July 30, 2017

A 2017 Family Reunion in Iowa

A 2017 Family Reunion in Iowa 
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 30, 2017

On Sunday night, we drove to downtown St. Paul to CHS Field to watch the St. Paul Saints take on the Salina Stockade.

We went with our good friends, Jen & Scott Fowler.  None of us are huge baseball fans, but we are fans of drinking beers and eating stadium food on a sunny Sunday in St. Paul.

We made some new friends along the way, although they ended up proving to be just a little bit annoying.

The home team played well and ended up defeating the visiting team from Salina by a score of 7-2.  That'll Learn 'em.

On Monday night, we took a late afternoon boat ride with our old buddies, the Zitzewitz Family.

We've been telling them about the island with all the crazy birds on it, but they wanted to see it for themselves.  They weren't disappointed.  The birds were still there.  And they were still crazy.

We even saw a loon which is a relatively rare event on Prior Lake as they usually hang out farther North than us.  Not sure if this guy was sick or something because he wasn't doing a lot of moving around, but maybe he was just sleepy.  That's what we were hoping anyways.

We stopped at Charlie's on Prior to get some pizza and appetizers to give us some more energy for the rest of the boat ride.  It takes some stamina to conquer those waves.

We let the food properly settle and then took a dip at Candy Cove.  We had the lake pretty much to ourselves which was nice.

On Friday, we drove down to Iowa for the 2017 Timmerman Family Reunion.  We had family members from California, Colorado, and New Mexico make the trip.  It was a ton of fun seeing everyone!

Miss Sheri's mom, Leona, was a Timmerman and had 7 brothers and sisters which make for a lot of cousins, nieces, and nephews.  Unfortunately, we lost three of those siblings over the past few years which made things bitter sweet, but it was so nice having the chance to see everyone again like we used to at great family reunions from the past.

Luke and I had fun taking Blue for walks around the farm.  We were a little nervous when we got there because the corn was so tall that we feared if he went into the fields we might never find him again, but we had nothing to worry about.  He had no interest at going into the corn.  That's where the Children live.

We also had fun walking along the river in Rock Rapids.  We've been doing this since the boys were all very little, but they never seem to lose the fascination of traveling across the rocks in front of the falls.  I still get nervous about them falling in even though they are much, much bigger than they used to be when we'd do this.

  Here's some of the fun people who made it to the reunion:

It was great seeing everyone!!!

July 23, 2017

Canterbury Downs 2017

Canterbury Downs 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 23, 2017

It was my 47th birthday this week so we spent a lot of time celebrating the fact that I'm really, really old.

On Wednesday night, we went out to eat with Grandma Linda and her friend Mike.  We went for some Australian food which was quite good and apparently very authentic.  You want a little Shrimp on the Barbie, do ya?

The best part was the free dessert they gave me.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to dig in to it.

On my actual birthday, we went to our favorite restaurant, Benihana.  William was our chef and he did a great job at chopping up our food.    It's SOOO good.

He even made us a special little flower for my birthday.  Which was nice.

On Friday night, we hooked up with our good friends, Jason and Jen, for a trip to Canterbury Downs.

Those horses run really, really fast.  The only hard part is guessing which ones are going to run the fastest.

I try to think I have some skill at picking horses, but my technique would probably be roundly criticized by people who know what they are doing.  I usually start by looking at their names and pick the ones that inspire me most.  If that doesn't work, then I go down and watch them walk around the circle before heading out to the track.  If any of them buck off their jockey, I pick that one because you know it's extra spunky.

Jen is a high roller and buddies with one of the horse owners, so she got us access to the owner's suites where we finished off the rest of our night.  I was kind of hoping when I heard this that would mean free booze and food, but no such luck.  They were good seats, though!

On Saturday night, we had the honor to attend Thomas Nguyen's graduation party.  He and the boys have been friends for many years now and we are excited  for him to graduate and to see what the future has in store for him.

The food at their party was SOO good!  I really need to go on a diet soon.  I just have too many good opportunities to eat!

July 16, 2017

Todd Swank's Vine Videos

This is Todd Swank's archive of VIne Videos. Vine was a short-form video hosting service where users could share six-second-long looping video clips. It launched in 2012 and stopped allowing new videos in 2016. I created more than 250 videos in those 4 years and here they are in one 25 Minute Video.

Luke & Avery's 18th Birthday

Luke & Avery's 18th Birthday
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 16, 2017

On Monday night, I connected with my old buddy, Tom Gray.  He's doing great and we had a pleasant conversation catching up on each other's lives.  Plus, we ate at Chili's which always makes for a great evening.

On Wednesday morning, we were invited to the Prior Lake Rotary Club meeting.  Avery was honored to receive a scholarship from the organization and they had him come in so they could present it.  It was a very proud moment for us.

During the meeting, we had the pleasure of sitting with the Superintendent of Prior Lake & Savage Area Schools, Dr. Teri Staloch.  She's always very nice to our family.

On Thursday night, Grandma Linda stopped by to wish Luke & Avery an early Happy Birthday.  She brought a cookie cake so we were all very excited to welcome her in with open arms.  Even Blue couldn't keep his eyes off of it.

This is my workplace.  I work for Oracle selling enterprise software and my office is in the middle of downtown Minneapolis.   So this is my regular view on most weekdays.

On Friday, my buddy, Mike, and I walked down to US Bank Stadium.

The X Games were taking place there this weekend and I was hoping if we wandered down, we might be able to sneak in and see some of the action.

We didn't have any luck, though.  They had everything pretty well fenced off and there didn't seem to be much going on inside yet.  I watched some of the events on TV, though, and it looked like it was a pretty cool place to be.

On Friday, Luke & Avery officially turned 18 years old and a couple of friends came over to go to Mystic Lake Casino with them.  It's like one of the only new privileges you get when you turn 18 and they didn't want to waste any time going there to check out the place.  Their friends were curious to see how many times Luke would get carded and they weren't disappointed.  They had security come up to them on 5 different occasions to request ID.  It's the little things that get us excited.

Later that night, the boys had several more friends over to see what kind of mischief they could create.  

Happy Birthday, Luke & Avery!!

On Saturday, we went boating with our good friends, Jen & Dan Walters.  It was really, really hot and the only place that sounded fun to go was in the water!

We went out to Candy Cove and swam around with other boaters as well as some ducks and fish.  The water felt extremely refreshing.

On the way back home, we stopped at a bird party.  These guys get pretty rowdy so you gotta watch out when you're around them.

This guy kept giving us an awkward eye so we got out of there.  We weren't looking for any trouble.

We ended the evening at Red Lobster for a little Crabfest.  Usually Miss Sheri and I do our best to avoid crabs, but when we're with the Walters, it's anything goes.

July 9, 2017

Glewwe Castle Brewery Open House

Glewwe Castle Brewery Open House
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 9, 2017

On Friday night, we went to the Lakeville Car Cruise to visit Grandma Linda and her friend, Mike.  Mike has a 1968 Imperial convertible that he likes to bring to various shows.  Apparently it's 1 of only 2000 that were manufactured.  It's really big and unlike any other convertibles I've ever seen.

There were old cars there and also new ones like this Dodge Viper.  I think I'd look good in a car like this.

Later that night we went to our friends, The Korkowskis. 

Luke, Adam, and Jackson were pretty excited to be there.

We went swimming in the pool and ate dinner together.  Not at the same time, though.

When we were all done, we did our best to clean up after ourselves.  It can be pretty challenging to do that, but we try hard.

Saturday morning brought us to the movies to see the new Spiderman: Homecoming.  Avery said he thought it was the best Spiderman movie ever made and I think I'd have to agree with him.  Although I'm not 100% positive that I've seen every Spiderman movie ever made especially if any were ever made in other countries or back when there were only silent movies.  

We went to Sarah Patrick's graduation party which was fun.  Sarah is going to go to school to be a nurse next year which is really cool in case I get hurt in the future I will know who to call.

Saturday night brought us to Arden Hills to Victoria Bailey's "Welcome to the World" party.  We had the joy of seeing a bunch of Hornbuckles and other friends while we were there which is always a good time.

On Sunday, we went to the Glewwe Castle Brewery open house.  Details of which can be seen here.  Mark and Laurel Glewwe have been good friends to the Prior Lake robotics program so we and some of the other robotics parents thought it would be fun to go to their open house.

The Country Squirrels played some tunes for us.  They were a pleasant sounding band which made for an enjoyable afternoon out in the country.

Mark is a brew master who creates a wide variety of soda, beer and wines many of which are quite tasty!  If you're in Prior Lake, you can see Mark at the farmer's market or go to one of his open houses and experience it for yourself.