Saturday, December 01, 2007

Misc Pictures

Ok, I hope you have gotten your fill of pictures. This is the last round for this week! Enjoy!

Eating and Playing in a Box

Here are some fun shots of Collier's introduction to solid foods....messy, yet fun! And then we dumped his toy box out one night to play and decided to put him in it. He has fun for a few minutes and then got aggravated and was ready to get out!

Rickett Family Weiner Roast

Every year, in the late Fall when it is cool enough to hover around a fire, the Rickett family has their annual weiner roast. We go to Poppy's and Gram's house, build a big bonfire and roast hotdogs and make s'mores. Then we just sit around the fire and chat. It was a perfectly cool and clear night for it. While there, we found some photo opportunities for Collier!

5 Months!

November came and so did Collier's 5-month birthday. He is putting everything in his mouth, sitting up very well and is eating lots of carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. He does not like green beans or green peas. He refuses to eat them! He also rolls over onto his tummy and then back over to his back. He is growing big time!

In the pictures below, Collier is in an outfit his Mimi purchased for him!


Robbie's Mom and Sister made Collier's lion costume for Halloween this year. He was the cutest lion ever! Of course we had to go see Aunt Kristen who just happened to be dressed in her costume for work that day!


I know! I know! What is the purpose of having a blog if you never update it? WHERE ARE NEW PICTURES OF COLLIER? I hear you loud and clear! Please forgive me for the delay!

OK...strap yourself in because here comes a barrage of pictures that cover the time period from our last posting to the present!

Here are Collier's 4-month pictures from October.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Collier is sitting up!

Collier sat up for about 1 minute on his own yesterday! He is also very close to turning over. He has is 4 month check-up last week. He is 15 lbs, 4.6 oz and 26 1/2 inches long. He is doing very well. He got his first head cold last week and is still coughing a little, but he is a trooper!

We had his 4 month pictures taken yesterday. Click Here to view them.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Robbie and I had the privilege of getting away to Niagara Falls this past weekend. We left Collier with Robbie's parents and off we went! We had a great time and it was refreshing as it was just the 2 of us. If you are new parents or soon to be or even if your kids are much older than Collier, it is a must that you invest some time in your marriage. It is so easy to get lost in the everyday events of your kids and neglect your marriage. Robbie and I needed this time to ourselves and I praise God that we had the opportunity to do so.

We flew in a helicoper over the falls, rode the Maid of the Mist boat that took us right up to the very falls themselves and then we saw Cirque Niagara...all of it just awesome! We stayed at the Hilton on the falls and had a view of the falls from our room. They light the falls each night and it was cool to see the different colors. Friday night, they had fireworks over the falls.

Here are some photos we wish to share with you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Here Is The Latest From The Rhodes Home!

Collier is trying to sit up! He has laughed out loud a few times and we are trying to get him to count in Spanish and French! LOL...Yes, he is too young for that. But we are having so much fun with him. He will be 4 months old on 9/23! Just amazing! Check out the latest pictures below!

Click Here to see the slide show if it is not working automatically below.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Collier--3 Months Old!

As of August 23, Collier is now 3 months old! He is 12 lbs 13 oz and 24 1/5 inches long! He found his hands for the first time this week. He looks at them as he moves them all around. He is also bringing his hands to mid-line, meaning he is purposefully bringing them together. He smiles and chatters constantly! The pictures below are him sitting in his bumbo and his first baseball game!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Collier is 2 months old as of July 23, 2007

Time goes by too fast. Can't believe Collier is 2 months old!
He had his 2 month checkup today. He is 10 lbs and 7 ounces & 23 1/2 inches long!
Ok, I hear you, enough of the chit, chat and on to the pictures!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Awesome Milestone & New Pictures!

Last night, Collier slept a full 7 hours! Praise you God! He ate and 9:30pm last night and did not get up until 5:30am this morning. Lets hope this is the beginning of a great thing!!

Here are some new snapshots! Collier will be 8 weeks old this Wednesday.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

1 month pictures

We went to a local photography and had some professional pictures made for Collier's 1 month birthday! Here is the link and they are only available for viewing for the next 9 days.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dad Gets Collier to Church; dressed and on-time!

Robbie was on call this weekend, yet this was the first Sunday to take Collier to Sunday School where everyone could see him (Collier's first trip to Church was on Father's Day).

Everyone oooo'd and ahhhhh'd and then turned to ask me where Robbie's was? I said she is at the hospital rounding on patients and they were shocked that I could get him feed, dressed and to Church on-time! I am like, "what do you mean?" But no one really answered my question.

