Archive | December, 2016

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tiny Angel 

21 Dec

“if god had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.” ― Linda Henley


Yes, more baby pictures. Now that pretty much everyone in McKinney has seen baby pictures of my new granddaughter, I’ve spread my photo sharing to the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Here are a few more. 

This grandma thing is really growing on me. I am blessed. 

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek-A-Boo

20 Dec

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

 – Carl Sandburg


The highlight of my week has been visiting with my two favorite girls…my sweet Mom and my new granddaughter. The most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen. I am blessed beyond belief with an amazing family.

Sunday Sermon and Some Silly Seniors

19 Dec

“You may not be able to turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again!”


I had the pleasure of attending Sunday Mass with Mom where she lives. A very nice volunteer named Tom, officiated the service. Today’s gospel was the story of the angel appearing to Joseph in a dream…the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Joseph obeyed. 

My take on it…often times in life, we are asked to do difficult things. We are often given trials, tribulations, and difficult challenges. Faith, patience, and persistence will get us through the hard times. Lean on family, friends, and your faith.

I made brownies before the service, and took them downstairs, still warm. I put marshmallows and chocolate chips on top before baking. Everyone loved them.


While I’m here visiting with Mom, we are keeping busy. Today was her Christmas party, but she said she didn’t want to go. What? A party! Not go? Her neighbor, Gloria, knocked on the door around 12:30 and said, “Trini, why don’t you have your Christmas outfit on? Where’s your jewelry?” When Mom told her she wasn’t going down for the party, Gloria said, “I’m waiting here until you change into something festive, and we’re going together.”

 I think Mom didn’t want to go down because it was for residents only. No family members or friends were invited. I said, “That’s OK, I’m crashing the party. I like crashing parties.” So, I did. I even told the gal at the desk that I was crashing. We had a great time, singing along with the entertainment, eating all kinds of appetizers, desserts, and drinking champagne. My kind of party. 

Me, Mariane, my mom Trini, and her persistent friend, Gloria.

This gentleman went all out with an entire Christmas suit.

These are special times with my mom. When I look in her eyes, I still see the young active feisty redhead that could run circles around any athlete. Nearly ninety years old, her heart and spirit are still young. When anyone asks who do I admire more than anyone in the world, there is no question. The answer is, MOM.

Saturday With Mom:) Some Snow And Some Other Stuff

18 Dec

“Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.” 

― Steve Maraboli


I never thought I’d miss the snow, but to share the view and the day with my sweet Mom, now, that is a perfect day. This is the view from her balcony window. We are all toasty warm inside…very warm…Mom keeps her thermostat somewhere between 82 degrees and the boiler room of Hades. 

We started off the day with chorizo, potatoes, and eggs wrapped in a warm tortilla. Ah…home cooking and memories.

Then, we took a nap. We have a lot in common with babies. All we do is eat and sleep. Not really. We had some fun painting. (We were being silly, too.)

Mom and I are making memories and making a mess in the kitchen. 

Last night, we had Black Russians. It was Friday night, and that’s my Friday tradition, and Mom was kind enough to join me. 

Extraordinary memories with Mom.

Friday:) Family~ Four Generations

17 Dec

“I see the reflection of my heart and soul in your eyes.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

“What kind of legacy will you leave behind? What will your children and your children’s children say about you? How will you be remembered? Will your life and decisions have inspired others to do better? Life is too short to postpone it – choose to be positive today.” 

― Lindsey Rietzsch


My mother has been my inspiration, role model, and best friend all my life. She has always been there for me. This famous quote from Abraham Lincoln best describes my relationship with Mom. “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” 

I’d like to think that I’ve been a good daughter. I was blessed with two children of my own. Hopefully, I have been an inspiration, role model, and friend to my two sons. They are both talented, smart, and caring grown men. (I know they got that from me.)

Now, my eldest son has recently become a father. I am so excited for him and his lovely wife. There is no question that he will love and cherish his child, and will be an excellent role model to his new baby daughter. 

I can’t wait to get a photo of all four generations together. Coming soon…I hope. This will be a very Merry Christmas.

I look forward to the next generation.

A Very Thankful Thursday

16 Dec

“This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven.” 

