It is becoming something of a Christmas Tradition for us to see Dr. Singh right before the holiday. He is our family's personal hero and has been the boy's cardiologist since Miss Sheri was only 3 months pregnant. We like to plan visits to the heart clinic and Children's Hospital during the holidays as a sort of an homage to the challenges the boy's have conquered in their lives. Since we had a serious scare that Luke wasn't going to make it to see his first Christmas 8 years ago, we recognize that every holiday we have with our sons is a blessing!!
I remember a day when just bringing Luke near someone wearing a doctor or nurse's uniform would cause him to burst into an uncontrollable rage of screaming and crying. So it's really nice to see him come so far that he can actually smile while getting his blood drawn!
Sadly, it wasn't all good news for us at this doctor's appointment. We'd believed after Avery's heart defect was repaired a few years ago that he was out of the woods and we wouldn't have to worry about his heart again. I guess this isn't going to be the case. His Echocardiogram revealed that his right atrium is enlarged which is a side effect of the Pulmonary Artery banding he had when he was 6 months old. So now he has to take new medicine every day and go back to see Dr. Singh in 6 months. Although we've been told this is mostly just precautionary to prevent bad things from happening to him, it still adds to our worry list.
Lucky for the boys, they don't really worry about their hearts. They just worry about when the heck they get to open their presents! We spent Christmas at Miss Sheri's parents this year and Luke and Avery were very excited to discover that Santa had arrived at the farm on Christmas Eve after we came home from church. That Santa sure is a sneaky guy!
Grandma Linda accompanied us to Iowa to celebrate the holiday. The boys liked this very much because whenever they yelled Grandma, they'd get two people to jump to their aid!
Nothing like loud toys to make Christmas an especially festive time of year!
On Sunday, we traveled with the cousins to the Sioux Center All Seasons Center. They have an awesome aquatic facility complete with water slides, diving boards, a hot tub, and a bunch of fun things for the kids to do. Talk about a great way to celebrate Christmas! I even hummed "Jingle Bells" while going to the bathroom in the hot tub!
The boys loved hopping back and forth on the lily pads. I also noticed they spread holiday cheer by knocking some other kids off of them when they tried to go by! Merry Christmas!
I tried navigating the green floaty things also, but just didn't have a lot of luck. As my belly continues to get larger, I have more and more difficulty finding my exact center of gravity!
The Swank Family 2007 Christmas Letter is now online!
Merry Christmas and Happy
Shortarmguy and Miss Sheri spent last Saturday night attending the Nor-tech Christmas Party. It sure did get us in the holiday mood. We couldn't stop Ho Ho Ho-ing all night!
Nor-tech President, Dr. David Bollig and his wife, Cynthia, welcomed guests to the party at the Royal Cliff in Eagan, Minnesota. Once everyone arrived, they locked the doors behind them and ran out of the building as quickly as they could. I'm guessing it must have been a little scary to see all of their employees sitting together in one room like that.
We partied with our old friends, Shortarmguy Stalker Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy and his lovely wife, Melissa. These kids are a bit rough to keep up with because they get a little crazy. But we do our best.
I thought that Melissa wasn't feeling well when she suddenly decided to show me her throat. I looked at it and didn't see any signs of strep or anything. She must not have been too worried about it, though, because after I took this picture she just smiled at me and walked away.
Later in the night, my friend Sean also decided to show me his throat which started to make me nervous that perhaps something was going around. Alas I didn't notice any swollen glands, excess redness on the walls of his mouth or any pus covering his tonsils which can be indicators of strep, but I still wanted to take precautions. So I was real careful washing my hands for the rest of the night.
My co-worker, Dave, must have been feeling the same way I was. He came up to me at the bar and showed me that he also had been washing his hands a lot. Good for him for trying to stay healthy!
On Monday night, a few of my co-workers and I had a special treat. We went to see our beloved Minnesota Vikings give a beating to the Chicago Bears. The Metrodome was absolutely electric as we cheered on the Purple and Gold as they extended their current winning streak to 5 games.
Before the game started, I was lucky enough to run into the Bears Defensive Superstar, Brian Urlacher! Although I was a little surprised to find him standing outside in line with the rest of us, I knew it was him because of the way he towered over the crowd. I was a bit nervous asking him to pose for this picture with me. I figured he was in "intense game mode" and just might tackle me there on the spot!