So for all you dads out there, hear what I have to say....despite what the world my think, WE can get our kids up, feed, bathed, dressed and to Church all on our own if necessary and we can get them there in one piece and on-time!

We are taught that the mom's are the nurturers; but I am here to tell you that DADs can choose to nuture too! So Dads, go out there and prove the world wrong! Make it happen!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Collier Is 1 Month Old!

The one thing I keep hearing from parents is that time really goes by, cherish every moment that you have because they go by too fast. So here we are! Collier has been here for 1 month as of 6/23/07. See the pictures we took of him. He is growing big time!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Collier Is Now Legal! :)

Our adoption was finalized in the courts on Tuesday, June 12. It was an awesome day standing before the judge telling him that we wanted Collier to be a part of our family. And then we went to lawyer's office for our final celebration with Abba Adoption. It was just awesome and emotional. We had the privilege of having our family there to celebrate with us! Praise you God for Collier!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New Court Date Scheduled

We are scheduled to be in court on Tuesday, June 12 at 9am to finalize Collier's adoption!


First Bath Submerged in Water

Now that Collier's cord has fallen off, we can now give him baths in his little bath tub. As you see below, we soaked him from head to toe! He did not like it at first, but then began to calm down and enjoy the experience. We video taped the whole thing to use against him when he is a teenager! :)

Robbie wants to take Collier's picture each month with his animals so that we can see how big he is growing. He is posing here in his crib with his animals and his soft blanket.

We are privileged to have my mom here this week to hang out with us. As you can see, not only have we worn Collier out, but mom as well! They are both snoozing on the floor and I got this picture of them both!

In another note, Collier spent his first day out with Dad, Mom and Mimi, shopping and running errands. It was a full day! It was good to see that he could hang with us. This gives me hope for his ability to shop with Mom and Dad in Branson!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Court date postponed

The court needs additional paperwork on the birth mom, therefore Thursday's court date has been postponed. We will keep you posted!


Monday, June 04, 2007

The Feeling is Back!

On our way home from Sheridan this past Saturday night, I notice while driving that there was no numbness in my hands! I looked over to Robbie and said, "Guess What!?!?!" Nearly 3 months after my carpal tunnel surgeries, the feeling in my fingers is back! Another high-5 to God!


Collier Is Here To Stay--Birth Mom Waiting Period Ends

Praise God! We are thrilled to tell you that Collier is now a permanent part of the Rhodes household! The 10-day waiting period ended at 4:30pm TODAY! Robbie and I had a private celebration here at home...I cooked dinner, make a yummy dessert and we just praised God! Collier woke up towards the end...he too was ready to eat and wanted to join in the praise!

Our court date to finalize the adoption is schedule for Thursday, June 7 at 2:30pm. It will be an awesome time as we legalize our adoption!

Please join us in giving thanks to our God from whom all blessing flow!


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Collier is doing just fine!

Collier had his 1 week checkup with his Peditrician. He has gained above his birth weight and is 1/2" longer. Everything checked out and he is doing very well. Everyone keeps asking if we are getting any sleep and I have to tell them YES! He is an awesome baby...we are using Baby Wise techniques and he is adjusting very well. He sleeps when he needs to and does what every newborn, pee, poop! LOL

He made his first road trip to Sheridan yesterday to see Grams and Poppy. He got passed around and loved every minute of it!

The 10 day adoption waiting period ends tomorrow at 4:30. He will officially be ours at that point! We praise God in anticipation of that time!!

In the mean-time, here are some pics for your viewing pleasure!


Saturday, June 02, 2007

New Post coming this afternoon!

Many of you are enjoying our blog and we just praise God for your encouraging comments concerning this blessed boy God has placed into our lives.

I promise more pictures and a new post this afternoon. Right now, I am going outside to mow this jungle I call a yard! :)


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Collier's numbers are normal!

Collier's red blood cell count and bilirubin numbers are normal. We praise God for this! Thank you for your prayers!

Robbie and I had a conference call with our birth mom this afternoon. She is doing well. She has grown attached to Robbie and I and I could hear her tears as we hung up the phone. Continue to pray for her and her future.


Monday, May 28, 2007

More Pictures of Collier!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

We Are Home!!

We got home from the hospital yesterday at 7pm!! We are so happy to be home and we Praise God for this blessing.

As you know, Collier's red blood count has been high. He was on IV fluids and we were giving him lots of formula to get the count down. We thought we were headed down and the doctor let us begin the process of taking him off the IV on Friday. He was off the IV by Friday evening because he was eating so well. So Saturday morning, they did a blood test and his count was 3 points higher! :( The doctor told us that he may have to go back on IV fluids and that meant staying another 2 days. So he scheduled another blood test at noon on Saturday and that test would tell us if we were going home or staying.