― Rick Bragg


Today was a very special day. I held my beautiful granddaughter in my arms for the very first time. My first grandchild, it was love at first sight. When my son put this angel in my arms, joyful tears tickled down my cheeks.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture is worth a million words or more.

Now, this picture is beyond a million words. Priceless!!!

She’s smiling at Grandma.

Wednesday:) What’s For Dinner, Miss Toni?

15 Dec

“Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and the junk food as far away as possble.” ― Krista Scott-Dixon


Sometimes you just have one of those terrible eating days. I’m not generally  a breakfast person. Not that I don’t eat breakfast, I just don’t have it until afternoon. Then, my food choices are not always the wisest. 

Today was a record dietary disaster day. Please don’t judge me! OK, go ahead. I deserve it.

Breakfast: McD yogurt 

Lunch: Ten mini pretzels and a Coke,

Dinner: Big Mac meal

Now, you may scold me. But, in my defense, it was a busy travel day. Not, many choices.

Tuesday:) And The Oscar Goes To… Oscar!

14 Dec

“…talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and with hard work, means everything.” ― Patrick Süskind


When you see a person grow and blossom right before your eyes, it’s a wonderful thing. The TOTS, The Table Of Talent Sisters, as we are known to many in McKinney, have had the opportunity to meet and be friends with a very creative, talented, hard working young man named Oscar. 

We first met Oscar while he was still in high school, waiting tables at Spoon’s. His charismatic nature and award winning smile won over the hearts of all the customers. Our small group of artistic girlfriends immediately became enamored with Oscar and wanted to adopt him. Unfortunately for us, he already had a lovely family. 

From Spoon’s, he moved on to barista at Snug on the Square, then later the night desk clerk at the Grand Hotel. We watched this young man mature and follow his dreams, eventually moving to the east coast a couple of years ago. Now, he has been promoted and works at  a busy Westin Hotel in Philidelphia. Big dreams and a lot of hard work. Thank goodness for Facebook, because we were able to keep in touch and follow his journey from an awkward teenager, to a handsome independent man of the world. 

Today, a few of us TOTS met Oscar for lunch while he was in town for just a few days. The sweet part is, he contacted us, said he missed us all and wanted to get together before he returned to Philly. It’s nice to be missed. But, it was  sad to see him go. 

Buena Suerte. The Oscar goes to…Oscar.

I didn’t remember to take a picture while we were all together. Isn’t he adorable? He is as sweet and charming as he looks.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

13 Dec

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric. — Pam Brown


This was a fun super-duper week with frosting on top. I became a grandmother for the first time Monday night. The little baby girl is fine, healthy, and happy. My son and his lovely wife are now a family, with a special blessing. It was a very good week.

Sunday Sermon, a Sock Monkey, and Other Stuff

12 Dec

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” ― Colette


It was a little chilly this morning, not too bad, but I was hoping to wear my sock monkey hat. Being the silly person that I am, I decided to just go for it. It was so fun to see the expressions of people as they approached the door. Mary and  I were greeting before  9 o’clock Mass, watching their reactions. The children really did a double take, everyone smiled, and a few people said, “I like your hat.”

Today’s Gospel was about John the Baptist, but I was more impressed with the second reading… Jas 5:7-10

“Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient.”

I thought about how patient the farmer is. We should all emulate the life of a farmer. Work hard, nurture and cultivate your crops, rely on the Lord for rain, being patient and waiting a long time before the harvest. Sometimes the rain doesn’t come or the crops are ruined, but the farmer continues to have faith and plants again the next season. He never gives up. Then, he rejoices and is thankful after the harvest.

Also, feeling very thankful and blessed today, I went around after Mass showing friends and strangers alike, pictures of my new granddaughter, Belle. Even Father Don was given a photo presentation. I lit another candle beneath the painting of the Blessed Virgen. This time it was nice to just say thank you and not ask or petition for anything. Being thankful and feeling blessed.

After Mass, Mary invited me to her house for tea and conversation. We had a nice visit. 

The cold grey clouds parted and a cheerful sun took its place. The result was a balmy evening and another spectacular sunset. It was a good Sunday.