Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Calvin Ray Dyreng

On the morning of May 19th I called my doctor to make an appointment even though I was scheduled to see him the next day. I had a few reasons to believe I should see him sooner. I had an hour or two before he was able to see me so I packed a hospital bag just in case (I was still 12 days away from my due date). Then I drove the hour to my doctor's office in Payson. Paul was at work in Salt Lake, I told him I would call after I met with the doctor.

When I got to the doctor's office he asked me if had been contracting. I said, "There were a few white knuckled moments while I was driving." He asked me how far apart they were and how long they were lasting. I knew he would want to know this but I had no I idea, I couldn't time and drive. He then told me I was dilated to a 4 and asked me if I was ready to have my baby today. Wait, today?! Seriously! So soon? Now what? I still needed to get shampoo! He suggested I go to the mall and walk around for a bit. If I lived closer he would recommend I go home and get some rest. The first labor tends to be the longest so I should do whatever I could to distract myself and relax. He wished me luck with my afternoon and said he would see me in a few hours. On my way out the receptionist asked me when I needed to schedule my next appointment. I told her I was having my baby today so I did not need to make another appointment.

I called Paul and asked him if he was ready to be a Dad, baby boy was on his way! I was planning on coming home so we could meet up and go from there. I thought I had plenty of time... 10 minutes into my drive I started feeling sick to my stomach, really sick, and I was driving our 'new car'. I quickly pulled over and got out on the side of I-15. A few minutes later I called Paul to tell him I was probably not going to make it home. As we were finishing our conversation a police car pulled over in front of me. The officer got out and asked if everything was alright. I told him I was going into labor with my first child and I had been feeling a little sick. He offered to give me a ride to the hospital or call an ambulance. I told him I was feeling well enough to drive myself. He said he would follow me to the hospital to make sure I got there. We made it even though the officer had to show me where the labor and deliver was since I had not been there. I was planning on touring the hospital the next day. I thanked the officer for his assistance and waited for Paul to show up.

After checking in to the hospital and getting the epidural I was able to relax enough to get some sleep. When I woke up the nurse came in to check my progression. Surprised, she said I was dilated to a 10 and my water had broke. It was time to call the doctor and start pushing. The delivery went smoothly and even though he arrived sooner and faster than we were expecting, I wouldn't have it any other way. Calvin was born at 7:20 pm, weighing 6 lb 14 oz, and was 20 inches long.    

Calvin's First Fishing Trip

Happy Father's Day Paul

We love everything about our sweet Calvin Ray & we are so glad he is part of our family!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Time sure flies when you are having fun! Paul and I are back in the state of Utah. It still feels like we will be returning to our home in Virginia. We had a great time in Virginia experiencing as much as possible in our short time there, even with our busy schedules. We are grateful that Paul was able to attend an outstanding university for his graduate education and that it was in such a beautiful place. We met some wonderful people, had plenty of good times, and caught many a fish in between school and work.
Here are a few photos to summarize our experience.

Virginia Tech Football

The Beautiful Country Side

Paul's Trophy Fish

The Big Snow Storm of 2014

The most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail - McAfee Knob

Burrus Hall, Virginia Tech


Marathon in West Virginia/Kentucky

We will definitely miss the forests!

 Paul is practicing for our new lives - packing a child & fly fishing.

We will miss you Virginia and all you had to offer to us.
Now we are looking forward to the new adventures that are ahead. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


It has been awhile since we have seen this much snow!!!
Did I mention this photo was taken at 13"
We are now over 21"

I wonder what could be under that pile of snow?

A comfy chair? I thought so.

After digging our way out the front door, we are getting closer.

And we found our car!

Our faces have been glued to the window in awe of the amount of snow that has fallen.
I don't think we will be going anywhere anytime soon.

Paul says the only thing we are in need of is... Coke.
I guess he'll have to wait a day or two.

Friday, December 6, 2013


This blog has been dormant for the past couple of months. School has consumed Paul's life lately.
We were grateful to have a break to spend time with family and relax.

I am going to let you in on a little secret that my sister in-law and I have to get our men "cooking" in the kitchen. We call it, the dutch oven. There is only one stipulation, it must be an outdoor dutch oven, the kind that cooks over/under coals. We discovered this great secret last year as we made preparations for our Thanksgiving feast. Scott mentioned he wanted to try cooking the turkey in the dutch oven. It turned out well and the men were hooked on dutch oven cooking. Seeking to improve upon last year's experiment they eagerly joined us in the kitchen to create their master pieces. And I must say their efforts payed off. We enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal thanks to their mad cooking skills.

"Chopping Onions"
Paul learned first hand - onions do make your eyes water.

This year Paul's brother Brad joined us and Scott's family in North Carolina.
The brothers wasted no time reuniting as they competed in push-ups, pull-ups, etc. 

They wore themselves out.
Nap Time

We took a quick tour of Duke's campus, where Scott works.

The Duke Chapel has beautiful stained glass windows.

We ventured to the east coast where we toured the USS North Carolina.

Brad & Paul showing off their guns skills.

We watched a Christmas boat parade & a spectacular firework show. 
I know the pictures quality isn't that great, but imagine what it would look like in real life.
Look closely and you can see the lights twinkling.

And of course we made our way to the beach. 
It was not quite bathing suit weather, however we still had a great time.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

One Year in Virginia

We have been in Virginia for a year now... It seems like yesterday we were just arriving...