The test was completed and his count went down 3 points. Hurray! The doctor was comfortable with allowing Collier to leave and so were we.

Within seconds of the doctor leaving our feeding room, I called the adoption agency to let them know we were being discharged and as I was on the phone, the nurse came in to tell us that our adoption agency had contacted her to ask that we get copies of certain documents before we left. I was still on the phone with the agency (the directory of Abba Adoption) and she was telling me that we would be leaving the hospital within the hour. It seems that the birth mom's aunt (who is a trouble-maker) was telling the birth mom that she was coming to get her out of the home she was staying in and they were also going up to the hospital to see the baby. The Directory of Abba wanted us to leave ASAP in case this drama played out. So within the hour, we were on our way home! :)

We later learned that the Aunt indeed had contacted our birth mom and the birth mom immediately called her coordinator at Abba to seek advice. Abba has assured us that our birth mom is still 100% on-board with this adoption and all is good! I don't believe this aunt will be any threat to this adoption!

We got home and there was our family and friends in the front yard with cameras and camcorders, waving, smiling, laughing and cheering! IT WAS JUST AWESOME! What an awesome scene to come home to. And we have this tall stork in our yard with Collier's birth info on it. It is just as cool as it can be!!

Robbie and I want to thank all of you for your prayers, gifts, love, emails, phone calls, and visits. We love all of you and we are soooooo blessed by your love! Come by and see Collier!

More pics coming soon...but now, it is feeding time agan! :)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Day 2 of Life Outside the Womb

Today was very intensive! The first part of the day was filled with anxiety as we wanted to do all we could for the birth mom, yet we wanted to be with Collier. We spent 3/4 of the day with the birth mom; waiting on her discharge from the hospital and saying our final good-byes. It is very hard to describe in words, but needless to say, it was 4:30 pm before we could get back to Collier and this time, WE were the parents. The birth mom was discharged from the hospital and we were no longer having to walk a fine line between adoptive parents vs biological mother. It was awesome to feed, hold and love on Collier as his only parents! Love it!

Collier's red blood count is still a little too high. Therefore, we are not able to leave tomorrow as we had hoped. This is not a serious issue, but it will take a couple more days to get it down to acceptable levels. He is also a difficult eater; it takes some extra effort to get him to suck. But praise God, he took his 6 & 9 pm feedings from a bottle and not a feeding tube!

Even in my tired, blood-shot eye state, I am praising God for all His goodness!

I want to give out a special thanks to our family and "The Gang" for all they have done for us. We could not do this without you! You are the best and we are so humbled by your acts of love and kindness.

Thanks also to all of you who have posted comments. WE ARE READING ALL OF THEM EACH DAY! They are a source of laughter, joy, encouragement and love. We are so grateful to all of you!

Most of all, all thanks, honor and praise to our loving God...from whom ALL blessings flow! We are so undeserving of His love, yet He continues to pour it out on us and we are in awe of HIM.

At the end of the day, this pic says it all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Day of Life Outside The Womb-1

Words cannot tell you the excitement and joy Robbie and I have in our hearts. Despite the fact that the adrenaline is wearing off and physical tiredness is setting in, we are still on cloud 100!

Because of privacy issues, we are unable to go into the details of Collier's is an interesting tale. Ask us about it and we will give you the details in person...but we can testify to the greatness and goodness of God!

Robbie and I are administrators. We plan things. And God in His great power decided our plans where worthless and He, of course, executed His own. I told Robbie on the way to Ft. Smith that God is so cool to make this so fun. Our plans would have been fun, but His plans were over the top with fun and excitement!

~God's timing is perfect!
~God's humor is fun and hilarious!
~God's plans are perfect and beyond anything we could ever dream up!
~God's grace is always more than sufficient!
~God's love is beyond any words I could use to describe it and so much more than I will ever deserve.

We are parents today because God chose to give us this special opportunity. Now we pray that we will demonstrate God's love through our obedience to Him and that Collier will realize his need for a savior early in his life!

We love all of you so much and are blessed by your encouragement and prayers. Please enjoy another set of pics below. We will see you soon!

Love--Russ & Robbie

Collier IS HERE!!!

Collier was born this morning at 2:45 am. He is 5 lbs 15 oz and 19 inches long. He was born at St Edwards in Ft. Smith. He will be in the hospital until Friday. See the pictures below!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Birth Mom's Latest OB-GYN Visit

We got a call from our adoption coordinator concerning the Birth Mom's doctor visit on Wednesday (May 16). Everything is great. No weight gain and baby Collier is doing just great! Our next appointment is next Wednesday. Robbie and I will travel to Ft. Smith to have lunch and attend the visit with our Birth Mom.

