May 26, 2014

A Memorial Day Weekend Visit to Waverly, Iowa

A Memorial Day Weekend Visit to Waverly, Iowa
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 26, 2014

Our week started off on a bit of a stressful note.  We went to see Luke's cardiologist and he had some concerns that we need to follow-up on.  Although it's been awhile since we've had to deal with anything, when Luke was born he had a very serious heart defect that required multiple surgeries to correct.  He now has what is known as a Fontan correction.  I found a couple videos on YouTube that shows what this is all about:

Luke's doctor wants to get a better look at what's going on with him so we're planning on having a heart cath done some time soon so he can investigate further.  Luke is taking this news like a real trooper and is confident everything is just fine, but naturally mom and dad are nervous.  Luke has been through so much in his life and he certainly doesn't deserve to have to deal with any more crap.  But we have really good doctors and we do what they say needs to be done.  In any case, if you happen to see Luke, he doesn't really like to talk about this kind of stuff, so it's probably best not to mention it to him.  But Miss Sheri and I would certainly appreciate it if you would keep him in your prayers or send some positive thoughts his way if you have the chance.  We'll keep you posted how things are going for him as we find out additional news.  

Luke has had his blood drawn countless times in his life and there's usually been a lot of drama involved in the process.  But this week, Luke was so brave and dealt with the situation all by himself and instructed the nurse on the ways that work best for him.  We're just so proud of him.

On a positive note, the boys had a great week of celebrating accomplishments!  On Monday night, they both earned their Life Scout ranks in Boy Scouts so they get to finally start working on becoming full fledged Eagle Scouts.  On Tuesday night, they received their first high school letters in Band.

On Wednesday night, they received some awards from the high school robotics team and eventually received letters in that activity as well.  All in all, it was a full week of opportunities for us to be proud of our kids!  I guess all those hours spent hollering at them to stay busy with their activities is finally starting to pay off!

The robotics banquet was a lot of fun.  Especially when we were able to get in line to eat!

On Thursday night, we took a break from organized activities to put the fear of God into the boys.  That's always a fun activity.

On Friday night we drove down to Waverly, Iowa to visit my buddy, Ron.  He recently was named Deputy Sheriff and we're real proud of him.  Even if he won't let me actually drive his car.

 Ron and his wife, Kristi, have four beautiful children aged 2 to 9.  Needless to say, they're a bundle of energy and keep mom and dad on their toes at all times.  Lucky for all of them, their mom makes incredible cookies which probably make for a pretty good incentive to follow the rules.  I know those cookies would make me follow the rules any ways.

On Friday night, Ron and I went outside from 1-1:30am to watch the supposed meteor shower that was going to swoop by the earth.  Needless to say, the black sky in this picture is a pretty good representation of the meteors we saw while we waited out there.

Ever since our last visit to see Ron and his collection of weapons, my sons have been enamored with the concept of going back to visit him and going to the gun range.   Since the boys will be hitting their fifteenth birthday soon, we thought it was a good time for them to learn the proper lessons of gun safety and the proper way to handle a firearm.

Although I was less excited about my wife learning how to use a gun.  I'm really hoping this doesn't bite me in the butt some day.

Avery was a natural at firing the weapons.  He fired about 40 rounds of the rifle and about 80% of them were in the black part of the target.  I guess all those hours on the XBOX are really starting to pay off for him.  This further cemented my confidence in the fact that if society is ever overwhelmed by the zombie apocalypse, I'm standing behind my boys to lead me out of town.

Luke tried the big gun, but seemed to prefer the 22.  He was a little nervous to try it at first, but once he gained his confidence he was doing a great job.  Here's a video of the whole family as we learned the lessons of gun safety.

On Saturday afternoon, Krazy Kory joined us for a round of golf.   Lately, whenever Kory comes around, Ron spends a lot of his time trying to get him to do the wave with him.  It's kind of an unusual thing to watch, but rather enjoyable when Kory actually starts joining him.

