to you!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

One Snowy Night

Much to our surprise, we experienced SNOW on Friday. Not a ton (in the slightest), but flurries still make us happy. We played outside and then sent Allen to go get some wood to throw on the fire. Add in some homemade hot chocolate, graham cracker house decorating and good friends and you've got a night to remember.

Here are some pics:

Can you guess which one is Beckett's?

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