Thank you for your continued prayers!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Baby Room Theme

Robbie and I have decided the theme of Collier's room will be biplanes. The center piece of this theme will be a 16x20 frame biplane print with Collier's full name and birth day. See the pic below!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Amazing Week!

This past week just flew by and was amazing!
  • I taught my first cooking class at our local Williams Sonoma. It was a lot of fun and believe I wow'd the pants off the General Manager. I had 10 people attending my class and we just had a blast. I look forward to the monthly classes!
  • Mary Twedt from Arkansas Cooks came to our house and interviewed me for her radio program on NPR. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to the new business that will come from the exposure. My interview should be on 89.1 FM in 2 weeks, Saturday at noon.
  • Chefs USA called me and offered me a job doing monthly cooking demos at our new Fresh Market store in Little Rock. I agreed and look forward to using this to market my personal chef business.
  • Robbie's mom finished the curtains for the baby's room. Check out the pictures below.
  • We had the privilege of chatting over the phone with our birth mom today. She is doing well! She told us she has been experiencing some pain....I guess Collier is getting ready to appear. Her next doctor's appt is this coming Wednesday. We will get a new report then!
  • I had the privilege of being with my mom today, celebrating Mother's Day. I cooked lunch and gave her a webcam for her computer so she can see Collier anytime she wants!


Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

Sunday, May 06, 2007

We are registered!

Many of you have asked where we have registered. We spent this afternoon doing just that at Target.

Go to!


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Baby Room Painting Complete

Robbie and I have completed the painting of the baby room. We are especially proud of the checker-board behind the crib. It adds clean lines to the room and a little bit of flare! Collier will love the colors!! :)


Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

And the names are.....

Robbie and I made our final decisions on names today while traveling to Ft. Smith:

Boy: Collier Zachary Rhodes
Girl: Brooklyn Grace Rhodes

This is fun!


Working on the nursery!

I am sitting here in the nursery working on this blog post. We have completely painted the room and I just finished putting the crib together.

Robbie is taping off squares on one wall...we are going to paint a checker-board on that wall. The crib will be up against this wall. I will take pictures of it and post them when it is complete.

It is cool to sit here; looking around the room; thinking about all the time that will be spent here; sleeping, eating, pooping, peeing, dreaming, playing, hoping, a little boy asking Jesus to be his Savior!


Just an awesome day!!

We made a trip to Ft. Smith today to meet the birth mom. We were nervous; not wanting to say the wrong thing, yet hoping to ask the right questions and give the right amount of encouragement. So, we prayed! We asked God to give us the ability to honor and glorify Him with our words, deeds and actions. And guess what? In God-like fashion, He did just that. The meeting was a great success and we are so thankful we relied on the Holy Spirit to guide our speech and actions.

It was great to finally meet our birth mom. We had a great lunch. We talked; she asked questions and we asked questions. We laughed, we cried, we hit it off! She gave us 2 ultra-sound pictures of the baby and we gave her a monogrammed bath robe.

After lunch, we went to Old Navy where she bought some clothes. From Old Navy, we went to her doctor's appointment. All is good..her blood sugar is good, her blood pressure is good and she did not gain any weight since her last visit. She is working very hard to eat healthfully, drinking lots of water and walking every day for exercise.

From there, we went to where she is staying during her pregnancy. We got a tour and it was an awesome place.

We believe this was an awesome visit. We know we made a good impression as much as she made a good impression on us!

Praise, honor and glory to our God; from whom all blessing flow!


Monday, April 30, 2007

The Joke is, "The Baby needs...."

Robbie and I made the pilgrimage to Babies-R-Us in Memphis. Nothing but a big store full of every baby toy/tool/trinket ever invented. It was overwhelming, fun, and budget busting all at once! We also went to the Carter's Outlet in Tunica. Well, yes, you can't go to Tunica without dropping at least 2 quarters into the slot machine...did we win, well NO! But baby needs a new.....!

We came up with this running joke to find ways to buy stuff for us...we would say, "The baby needs...(fill in the blank). The baby needs a new car...get my meaning? LOL I guess you had to be there.

Take a look at what we picked up:

Travel System

Playard (pack N play)

Painted Nursery/Phone call with birth mom

Today was a fun day! We got 3/4 of the nursery painted! The colors look fabulous! We also had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with the adoption agency and the birth mom. It was a short conversation, but mainly it was done to decide where we will meet for lunch this coming Wednesday. We will drive to Ft. Smith, have lunch with the birth mom and go with her to her doctor's appt.