The boys had a great time playing golf.  They really perked up every time the beverage cart came by, although I don't know why.  They weren't even really drinking anything.

May 18, 2014

First Boat Ride of 2014

First Boat Ride of 2014
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 18, 2014

On Tuesday night we went to Target Field to watch the Minnesota Twins host the Boston Red Sox.  We're not big baseball fans but we like to get to 1 or 2 games every summer.  Baseball is so much better in Minnesota now that we have an outdoor stadium.  Except when it's cold, rainy, windy, humid, or too hot.  Other than those times, it's really great!

The reason we went to this game was to see my buddy, Ron "Sugarman" Myers and two of his sons.  They're HUGE Red Sox fans and had tickets right above their team dugout.  We ended up sitting in different sections than them and decided to leave the game early when it ended up going past 11PM and our boys had school the next day.  Ron and his sons were going to spend the night with us, but decided since it was so late and I had to work the next morning to instead drive home to Iowa.  But it was really nice seeing them when I took this picture!

We sat in a section that was prone for foul balls landing nearby, which was a nice way to help keep the boys off their cell phones.  Every time the bat would crack with a hit, I'd shout "Look Out" which would cause them to look up suddenly in fear.  That sure was fun while it lasted.

Big Papi David Ortiz hit the first of his two home runs a second after this photo was taken.  But even with his powerful play, the Twins held on to beat the Sox 8 - 6.  Not that we saw it.  We were home in bed by the time the game wrapped up.  But it was fun to see these home runs!

In what is starting to become a Friday night ritual, I went out to the casino with our friends, Jason and Jen.  I'm hoping the next phase of the ritual begins to include letting us win some of the time.  That would sure make it a lot more fun. 

We put our boat in the water on Saturday.  This summer I was able to work out a deal with my neighbor to rent a space on his dock to store the boat which makes us excited.  As a matter of fact, Sunny was jumping for joy shortly after we put it up on the lift.

The boys were happy to go for their first ride of the year even if they did worry about the dog a bit too much.  They keep thinking he's going to fall or jump off the boat.  He has a real tough time getting back on board so I understand their concern, but I want him to get used to being on there.  Then we can push him off when he least expects it.

The water is still a bit too cold to actually get in it, so we spend most of our time bird watching.  this one is known as a "Grayish Blackish Bird with a Yellowish Beak".  They are known for standing on branches and looking to the right.

Sometimes they like to sit directly below their mates so they can be pooped on.  It's a weird quirk of theirs, but they seem to enjoy it.

  These birds are called "White Birds with Black Heads and Orange Beaks and Feet."  They can usually be found standing on buoys.  They seem to prefer buoys with stripes of paint that match the color of their feet.  They also seem to always have angry looks on their faces.  We just love bird watching!!  

Technology Videos We Created At Work

Here's some videos we created to promote our companies Equus and Servers Direct.

Build Your Own Cloud or Go Public

How to be a Successful Reseller & Compete with HP & Dell in the Server Market

The Benefits of Buying Custom Servers - Servers Direct

Cloud Computing What Is It - Servers Direct

Custom Doesnt Mean Expensive

The Advantages of Custom Server Solutions

May 11, 2014

Gourmet Brown Nachos

Gourmet Brown Nachos
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 11, 2014

I was driving to work early this week and I nearly ran into this fox walking across the street.  Naturally I had to get out of the car to see what he would say.  But he just looked at me while I snapped this picture and then walked away.  I must not have been doing something right.

On Wednesday night, we went to watch a concert put on by the Prior Lake High School Freshman Band.

Luke takes his percussion responsibilities very seriously.  No matter how hard I try to heckle him from the crowd, he won't give me any reactions.

Avery on the other hand is quitting band after this year, so he was more than willing to participate in my shenanigans.

It wasn't until after the concert that we noticed we were all wearing dark shirts with stripes.  And that we looked good.