On the field, we were excited to see Chicago's Superstar Return specialist, Devin Hester. Although he ran several balls back for good distance, the Studly Vikings held him in check and never allowed him to return one to the end zone. That was a good thing!
Although the visiting team gave us fits throughout the game, the Vikings prevailed 20-13 led by Rookie Sensation Running Back, Adrian Peterson. While taking this photo, I was quite tempted to jump the gate and hop onto his back so I could ride him through one of his exhilarating runs. That would have been awesome!
I was also tempted to jump the gate during this photo as well, but I can't really remember why.
On Sunday, the Shortarmguy Family went to Bloomington to visit the Waterpark of America. This 75,000 square foot water park offers all sorts of fun ways to get wet and wild.
Grandma really wanted to do the Family Raft Ride, so since that was the first thing we encountered, we decided to start the day off with it. Big mistake. Because it was labeled a "Family" raft ride, we thought it would be relatively tame. We even asked the attendant if it was rough and they said no. But it was bad advertising. This massive slide is 10 stories tall and the tube runs for more than a mile! Grandma, Luke, Avery, Miss Sheri and I packed ourselves into a raft and were pushed into the water-coaster from hell! We zipped around corners, flew down big hills, and sloshed into pitch black caverns! Luke held on for dear life as we flew down faster and faster, riding the walls higher and higher until I swore we were going to flip the raft. We made it to the bottom, but the ride took it's toll on us. Miss Sheri, Avery and I went on a couple more slides, but Luke had enough and wouldn't try another one for the rest of the day. Guess we should have started off a bit slower!
I did most of the big slides, but wasn't brave enough to tackle the Flow Rider Surf Simulator. I'm quite certain I would have busted my skull. It sure looked like a lot of fun, though. Maybe I'll grow a pair and give it a shot next time.
We spent a good portion of the day in the lazy river and the hot tub. There weren't many thrills to be had there, but at least we didn't have to fear rolling down a tube on top of one another!
It's kind of weird going to the pool with my new tattoo. People always used to stare at me when I had my shirt off before I had the art, but now I get different kinds of looks. I'm guessing people are thinking, "What the Hell is that all about?"
Luke and Avery started basketball a couple weeks ago. It's a whole new ball game from the last time we gave this sport a shot. The refs are now calling fouls and penalties for things like double dribbling. Practices are also a lot more intense than they used to be. Yesterday, Avery made his first basket in a game which was pretty cool. Even if we did lose 36 to 11!
Luke had a moral victory of his own. He played the entire game without getting hurt! In last week's game, he got steamrolled by a couple other kids and banged his head on the floor. Angry Luke made an appearance and decided he'd had enough basketball for that day. But he was a trooper and got back on the floor to give it another shot this week. Now we just have to teach him how to get the ball and we'll be in business.
We celebrated Grandma Linda's 65th Birthday this week. We were all so excited that she's finally legal! For Medicare, that is. Health insurance is expensive so this was a day we'd all been counting down!
I accompanied her to her company's Christmas Party and discovered she works with a bunch of wild women! Mom and I danced for a few songs and if I do say so myself, we rocked the joint! The American Legion is probably still recovering!
On Monday Night, the Shortarmguy Family went to see The Nutcracker Suite at the Downtown Minneapolis Dayton's.....err...Marshall Fields....err...Macy's. It was pretty lame. Although the displays featuring a variety of characters, costumes, and animations were very well done, the story of the Nutcracker is just soooooo boring! A little boy breaks his sister's Nutcracker and then she falls asleep and has an Acid Trip dream about a Prince fighting some crazy mouse. I just don't get it.
After walking through the display, we had a chance to stop by to see an old friend of ours by the name of Santa. Although Mr. Claus seemed quite excited to see us, Santa's helpers weren't quite so nice. They told us we could only take 1 photo with our own camera because we didn't want to buy any of theirs. Since when did visits to Santa become all about selling over priced pictures?
On Wednesday night, Miss Sheri and I had the opportunity to go watch the Minnesota Wild get spanked by the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. The game started off nice enough as we were greeted by new Minnesota Gophers basketball coach, Tubby Smith, and his exclamation "Let's Play Hockey!" The excitement was all pretty much downhill from there.