We have spent much of our free time exploring our beautiful surroundings.
We recently went on a hike to McAfee Knob. This place has some awesome views!

I wasn't afraid to get close to the edge. 
Paul was a little more hesitant.

Of course our life would not be complete if we did not spend some of our time exploring new places to fish. This weekend we met up with Paul's good friend Pat at Virginia's "famous" trout stream, Mossy Creek. Supposedly it is really hard to catch fish here. After losing 5 flies to the thistle and shrubbery along the bank and about 10 different set-ups we did manage to land a few fish. This place is definitely not for beginners.

Selecting a Location - Key for Success

Evening Fishing

We passed this classy church on our way to the river.

Morning Light 

We saw thousands of spider webs in the fields glittering with morning dew - thousands!


I asked Paul if we owned the farm along the river, would he get any work done...
That was a question I already knew the answer to. 

It just happened that the campground we were staying at had a jousting competition. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see this! I was a little disappointed they didn't actually knock each other off their horses. Rather they compete for speed and accuracy by jousting 3 small rings in under 8 seconds. The pros rings were 1 inch in diameter! It was entertaining to say the least.

Ya gotta love the small towns.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Utah Visit

Paul and I were excited to go "home" this summer after being gone for almost year. We had a wonderful time visiting family and friends. We spent the 4th of July at the traditional Johnson Family reunion. Paul was impressed with the phenomenal firework show put on by my uncle Jim Dunnigan. He never fails to wow the crowd. We spent our first weekend camping and fishing at Payson Lakes. We were expecting dry weather seeing how it hadn't rained in Utah in over a month. It rained. However, we managed to stay mostly dry and we know they need the rain out there.

During our week in Manti we spent the majority of our time in the mountains. We went fishing, four wheeling, and enjoyed a wonderful "mountain breakfast". Paul was thrilled to spend time fishing with his dad and brothers. We had so much fun in Utah!

Watching the Parade

Happy 4th of July - Grandpa Cook

Say "Cheese"

My brother Chris & his wife Kartier blessing their baby girl Victoria

Paul & I showing off our skills on the swing

The Fishing Boat

Successful Day of Fishing

Not pictured: The other 30 fish we caught.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No Feudin' Just Runnin'

Written by Paul -

Not that long ago, (Saturday), in a land far far away (West Virginia/Kentucky) Michelle ran a marathon. Yes I said marathon. Not a little 5k, or a dirty mud run, or some other reasonable distance running, a full marathon. All 26.2 miles! She began training in February and on Saturday morning on the border of West Virginia and Kentucky she accomplished her goal.

Friday afternoon we took off from our home to venture to Williamson, West Virginia. The drive to this small town was quite the eye opener. We traveled on a fairly major road about 60 miles north to Bluefield, WV at which point our route and surroundings became quite interesting...

We drove on a narrow two lane highway that wound its way through the mountains for over a 100 miles. We passed through several extremely run down towns. Many of these towns were constructed by coal mining companies. Once the coal had been removed from the mines the towns basically died. We saw some folks decided to stay. It was quite shocking and rather sad to see some of the conditions they lived in. I haven't seen anything like it anywhere in America before. One of these small areas claimed to be home to "The Rocket Boys" whom the movie "October Sky" was based on.

I will say that being from the west and growing up around mountains, I always thought that there were no real mountains in the east. Well, when you drive in the bottom, and then on the top of these mountains you come to realize that mountains do exist outside of the Rockies.

Eventually, we made it to Williamson. 
You are welcomed by a site of what else other than...a whole train yard of coal.

Williamson has become popular as a tourist destination because of the famed family feud between the Hatfield's and the McCoy's that took place in the late 1800's. You can read all about the feud here. They have a town festival every year that takes place around the first full weekend in June. Part of the festivities include a Marathon. This year's marathon had 440 runners from all over the country. The marathon is popular with runners who are trying to complete marathons in every state as some runners will count both Kentucky and West Virginia since the marathon is run in both states.

Michelle with Devil Anse Hatfield & Randolph McCoy before the race started.

Once the race started, I attempted to drive to the half-way point to cheer on Michelle.  This took me nearly the entire time.  It wasn't exactly the easiest place to navigate through. Eventually I arrived in Matewan, a small town where part of the feud took place.

Michelle nearing halfway.
At this point she is giving me a thumbs up.

I made my way back to Williamson to cheer her on at the finish line.
Here she comes on the the final stretch.

She Made It

Sigh of relief & the fact the towel is ice cold.
At the end Michelle didn't feel fresh as a daisy but she was pretty happy to have accomplished her goal.

Eating some Watermelon


Good work Michelle!

And now a few words from the runner herself:

I am not sure what I was expecting, this was my first marathon and everyone told me I would be just fine. I trained for 16 weeks and felt like I was prepared. I knew there was a good hill at mile 7 and I think I was over prepared for that. It was challenging but I wasn't on my hands and knees like I thought I would be. On the other hand I was not as prepared for the extremely steep down hill but I did it. I really was doing great at the halfway point. No pain, my pace was good, it was fun to see Paul and have him cheer me on. He even ran a block or two with me. Then it got hard, really hard. I don't recall at exactly what mile I started to feel mentally and physically drained. I just knew I was tired and I kept getting passed...  At least the other runners offered words of encouragement.

Somehow I managed to keep going, it wasn't pretty but I did it! I saw the finish line and I wanted to cry. I was so happy, relieved, exhausted, and proud. It was so much harder than I anticipated! I have a whole new respect for people who have run a marathon.