Grandma Linda and Miss Sheri were quite proud of the boys performance in the band.  They did a really nice job.

On Friday night, we were treated to a visit from the Zitzewitz and Brown Families.

Troy Brown has been our scout master since the boys were in first grade, but I've also learned that he likes to travel with really good food.  He's an engineer by trade, but literally could be a gourmet chef at many of the 5 star restaurants I've enjoyed over the years.  On this particular night, when he said he was bringing fixings to make nachos I didn't really think much of it.  Then I saw him start to go to work.  His artistry nearly brought tears to my eyes.

He started off with some delicious chips and then added a combination of pulled pork and pulled beef.  He had three different kinds of cheese and I told him to be generous with the spicy version.  He topped it off with a multitude of veggies, three different kinds of salsa, spicy sour cream, and some other sauces I didn't recognize.  When he was done I wasn't sure if I was supposed to eat them or mount the plate over our mantle and use it as a new decoration for the house.  Lucky for me, I chose to eat them.  It felt like God dropped a little piece of heaven in my mouth.

While the adults were in fawning over Troy's cooking, the boys avoided us by hanging out in the hot tub.  For some reason, they don't seem to like to spend a lot of time with their parents.

After the sun went down, it was time for the kids to go inside and the adults to come out and play.  I'm not sure if the Browns were prepared for all the 80's music karaoke that happened, but I think they had fun all the same.

Every time I catch Karl peeing in the hot tub, he tries to tell me he's not doing anything.  But you can totally read it in his face.

On Mother's Day, we took our moms out for Sunday brunch at the Roasted Pear in Burnsville.  The food was good, but I didn't see any trace of pears anywhere.  I kind of felt ripped off a bit.

I give my mama a hard time a lot, but I sure do love the little lady.  She's always been there for me no matter what.  I'm blessed to have her in my life and to be her son.

On the way home from breakfast, we stopped by the local Buddhist Monastery to see the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace.  You can read about it here.  The people there were so nice and welcoming.  I was glad we stopped by to see this impressive display.

When we were walking into the monastery, we saw a baby turtle.  These young girls came up and explained to us how to see the Jade Buddha and then took the turtle to a safer place than he was and set him free.  They said they named the turtle Alex which I thought was kind of a strange name for a turtle, but who am I to judge?
Who am I to judge?

May 10, 2014

Minnesota Vikings Roster Update May 2014

These are a few of my favorite players now playing for the Minnesota Vikings after the 2014 NFL draft.  

Are you ready for some football?

May 4, 2014

Karaoke at the American Legion in Savage, Minnesota

Karaoke at the American Legion in Savage, Minnesota
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 4, 2014

On Saturday night, we went to the American Legion in Savage, Minnesota to celebrate our friends, Dan and Jen Walters, wedding anniversary.  They're such a cute couple.

We brought along Grandma Linda for a night of fun and singing karaoke.  Although she doesn't usually sing, we were hoping to get her on stage because she'd be pretty funny to hear on a microphone regardless of what she was doing.

Dan's a really good singer, although usually I've never heard of the songs he sings.  He's a little bit country.  And I'm a little bit rock and roll.

I always like to put Miss Sheri's name on a slip of paper and let her guess what song she's going to sing when she gets up there.  She did some Adele and of course sounded great.  One of these days I'm gonna get her with a song she can't sing.

Jason Hornbuckle showed up to harass my mother.  I always think his behavior should make her offended, but it never seems to work out that way.

I was hoping perhaps Jen could get Jason to keep his hands off my mother, but she was too busy making new friends of her own.

So I did the only thing I could think of and got up and sang LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It".  I was hoping this would get all the ladies up on the dance floor and start dancing.  I wasn't disappointed as can be seen here:

Later in the week, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a visit from Krazy Kory.  It's been awhile since we've connected, but we always have a good time when we do!