We did have the joy of sitting next to famed Shortarmguy Stalker, Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy and his Father in Law, Jim. Jim was a very nice chap who told me that he retired on April's Fool's Day. He is spending his time building a new addition to his garage and is absolutely loving retired life. I told him he raised a hell of a good daughter but he should have taught her how to pick a good husband as well. That Steve guy is pretty scary!
On Thursday, known enemy to Shortarmguy, Nick Rahman, did the Blazin' Challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings in Apple Valley. It was pretty disgusting to watch. But don't just take my word for it, I put together the following video so you could share the joy with me:
On Friday night, the Nor-tech Gang connected for a little bit of wackiness at Primetime Sports Bar & Grill in Burnsville. There was quite a bit of socializing and even a little bit of drinking involved. I have no idea what these shots were, but I'm sure they were pretty tasty.
The evening was sponsored by a couple of our old friends, Brad Nelson and Jiten Gori. There was an awful lot of good business discussed on this night which I'm sure will bring about a tremendous amount of ROI for each of their respective companies. Thanks, guys!!
Turns out photography and Shortarmguy Stalking aren't the only areas where Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy excels. He's also a heck of a Darts Player. Steve needed three consecutive Bulls-Eyes to win his match and By Gum, he did just that!
I like this picture. I don't know why. I just do.
On this night, we were lucky enough to be joined by the Godfather of Nor-tech, Mr. Jeff Olson. It seems like whenever we go out with Jeff, it ends up being a very late night with many fun and exciting events that end up being just fuzzy memories by the next morning. That's pretty much what happened on this night as well.
Late in the evening, Brad made a couple of new friends who were very nice guys. They told us if we really wanted to have a good time, we should go dancing at O'Malleys in Prior Lake. What a great suggestion that turned out to be!!
We danced until the wee hours in the morning and then Miss Sheri drove everyone home. Although we didn't have the chance to tuck everyone in to their beds, we're confident they all had visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads as they drifted off to sleep.
The Shortarmguy Family went to Downtown Dazzle in Downtown Prior Lake on Friday night. With a temperature reading of about 15 degrees, we celebrated winter by viewing a parade, seeing fireworks, and visiting local businesses for some holiday treats. I think Grandma Linda must really enjoy the cold weather, because every five minutes she would continually remind us just exactly how cold it was outside.
The parade basically consisted of a variety of vehicles decorated in Christmas lights. Night parades are always a little lame, but we had a nice time waving at the floats as they drove by us. A few of them even threw candy which the boys liked, until they discovered that their tongues became frozen to the candy canes the second after they licked them!
Fireworks in the dead of winter are always a treat! Miss Sheri and the boys Oohed and Aahed and shivered with the rest of the crowd lining the streets.
D Copperfield Jeweler had the best treats downtown! Not only did they have meats, cheeses, and sweets, but they also set up a bar in the corner and served wine to the masses! Talk about a great way to get me excited about a business! I told them I'm going to come there every week, get drunk, and buy a bunch of diamond products!
Saturday brought us about 6 inches of snow which made Miss Sheri really happy! She just loves shoveling while I take pictures!
Sunny stays busy by following the shovels around and trying to catch as much snow as he can before it hits the ground. He literally had icicles hanging off every inch of his face, but insisted on eating more and more snow. I don't think that dog is quite right in the head.
After we cleared the driveway, we ventured to a local park for a little bit of sledding action. After about an hour, Miss Sheri decided to stay warm in the van while the boys insisted on tackling the hills over and over again.
Avery has graduated to snowboarding from sledding. Although he's still learning the basics, he did pretty good and only buried his face in the snow a couple of times.
This is a picture we took at Nor-tech earlier this week. I'm holding up one of our brand new Mountable PC's which is generating a lot of interest for our company. Basically, it's every bit as powerful as a standard tower PC, but has been engineered to fit into a tiny little case which can be mounted on the back of a monitor, on to a wall, an assembly line, in a kiosk, a cabinet, or anywhere you'd want to mount a PC. Not sure if any of you care about this kind of thing, but I think it's neat!
Shortarmguy Diary 2007 Archive
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Shortarmguy Diary 2007 First Half
Shortarmguy Diary 2006
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