June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day 2017!

Happy Father's Day 2017!
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 18, 2017

We continued going to a lot of graduation parties this week which has been fun.  I've gained about 20 pounds and played a few dozen yard games while attending them.  It's great to have the opportunity to honor these young men and women as they all prepare to go on their new adventures in life.

It's really nice going to all these parties because it continues to give us a chance to hang out with all the fun parents we've met over the years and eat their tacos and pulled pork sandwiches.

Luke and Avery have been going on their own to parties, but we still bump into them from time to time.  Mostly when we're at a party for one of the robotics kids as that group seems to stick together pretty well.  They're a bunch of good kids.

Last night we were at Mason Korkowski's party.  I kept going up to his mom, Sue, putting on a serious face and then asking her if she knew where I could find a cross?  I don't think she thinks I'm as funny as I think I am.

Tuesday night, Krazy Kory was in town and so we went to our favorite place, Mystic Lake Casino.  Neither one of us had a very good time unfortunately.

On Thursday night, we were invited to a dinner put on by the Prior Lake Lions.  They are a great bunch of folks who's main mission is serving the community.  They were kind enough to award Luke and these other fine students some scholarships for next year and also gave us a chicken dinner to boot.  Which was just very cool of them to do.

Luke and Avery both had their firsts tastes of college as they each spent the night in the dorms of their respective universities, Minnesota State Mankato and the University of Minnesota.  They were there for orientation and to sign up for classes.  I guess the new T shirts were just some kind of a bonus for going.

Our friendly albino squirrels have still been making appearances in our lives this week although the little rascals are't being too cooperative while posing for pictures.  We'll get a better shot some time this year.

We drove by this vehicle on the way to Father's Day lunch.  This is definitely the winner of the award for Coolest Windshield Wipers Ever!

Father's Day lunch was held at our favorite restaurant, Benihana.  We just love that Yum Yum sauce!

Our chef was pretty quiet, but he pulled off a trick I hadn't seen before.  He turned an egg into a chicken!

Happy Father's Day to all you great dads out there!!

June 11, 2017

Luke & Avery Graduate From Prior Lake High School

Luke & Avery Graduate From Prior Lake High School
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 11, 2017

We've been going to graduation parties all week and have been hanging out with lots of fun people.  Here I found myself with the local Prior Lake power players - Mayor Kirt Briggs, School Board Member Melissa Enger, County Commissioner Tom Wolf, and Tom's wife Kellie.  It was a very interesting conversation about local politics and I always enjoy hearing some of the inside scoop.

Miss Sheri had some fun conversations with her college roommates, Cathy and Robin.  Robin was in town celebrating her 50th birthday and the ladies got into all sorts of shenanigans.

Luke and Avery's last day of school was on Tuesday and they were invited to attend a Senior Recognition Night at the high school.  We weren't sure what that was about, but were curious to discover why.

It turns out they were each awarded two different scholarships.  They each received one from Prior Lake Dollars for Scholars, Luke received one from the Prior Lake Lions Club, and Avery received one from the Prior Lake Rotary Club.  We are all very appreciative of their support!

After the ceremony, we were standing around talking with some of their classmates when suddenly we realized that the 6 boys having a conversation were all Eagle Scouts so we felt like we had to snap this picture of the group.

Long time readers of my blog will know about our history with Albino Squirrels.  Neither Miss Sheri or I had ever seen an albino squirrel in our lives before our boys were born.  We have now seen them in our yard every summer since they were born.  That's across two different houses.  We thought it was nice to see an albino squirrel in our yard several days this week to help them celebrate their graduation from high school.

Friday rolled around and the boys got ready for their graduation ceremony.  Blue was very excited to have the opportunity to pose for some nice pictures with us.

We were a little nervous about it being extremely hot for the 4 hours we would be sitting in the bleachers for their ceremony, but it ended up being a very pleasant temperature.

Grandma Linda, Grandma Leona, and Sheri's college roommate, Robin, joined us to watch the ceremony.  We showed up two hours early to get seats so it was nice to have company to help us pass by the time.

Our good friends, Dan and Jen, had their friend in Sherry in from Florida and they sat right behind us so it was fun getting rowdy with them also.

Soon the kids started filing on to the field and we were excited to see the boys get out there.  Avery was pretty excited to see us also.

