December 18, 2016

The Swank Family 2016 Christmas Letter

It’s Time to Make Christmas Great Again!

This year celebrates 25 years of Sheri and Todd as a couple.  Todd has driven this woman crazy for a quarter of a century.  We started dating July 27, 1991.  In that same year the Minnesota Twins won the World Series, the Dow passed 3000 for the first time, Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture, and Donald Trump proposed to Marla Maples.  Our love has outlasted the President’s!  So we got that going for us.  Which is nice.

We are feeling pretty reflective this year.  Our twin sons, Luke and Avery turned 17 and are graduating in the spring. Luke plans to attend Mankato to study business.  Avery has been accepted to the University of Minnesota College of Science & Engineering.  He’s waiting to hear from UW Madison before deciding. He's a whiz at programming and will study computer science.  It's going to be so weird for us being empty nesters.  We will finally be able to walk around the house in our birthday suits again!  The Dominos guy is going to be so excited.

Luke and Avery both earned the rank of Eagle Scout this year and have been heavily involved in the high school robotics program.  We are so proud of them.    They also played on the Ping Pong team, but we’re kind of embarrassed about that.

Todd is still selling enterprise software for Oracle.  Emails are Todd’s life.  He is so constantly overloaded with them that it’s rare for him to do anything else.  Sheri even bought her own Christmas presents this year.  She asked Todd if he wanted to know what he’s getting her and he said No, he’d rather be surprised on Christmas morning.

Sheri is still putting the rest of us to shame with her work ethic.  This year, she re-built our porch and dug a massive drainage ditch throughout our yard.  Todd asked her once if she ever fantasizes about him.
She said “Yes.  I fantasize about you taking out the trash.”

Our two Golden Retrievers are still the most active members of our house.  Old man Sunny and Baby Blue really love each other as they prove to us every day.  They play this game where one of them pretends to be sick while the other climbs on his back and tries to push him to the hospital.  It’s pretty cute.

Our goals for 2017 are to lose weight, get rich, get famous, and solve world hunger.  Either those goals or we will binge watch every episode of Breaking Bad.  We never watched that series and hear good things. 

God Bless Us Everyone!

The Swank Family

Prior Lake 2016 VEX Robotics Tournament

Prior Lake 2016 VEX Robotics Tournament
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 18, 2016

On Saturday, we attended the Prior Lake Robotics Middle School VEX tournament.  I'm president of the Prior Lake Robotics booster club so we were there to volunteer for some activities and support our friends running the tournament.

Head Coach Mike Lins and I awarded a plaque to Jen and Dan Walters for their years of service to the VEX program.  Their son, Jackson, is graduating this year so they are turning over the reins to a new coach for next year.  We have been in robotics together for 6 years and it's hard to believe our kids are all done after this year.  Where does the time go?  

Avery received some exciting news this week when he was notified he was accepted to the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering.  According to their website, they received 13,985 applicants this year and are only accepting 1084 students so we were pretty nervous about his chances prior to being notified.   He's still going to wait to hear from UW Madison before making his final decision, but mom and dad are excited that he may end up going to school so close to home.

Luke also received some good news that he was accepted to the University of Minnesota Duluth.  He's still pretty confident he's going to Minnesota State Mankato, but it's nice he has a couple to choose from now.

On Saturday night, we connected with the Hornbuckle clan for our annual Christmas get together celebration.  We started at the VFW in Minneapolis where we had some luck playing the pull tabs.  Such a good way to celebrate the holidays!

We had dinner at The Herkimer Pub & Brewery.  It was pretty darn good.

We then headed back to the VFW to scream out some karaoke which is one of my favorite activities!  I'm gaining an appreciation for the songs of Stone Temple Pilots.  That Scott Weiland had a pretty raspy voice which works out just about right for me.

December 11, 2016

A Pinterest Holiday Party

A Pinterest Holiday Party
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 11, 2016

We have had albino squirrels following us around since our boys were born.  When the boys had something scary going on with their medical situation, it would always seem like one would pop up which made us feel like they were our own personal guardian angels.  We hadn't seen any in the past year or two, so we were quite happy when this guy showed up in our back yard this week.

On Friday night, it was snowing so we thought it would be fun to have our friends the Zitzewitzes and the Browns over for a hot tub dinner party.  We love taking baths with these people.

We put Troy to work skewering meat right when he arrived.  

We're pretty intimidated when cooking for Troy and Karl because both of these guys are really good chefs.  Miss Sheri asked me to pick out some ideas for her to try so we could attempt to keep up with what they have cooked for us in the past.  So we went to Pinterest and searched for Holiday Supper Ideas.

We were pretty darned pleased with how everything turned out.  Each of the recipes was great so I thought I'd share them with you all in case you'd be interested in trying something new and fun.  Here is what we had:

Grilled Asian Garlic Steak Skewers
Salad Cranberry Walnut Avocado Salad

After dinner it was time to strip down to our swimsuits and get in the hot tub.  A good time was had by all.

It snowed for the rest of the weekend which made Miss Sheri excited.  She just loves blowing snow!

December 4, 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 4, 2016

We started getting little bursts of snow over the past couple of weeks so it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I sometimes walk through the IDS Tower in downtown Minneapolis over my lunch break and I was impressed with their tree and the choir singing underneath it.  I bet they get tired of being there when it gets late at night.

Even Mystic Lake Casino is getting into this spirit with this  display of Christmas houses.  I wish I could live in this little village.  It seems so peaceful.  Although I'd probably hate trying to sleep here with all those little trees.  One would probably poke me in the butt every time I rolled over.

Our week started with an Eagle Ceremony for three fine young gentlemen, Nick Benz, Keaton Kaisersatt, and Ryan Trapp.  It was a very pleasant celebration.  We watched these three grow up through the years in scouts and we were very happy that they were able to earn this achievement.

On Friday night, we had dinner with our good friends, The Perera Family.  They are incredible cooks and we had a great night discussing a wide variety of topics.

Guy cooked up a whole bunch of spare ribs.  I'm not normally a huge fan of spare ribs, but these were incredible.  He had some very spicy hot sauce that we covered them in and I found myself nibbling away on that meat for more than an hour.  I finally had to stop because I was breathing fire and everyone else had finished eating long before I had.  It's a good thing I did, because I could have probably gone on eating those dang things for at least a couple more hours!

On Sunday morning we went to the VFW in Prior Lake for a Pancake breakfast fundraiser for the high school band.  We brought along our neighbor Jim because he's such good company and he really likes pancakes.

Several of the high school bands played throughout the breakfast which was enjoyable.  Miss Sheri said it would be cool if we could eat pancakes and sausage at every one of their concerts!  I'm sure the high school would get fussy about having syrup in the seats of the auditorium though.  Too sticky.