February 26, 2017

Winterfest at St. Mark's in Shakopee

Winterfest at St. Mark's in Shakopee
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 26, 2017

Monday was President's Day so no work or school for us.  So we headed to Luke's next year school, Minnesota State Mankato, with his future room-mate, Jackson, and his mom.  We had a chance to visit with future professors and see some potential dorm rooms.  Hard to believe we are going to be empty nesters in only 6 months!

It was baby Blue's 2nd birthday this week, so Sunny threw him a little party.  Here's a video of us all singing him Happy Birthday:

On Thursday night, the boys robotics team, KING TeC, hosted an engineering career night at the high school, so we went and did some volunteer work for that.

Miss Sheri wanted to make us feel popular, so we gave away free cookies and water to everyone who attended.  People sure do like cookies.

On Friday night, we connected with our good friends the Brown and Zitzewitz Family for some pizza at the Tin Shed in Shakopee.   People sure do like pizza.

We then went to Karl and Tina's house afterwards to try their new popcorn maker.  It tastes so much better when it comes out of a big red and white box like this.  People sure do like popcorn.

We then spent most of the evening trying to compete with young Anna in some dancing game on the XBox.  She was pretty tough to beat, but we all gave it our best shot!

On Saturday night, we headed to a Catholic Church in Shakopee called St. Mark's for their annual winterfest celebration.  Boy, was that a rowdy time!

Our friends, Jen and Dan Walters, have been coming to this event for years and always told it was such a good time, so we decided to join them.

It had a German theme to the event so there were a lot of people dressed like this guy.  I've never worn lederhosen before, but they look pretty comfortable.  

The German people also appear to have really long horns.  I'm not sure what that means, but I'm sure there has to be some significance.

We ate with a really fun group.  It's important to have that when the night is spent screaming "Ziggy Zaggy Ziggy Zaggy Oi Oi Oi!"

Miss Sheri and I aren't big fans of German food.  The bratwurst and pork was good, but the rest of it can go back to Germany as far as I'm concerned.

I've never drank beer and gambled in a church before, but it seemed like the thing to do!  When in Rome...

The snuff guy was very popular.  I tracked him down a few times to take a whiff, but I think I'm still paying for it today.

February 19, 2017

Minnesota Vikings Winterfest 2017

Minnesota Vikings Winterfest 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 19, 2017

This weekend, the Minnesota Vikings came to town as part of their winterfest celebration.  This was their first year doing it in Prior Lake, but we were glad they did and participated in several of the events.  This is Captain Munnerlyn who is a cornerback for the Vikings and attended a lot of the festivities.  He was around so much I heard people start referring to him as the Mayor of Prior Lake!

We also met some Vikings legends including Doug Sutherland who was a member of the Vikings Purple People Eaters and went to several Super Bowls with the team.

I also had the good fortune to see an old friend while Miss Sheri and I were out and about on the town.  Holly Krieger and I went to elementary school together and it's been about 30 years since I've last seen her!  Coincidentally enough, we now live only a few miles away from each other.  It's such a small world!

On Friday night, we connected with our good friends, Troy and Rhonda Brown for the next night of Vikings Activities.  A Hairball Concert at Mystic Lake Casino!

First, we had to eat, though.  So we tried out a restaurant called Triggers at the Prior Lake Horse & Hunt Club.  Whoever shot my steak did a pretty good job!

We also saw our friends, Jen and Dan Walters, at the concert.  They looked like they were Ready to Rock!

Several of the Vikings came out before the show started to say hi to the audience and remind us we were there as part of the Vikings Winterfest.

I had never seen Hairball perform before, but what a great band!  It was like a nostalgia ride through my favorite hair bands of the eighties including Van Halen!

I really liked when they played KISS songs including Detroit Rock City!!

Guns n Roses was fun.  Oh Sweet Child O Mine!

Alice Cooper reminded us that school was not only out for the summer.  It was out forever.

Ozzie Barked at the Moon, but I didn't see him bite any heads off bats like he used to do back in the old days.  Must be getting too rough on his stomach.

AC DC was there to remind us who the real Iron Man was and still is!

Freddie Mercury ended the show and told us a sad story about the time he killed a man.  He put a gun against his head, pulled the trigger, and now he's dead.  I'm sure that made his mama pretty sad also.