The ceremony went for about two hours.  Their class had 616 students graduate of which approximately 589 were in attendance.  It takes quite a bit of time for 589 people to walk across the stage to get their diplomas.

The boys said they were quite confident about graduating, but when the ceremony began I thought they looked a little bit nervous.

Eventually their names were called and they confidently made their way across the stage.  We are very proud of both of them.

I always enjoy at the end of a graduation ceremony when all the graduates throw their caps in the air.  I'm always curious to know how many people permanently lose their caps, but it didn't seem to be much of an issue for anyone.

We came onto the field afterwards and helped the boys celebrate their achievements.  There's a lot of great people in Prior Lake so it was an awesome feeling getting to share this moment with all of them.

The boys have made a lot of good friends over the years and they all have amazing journeys ahead of them.  These guys all have very bright futures.  Congratulations to the Class of 2017 everywhere!

June 4, 2017

Graduation Party for Luke and Avery Swank

Graduation Party for Luke and Avery Swank
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 4, 2017

It's hard to believe that the time has come for Luke and Avery to be graduating high school.  It feels like they have grown up so fast.

Our friends, Dan & Jen Walters, helped us prepare for the party by lending us their tent and mosquito fogger.  The tent worked great.  The fogger, not so much.  Dang mosquitoes!

Winning the award for farthest travel to the boys' party was Miss Sheri's college roommate, Robin Bauman.  She lives in Hawaii and flew in for the celebration.  Her and Grandma Haack were so helpful throughout the event that we just don't know what we would have done without them!

Uncle Jerry also came early to help us set up the party.  We like to refer to him as "The Muscle".

Technically, Luke & Avery don't graduate until this Friday.  They have two days left of school so we're hoping nothing blows up on them and they end up not earning their diploma.  Otherwise, we just wasted a whole bunch of cupcakes.

Grandma Linda came to pitch in a hand and we felt like the kitchen was fully loaded and ready to go.  We had 200 tacos catered in from a local Mexican restaurant called Teresa's and a whole bunch of lemonade that proved to be quite popular.

We had a pretty good crowd come through our house over the four hour party.  We asked the Trump Administration for an estimate of the numbers and they said more than 1000 people stopped by.  Our records showed it was probably closer to 150 - 200 people.  Everyone who came over were all very nice. 

Krazy Kory and Harli drove up from Iowa for the celebration.  Which was good for us because a party ain't a party without Krazy Kory there to kick it off.

Ron "Sugarman" Myers brought his family up from Iowa which was nice as they brought a lot of energy with them.

Dr. Bollig and Cynthia made an appearance with their family which was fun.  We don't get to see them nearly as much as we'd like.

Our good friends, The Zitzewitzes and Browns, joined us for much of the evening.  It's so much fun having a party like this where all of our friends are there, but it's also challenging because you want to spend all your time with each of them.  We need to have another graduation party next weekend so we can spend more time with everybody. 

Winning the award for the youngest attendee was 3 month old Victoria Bailey along with her lovely mother, grandmother, and Aunt Jen.  It was the first time we'd seen her outside so that was pretty cool.

Luke said we had to get a "Spike Ball" set for the party because it's a lot of fun.  I'm glad we listened to him because it was a pretty popular activity.  I love spiking balls!

Some of the kids got a bit carried away with the ball spiking and sent one over the fences.  Lucky for us, we had a sugarman in attendance and he came to the rescue by scaling the 6 foot privacy fence.  We were a little worried he wouldn't make it back to us, but he's pretty bouncy.

Our virtual reality set-up was also a hit with the kids.  For some reason, they like to make their friends play a "Scary" game so they scream while all the other kids laugh at them.  Seems kind of sadistic to me.

Even the adults were getting into it including Jackson's grandfather.  I wasn't watching while he did it, but I sure hope the kids didn't make him play one of the "Scary" games.  That just ain't right.  

The graduation wasn't the only thing we were celebrating.  Robin's 50th birthday also took place this weekend, so we made sure to honor that special occasion as well.  Happy Birthday, Robin!

The party went late into the evening with the last guests not leaving until after midnight.  The next day we kind of felt like we had a whirlwind go through our house, but we also had a lot of laughs and memories of good friends who were there to help celebrate our sons' latest milestone.   Thank you all who were able to come!!

Here's more pictures of friends who stopped by to visit: