Our Favorite Photographer

From my mom’s blog…about my sister

Tonight was the 2006 Annual Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet (in Paris, Texas). The guest speaker this year was Congressman Ralph Hall. During the banquet he was presented a gift from the chamber and this year I think it was a very special gift. He was presented a photo taken by Kari & framed by Daniel Framing Studio. After the banquet, we were able to go and have her picture taken with
him. We are really proud, Kari. It is an amazing photo.

Way to go, Kari!

A Nice Day Off(road)

I had the day off from school today, so Laura took this as her day off this week so we could spend it together. On the calendar, it’s Columbus Day, but really, it’s Fair Day. The State Fair gives all the local schools a free ticket per kid and they go and gorge themselves on fried Snickers and funnel cakes. Laura and I went last year and discovered that we are not Fair People. This year I gave my ticket away and we made other plans.

Our friends Gene and Jill told us we could borrow their mountain bikes anytime and today seemed like the perfect occasion. Believe it or not, there are a lot of good trails in DFW and after a conversation with Richard (who bikes pretty regularly) we decided on this one.

This description on the site sums it up pretty well:

You can’t help but think of the scene from “Return of the Jedi” when Luke and Leah are being chased by Stormtroopers on Speeders!! Lots of technical twists and turns, nearly missing (hopefully!) every tree in sight.

The first time through, we were doing pretty good. I went around a pretty sharp turn, narrowly avoided a tree and shouted, “Hard left!” over my shoulder to Laura. Right about that time I heard an expletive and a thud. I quickly stopped my bike, turned around and saw my sweet little wife in a heap on the ground. She was a little banged up, laughing through a few tears, but ready to move on after dusting herself off. I was very impressed! We managed to finish the trail without anymore excitement and found ourselves a nearby Schlotzky’s for lunch.

Before heading home we wanted to try the trail once more and found that we’d learned a lot on our first run. We made it through in about half the time! Laura managed to stay out of the trees’ way and while I didn’t run in to any of them myself, I did have a little bit of a spill. One part of the trail winds up and down through a dry creekbed and you have to split two trees at the apex of each climb. It’s like the snowboarding halfpipe at the Olympics, except with trees at the top…and way smaller, by like, six thousand percent. Feel free to ignore the part about it being smaller. Also, I wasn’t busting out back flips or 360s. The only air I caught was the air beneath my face and the creekbed as I toppled over after running out of momentum before maneuvering myself through the third set of trees. It was a decent fall, I have to give myself credit for that at least. Laura came upon the scene to see me lying at the bottom with a bicycle resting nicely on my legs while I appeared to be trying to revive the creekbed via mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I dusted myself off (took quite a bit longer than it took Laura) and we finished our ride.

It was a great day and thanks to Gene & Jill!

Palo Duro Pictures & More!

As promised, here are a few pictures from our little jaunt out to Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the panhandle with Kristi and Eric. We took the day off Friday and left DFW at around 6:30 in the morning. With the exception of a short pit stop in Wichita Falls, we made it all the way to the small town of Canyon, TX that’s just a few miles from the park. After a delectable Pizza Hut buffet and some admiring of West Texas A&M’s basketball arena (maybe they invited Coach Knight up from Lubbock to throw a chair at the ribbon for the grand opening) we headed on in to the park.

Click the pictures to enlarge.

Our campsite: coupla tents, coupla mountain bikes…quite standard really.

Laura on the first hiking trail of the trip.

A big sky on Juniper Trail

A great lookout in to the canyon from the Triassic Trail on Saturday. We went on a guided tour and learned some pretty interesting things about the park and had a nice morning hike. The best thing about this hike is that we were about five minutes late for the tour and so we were running to catch up. Somehow we took a wrong turn and ended up literally on the face of the cliff climbing up a very steep, very narrow, very overgrown path to get back up to the mesa. When we did arrive back at the top, we had to laugh at ourselves when we discovered that there was a nice little path running very near to the parking lot where we’d just left the car. What’s life without a little adventure?!

Ok, now I’m going to try something new that will be extremely cool if it works. For those of you with Google Earth, download this KML file to your desktop. Double-click it and it should launch Google Earth and take you to a placemark I created that is pointing right at our campsite! (you have to scroll down to the link that says “Click Here to Download”…right click and Save As…I’ll try to find a more convenient file host for future attempts) Hope it works and we hope you’re all well!

Happy Birthday, Laura!!

We just got home from a weekend trek to Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, and with 12 minutes to spare on the 24th here is the Happy Birthday post for Laura! Twenty-seven years old!

Pictures to come! For now…bedtime.

Happy 4th of September!

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It’s got the great vibe of Christmas without the pressure of all that shopping. Well, this 4th of July we had just returned from Zambia and Laura was bed-ridden with a horrible, horrible allergic reaction to the malaria medicine. We’re talkin’ major hives and swelling. It was bad news, and definitely nixed any plans we may have had for enjoying good company and a killer fireworks display.

I had completely forgotten about it until a few weekends ago. We spent Friday night and Saturday in College Station watching the Aggies open up their season with a win over The Citadel. Sunday, after the last service of the evening we took off to Paul & Betty’s lake house on Lake Cypress Springs. We both had Labor Day off and were looking forward to spending a lazy day reading in a hammock or riding bikes.

But, when I walked out of the bedroom bright and early Monday morning, I found that Laura and Betty had done the living room up 4th of July style! What a great surprise!

Foozin’ it up…

Petey Pablo manning the grill

Big Week

It’s been and will be a big week for the Coppell Rheas. Today at church was Promotion Sunday! No, that doesn’t mean that Laura and other staff members got a raise and fancy new titles. It is the Sunday where the kids in Children’s Ministry move up to their new classes! So, the 2 year-old classes get brand new little ones, the 2 year-olds move up to the 3’s, the 3’s move up to the 4’s and the 4’s leave the Adventure Zone for Zone Jr. :( It means a ton of work (recruiting new teachers, preparing parents and volunteers, lining up room assignments) for Laura, so this week has been a busy one for her. But, with two services down, everything seems to be going very well.

As for me, tomorrow is the first day of school which is obviously pretty exciting. I’ve got high hopes and new ideas that I’m looking forward to trying out. I’m sure there will be plenty of stories resulting from the gloriously hilarious failures or inspiring successes that I’ll be sure to share here.

Next week, we’re going to Park City, Utah with our home group thanks to the incredible generosity of Brian & Suzanne (3rd & 4th from left). I’m a little skiddish about missing three days of the second week of school, but something tells me I’ll get over that pretty quickly. When we get back (Wednesday evening), Gene (3rd from right) will have two short days of rest before appearing on Wheel…Of…Fortune!! The show is coming to Dallas for a special “Best Friends” episode and he and a college buddy made the cut (from thousands!). He’s been practicing like crazy and we wish him the best. The show will air in November so we’ll be sure to give another heads up then.

The garden is doing really well! Shaun, Richard and I have been extremely encouraged to see it take off. Not even a week had gone by before the beans and corn sprouted at high percentages (around 95%, seriously). The broccoli, carrots and lettuce are coming up as well. I’ll get pictures on soon. Right now, the batteries are dead and the stupid Energizer rechargie thingy isn’t working. Although, now that I see that I’m using a description like “Energizer rechargie thingy” it makes me wonder if the word stupid has been assigned to the appropriate noun.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ve got to go see if I can outsmart a white whale.