On Saturday morning, we woke up and headed to the VFW for breakfast.  I kind of forgot it was still Vikings Winterfest until I realized that it was none other than Vikings Running Back, CJ Ham, making my pancakes.  I'm sure he doesn't do this kind of thing on a normal Saturday morning.

Vikings fullback, Zach Line, was also there doing some kind of kitchen chores but was still nice enough to stop and have a chat with me.

Former Vikings star, Carl Lee, was working at the beverage stand and gave me an orange juice.  I thought that was pretty nice of him.

We had a very pleasant chat with Vikings Cheerleaders, Jordan and Nao.  Jordan told us she loved all the outreach opportunities she gets to have as a Vikings Cheerleader.  I told her she's going to be a good mom some day.  Then we all shed a couple of tears together and went our separate ways.  True story.

We saved the best event of the Vikings Winterfest for last.  The Minnesota Polar Plunge which was being done to support the Special Olympics.  Ted Fristed has asked me to do it the past couple of years since we are on the Prior Lake Robotics booster club together and this year I said "Let's Do It!"

Fox 9 weatherman, Ian Leonard, was the Polar Plunge Ambassador and welcomed us to the event.

We also bumped into my favorite Scott County Commissioner, Tom Wolf.  He was there as a volunteer, but I'm thinking next year we'll get him to join us for the plunge.  

When I saw the size of the hole, I became a little intimidated.  They told me it was about 6 feet deep where we were jumping in and I was a little surprised to see how far we had to swim before we could get out of the water.  But we lucked out with some unseasonable warm weather.  55 degrees in Minnesota in February is practically unheard of so that was good!

As usual, Miss Sheri was in my corner ready to support Ted and I and to be our official photographer for the event!  Notice that cute Vikings scarf she was wearing courtesy of Captain Munnerlyn.

Jen and Dan Walters were also there to cheer us on.  We're definitely getting them to jump with us next time!

The crowds started arriving and we knew it was getting close to time to freeze our rear-ends!

Our Plunge Ambassador kicked off the event and we were ready to go!

There were a lot of crazy people jumping in the water!!

I have to be honest.  It was much colder than I was expecting.  In this moment, I had just lifted my head out of the water and for a split second I looked at the rescue workers in the water and thought I was going to need them.  I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to control my muscles, but somehow they kicked in and started working.  I probably swam as fast as I ever have before in my life because I had such a strong desire to get out of that water!!

Here's the video of my plunge with Ted:

February 12, 2017

Minneapolis RV Show 2017

Minneapolis RV Show 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 12, 2017

On Saturday, we headed into downtown Minneapolis to the convention center for the 2017 RV show.  It's the largest collection of RVs in the 5 state area.

We went to the show with our good friends, the Zitzewitz Family.  They like climbing in and out of a bunch of RVs just as much as we do!

Miss Sheri and I plan on purchasing an RV when we get closer to retiring age.  She loves driving the big rigs.  But first we have some boys to get through college before we can spend money on something silly like this.

I love messing with the salesmen.  I sit in the bathroom like this until one of them sees me.  Then I smile and run out of there.

After the show, we ate dinner at Don Pablos.  It's really good Mexican food and we filled the table with a bunch of it.

On Sunday morning, we headed back to Minneapolis to the Academy of Holy Angels for the state table tennis tournament.

Holy Angels is the high school where Arizona Cardinals star receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, went to high school.  I also have friends who's kids attend this school, but this was my first chance for a visit.

There were high school table tennis teams from all over the state of Minnesota at the event and quite a few of them looked pretty tough!

This was Luke and Avery's first year joining the Prior Lake High School table tennis team.  They had quite a bit of fun with it.

Unfortunately for the Prior Lake team, they drew Moundsview in the first round and they have won the state championship each of the past two years.  Needless to say, our boys' first rounds were pretty tough matches.  But they still looked like they were having fun.

Luke had some good runs against his opponent and only lost his first match by a score of 8-11.  We didn't stick around for the whole tournament so we're hoping they each had better luck in their later matches.

Today is Miss Sheri and I's 23rd wedding anniversary and we celebrated it by going out to breakfast.  Because that's the kind of thing you do when you've been married for 23 years.