Robbie and I are very excited about meeting her!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Specifics of Adoption Match

Here is more information concerning the birth mom we have matched with.

She is 22. Her family is very supportive of her decision!

She was shown several scrapbook portfolios and after looking through ours, she clutched it to her chest and said, "This is MY family!" We took this as a confirmation from God that she is the mom we have been praying for.

The doctors claim we are having a boy, based on an ultra-sound....but we will be prepared if a girl arrives.

We will be meeting with her a week from today (next Wednesday) as we go with her to her next doctor's appointment. Pray that our meeting will go well!


Baby Room Construction Has Begun!!

Robbie and I went on a hunt this afternoon to find fabric for curtains and bedding. We started at a local store and went through the whole store collecting samples. I found some things that I liked, but nothing that just WOW'd me...nothing that popped when you looked at it. If you know me, you know that I don't think long about something. If I like it, it is grab it and go. It I don't, dump it and go. The key word here is GO! LOL

Anyway I turned around and saw this bolt of fabric leaning against the wall near the front door. We had walked right past it. I gasped and said, there it is! Robbie came over to where I was standing and fully agreed with was it...we had found exactly what we were looking for and at the first stop. See the pics below. It is awesome! This fabric will be the curtains, bed bumper and a blanket. See pic below!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Adoption News!


We are having a baby!!! We believe we are having a boy and he is due on June 3! That gives us only 6 weeks to get ready. We are so excited, yet very overwhelmed (in a good way), nervous, and wondering if we really can be parents? We called our families and friends and they all were so excited and supportive. We are so blessed to have such great family and friends. This child will have such a great support base! Thank you God for your perfect timing and for all that you do for us; we are so undeserving of Your love and grace.

We will keep you posted! I promise to do a much better job on this blog stuff! :)


Surgeries Done!

Both hands have been operated on for carpal tunnel syndrome! The right hand was done 6 weeks ago and my left almost 2 weeks ago. Now it is on for physical therapy! I am glad they are done! Thank you so much for your prayers. I love all of you!!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Surgery To Make The Pain Go Away!

Since leaving my IT job and taking on my new career as a personal chef, my hands have turned against me. I have very bad carpal tunnel in both hands. I went to my doctor; he sent me to physical therapy. After 2 weeks of PT, my hands got a little better, but not enough to get rid of the 24/7 numbness. Then I was sent off for nerve testing. Ok, if you have never had a nerve test conducted, you have missed out! It was like the neurologist was taking a live electrical cord and sticking it to my arm. I was lying on the table wondering how in the world they could learn anything from electrocuting my arms! It was very painful, yet very enlightening. The tests proved that I have carpal tunnel of a 70 year old farmer. I was like, "WHAT?" But I am a 39 year old can it be that bad. The Doctor said she had not seen it this bad in years. I asked for a prize...I mean, I should get something for this!

In short, I have surgery in a week on my right hand and then 2 weeks later on the left. I will be unable to use each hand for 3 weeks. Yes, a chef with no hands....should be very interesting!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Tribute To Hazel Anderson (Nunny as we called her)

Robbie's Grandmother (Nunny) died this past Friday (Dec 29, 2006). She was 97, but most importantly, she was a believer in Christ. She died in her sleep.

On Thursday, the day before her death, I had the privilege of spending the day with her in her hospital room. It was just the two of us most of the day. We prayed, sang, held hands and we even watched some Star Trek DVDs together. Around 3pm that last day, she began to groan in pain. I began talking and praying with her. She opened her eyes and looked straight at me for more than 20 minutes. I have no idea if she knew who I was. I was trying to comfort her and also talk with her one more time. I had her drinking water from a spoon, trying to moisten her very dry mouth. She continued to moan and I knew she needed something to take away the pain, but I also knew the meds would put her to sleep. I asked nurse Linda to give her a dose of morphine. Within 30 minutes, she was back to sleep. It was the last time I got to see her eyes; to talk one on one with her. I thank God for that precious 20 minutes. You see, I may not have been her grandson by blood, but to me, she was just as much my Grandmother as anyone elses.

She spent many holidays with me, even spending the night at my house last Christmas. I got to hear many of her recertations (stories) and most of all, I got to see her love for Christ!

Nunny, thank you for allowing me the privilege of knowing you for 13 years. I will miss your humor, your recertations, your political prowess and your faithful to our God. You were a blessing to me and my family and I praise God that I will get to see you again! I love you!