October 16, 2016

Luke and Avery Earn Their Eagle Scouts

Luke and Avery Earn Their Eagle Scouts
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 16, 2016

On Tuesday night, Luke and Avery had their Board of Reviews at the district scout council where they had to present their final case for them to earn the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America.  We thought it was especially appropriate for them to go in with Troy Brown for their Board of Reviews since he was the one we first met the night we considered joining Cub Scouts way back in 2005.  He recruited us into scouts and was with them as they earned the highest honor of the organization.  Pretty cool.

We didn't get to watch them do their presentations, but we did go into meet the men they had to present it to.  Avery went first and we started worrying about him a bit when he was in there for nearly an hour.  But he must have said the right things because he came out with a smile and told us he made it through.

Luke was up next and had to meet with a different group.  We heard they asked him if he could choose to have dinner with anyone, who would it be?  He told them "Will Ferrell."  He then paused and stated:  "Actually, I meant to say the Founding Fathers."  That's our Luke!  He also earned his Eagle.  We are very proud of both of our boys for this achievement!

They have been added as Eagles to their troop website here.

On Friday night, we went to Mystic Lake's Rock, Brats, and Beer outdoor concert and watch some hair bands like Hericane Alice.  We needed to exercise our neck muscles and figured some head banging would treat us just about right.

They also had pretty good Brats and Cheddar Wursts.   Awww, who am I kidding.  They were the Wurst.

We played some games like Hammerschlagen where you use a big hammer to pound a nail into a stump in the least amount of times swinging the hammer.  It's actually a lot harder than it looks.

Miss Sheri and I played against this fellow who is named Jason Davis.  We found that funny because we have a good friend named Jason Davis and it's not this guy.  The guy must have thought we were laughing at him because he proceeded to crush us in Hammerschlagen.  Which made me upset so then I cheated really bad to beat Miss Sheri.  I'm not sure my pride could have survived with a 3rd place finish.

We then stood and watched the bands for awhile.  This guy seemed like a really angry drummer.

The next band was Firehouse who had several hits in the nineties like "Love of a Lifetime" and "When I Look into Your Eyes"  They made us feel very romantic.

We laid pretty low over the weekend, but did try to take the dogs swimming which still never works out very well.  Blue just doesn't get the concept.  Every time we let them into the water, he think it's time to attack Sunny for some reason.  So they get wet, we get frustrated, and then we take them home again.

October 9, 2016

College Tour of Minnesota State Mankato

College Tour of Minnesota State Mankato
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 9, 2016

On Monday night, we had the honor to attend the Prior Lake High Scholar Board Scholar ceremony which celebrates students who have maintained a GPA of 3.8 or higher.  Avery earned this achievement for a third time along with a bunch of other great kids that can be seen here.

Miss Sheri should get some kind of award for this also since she is the main one that cracks the whip around our house when it comes to focusing on their school work.  I'm going to get her a certificate for being a board mother.

When she's not whipping the kids to do their school work, she is probably working on some big project.  This week she finished her drainage project and it looks great.  No more water problems on that side of the house!

On Friday night, we went out to dinner at the Artisan Bistro and bumped into our good friends, Troy and Rhonda Brown.  Coincidentally enough, they had two available seats at their table so they invited us to join them.  Maybe it wasn't even a coincidence.  Maybe they just sensed we were going to be there and made sure they had extra seats available just in case we arrived.  We will never know for sure.

On Saturday, we went to Mankato, Minnesota to continue our tour of different colleges our boys are interested in attending.  

Avery decided this is a school he wasn't interested in attending so he stayed home.  So we went down with just Luke.

Jackson was interested in attending Mankato also, so we went down with our good friends, The Walters Family.  This time, our wives didn't let Dan and I sit next to each other because we usually end up snickering way too much.

We had a nice presentation about the school.  They told us that there are students attending the University representing 49 states in the US.  But they didn't tell us which one wasn't represented.  Which made me really wonder which one it was and what the heck is being done to improve recruiting in that state.  Or do they know something that the rest of us don't?  

They had a panel of current students answering questions from the audience which was quite enlightening.  It's interesting hearing college kids talk about what's important to them and what they like about their school.  It makes me want to go back to college.

After the presentation, we had a nice tour of the campus.  Meghan was our tour guide and she explained to us that this was her very first tour.  I thought she did a nice job even if she did say a lot "I've never been in that building before, but I'm sure it's real nice."

I have gone on tours of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the University of Minnesota.  Mankato is quite a bit smaller than those schools, but has a certain charm to it that I really like.  

