Why would you need notches in the 1 x 2. It's just used for spacers between the 2x2 balusters. On the job site you can clamp/screw a guide bar to the base of your circular saw. This guide bar can be made from a scrap piece of pine wood. Once the guide is set to the correct dimension and depth you cut down the length of the 2x4 on both sides. Remove the guide and then make several passes down the middle of the cuts to remove the center portion of the wood. A wood chisel will take care of the rest of it and final clean out. Now it's just a matter of cutting the one 1x2 to the correct length to act as spacers. see drawing below. (Please excuse how bad it is.)
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