June 26, 2017

The Wedding of Dr. Justin and Bailey Hartman

The Wedding of Dr. Justin and Bailey Hartman

Luke and Avery have been having a good time this summer since graduating spending a lot of time with friends.

On Thursday, my family and I flew to Dallas, Texas.

The reason we were there was to celebrate the wedding of my niece, Bailey, and her new husband, Justin Hartman.  They're so darn happy together.

The wedding was at the Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas.  It  is an inspiring place for a ceremony with a 289 acre wildlife sanctuary in the background.

The couple had a great idea to set up a selfie station in front of the museum, but we just kept knocking it out of the tree.

It was great seeing Uncle Cliff.  He always made me laugh when we grew up together, so it's nice to see he has the same effect on my boys.

We had the pleasure of meeting the parents of the groom at the rehearsal dinner.  They were wonderful people named Barry and Tammy Hartman.  We had such fun meeting them and their family members who made the journey to McKinney.

On Saturday, we all dressed up in our Sunday best and were excited to help celebrate Justin and Bailey's wedding.

These six cousins have grown up together for the past 17 years or so.  They love getting together, but this was a first for them to be celebrating one of their marriages!

It was fantastic to get to spend the weekend with my mom and sisters.  We've been through a lot together so it's always nice when we come to see each other for such a happy occasion.

Soon enough, the ceremony began and we  had a chance to see all the beautiful people make their way down the aisle.

Pretty soon, the groom and his groomsmen were at the altar anticipating the arrival of the bride.

Eli kind of missed his cue to turn when he arrived at the aisle and just kept marching forward.  He was pretty darn cute when he course corrected and came my way.

Cliff and my sister split up quite a few years ago and David has been Bailey's step-dad almost ever since.  We thought it was pretty special then when they both ended up walking Bailey down the aisle to be with her groom.  

The ceremony was beautiful, the temperature was just right, and you could sense a special feeling of happiness for this couple as they read their vows to one another.

Bailey and Justin have a whole lot of people who love them and it was a really great day getting to see them all being together.

They asked me to be the emcee at the reception which was right up my alley.  I worked with Ivan and Adrienne as they DJ'd the event and kept the schedule of events on track.  We made a great team!

A special shout-out to my brother in law, Cliff, and his beautiful wife, Claudia.  We never get to see each other enough when we get together, but it always so nice to see them.

We watched the bride and groom do their first dance of the evening and then we joined them and danced the rest of the night away.

Congratulations, Bailey and Justin!!

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!