All in all, it was a nice tour and a beautiful day.

October 2, 2016

Prior Lake Homecoming 2016

Prior Lake Homecoming 2016
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 2, 2016

It was time to get senior photos taken this week so we traveled up to Champlin for three hours of photo taking.  My boys were so thrilled to do this!

I make them pose for pictures all the time so they just couldn't wait for the opportunity to stand next to abandoned barns, weird bridges, the edge of the Mississippi River, and a bunch of other places that we thought were pretty.   Boys just love pretty picture backgrounds!

I totally wasn't thinking when I scheduled the appointment right on top of the Vikings Game!  Lucky for me, there's an app for that!

On Wednesday, we had an offsite meeting with my colleagues at Oracle Direct.  We went to Betty Danger's Country Club in Minneapolis.

It's a really unique place.  It's basically a bar with a mini golf course and a ferris wheel.   Sounds pretty safe to me.  Let people buy a bunch of drinks and then send them soaring in the air.  What a great fit!

Miss Sheri has had a pretty productive week.  She decided to tackle a landscaping project along the side of our house and decided to dig a large drainage ditch as well.  She has so much fun with her projects!

On Friday night, we went to the Prior Lake High School homecoming football game where the Prior Lake Lakers defeated Edina 30 - 0.  That's a nice result for a homecoming game.

Both Miss Sheri and I grew up in small towns, so we're always quite impressed with the amenities that the Prior Lake High School has for their players.  We never had a digital scoreboard or a large inflatable football helmet for our players to run through for their introductions.  We were lucky to have our players run through a paper banner spread across the gate of a chain link fence.  

The band was amazing and pumped up the crowd.

The dance team blew the crowd away with their choreography and style.  I also really enjoyed their music selections, but I'm kind of a funky guy like that.

On Sunday morning, we had breakfast with Grandma Linda and her new friend, Mike.  A good time was had by all!

September 25, 2016

University of Minnesota College Tour

University of Minnesota College Tour
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for 9/25/16

The week started off with a bunch of joy when Miss Sheri's college roommates came to stay with us for a few nights.  Robin lives in Hawaii and stopped by at the end of her trip to the mainland so Cathy came down for a girl's fiesta at the Swank house.

On Saturday morning, we went for a college tour at the University of Minnesota in downtown Minneapolis.  Luke and Avery are seniors and still trying to decide which schools they want to apply to attend.  Jackson and the Walters family were going the same day so we decided to all go together.

Our tour guide was a nice young lady named Olivia and she gave us a very nice tour of the school.  I can't remember exactly what she was explaining to us here, but I'm guessing it made me uncomfortable hearing about it.

Soon enough we were outside and checking out the campus.  This place is HUGE!  And there's Gophers everywhere...

Olivia pointed out these statues which are virtually invisible when you look at them straight on from the end...

When you see them from the side you see that they're a couple of pretty intense individuals that are kneeling and staring at each other.  They also look like they might be naked, but I'm not going to try to figure out what that's all about.

Soon enough we were in the middle of campus and Olivia really wanted us to stop.  A lot of people weren't listening to her so she had to get pretty theatrical with the hand signals.

I think it would be fun going to a school where you can see the home of the incredible 3 - 0 Minnesota Vikings off in the distance!

This is considered to be a "Modern Classroom".  All the students sit around each other in tables that are set-up for digital communication and microphones for everyone to speak to the professor or to the rest of the group.  Every table also had a huge display hanging next to it so students can show their work to the immediate group or the whole classroom if needed.  I thought it was pretty cool.  I want to go Back to School!

The stairways are a little scary as they have this vortex like feel to them.  I felt like if I fell over the side I was going to be sucked into a black hole and transported to another dimension.  Actually, now that I think about it, I should have done it!  It worked for Matthew McConaughy in Interstellar and I've always wanted to be just like that guy.

Our tour ended with a presentation in one of the auditoriums.  I sat next to Dan which is never a good idea.  Lucky for us, we didn't get sent to the Dean's office for creating a ruckus.

All in all, it was a pretty impressive tour.  I'd like to go to the University of Minnesota.

Afterwards we all went to Buffalo Wild Wings to reward ourselves for a good deed done.

Dan gave himself an extra reward by trying to do the Blazing Challenge.  He was supposed to eat 12 Blazing wings in less than 6 minutes.  Dan gave it the good ole college try, but in the end the heat was just too much for him!  Nice try though, Dan!!