Tag Archives: Elvis on the Shelvis

Merry Christmas All and To All a Good Night~ Elvis Has Left the Building

26 Dec

“Christmas magic is silent. You don’t hear it ā€” you feel it. You know it. You believe it.”

~Kevin Alan Milne


The house is always joyous and exciting on Christmas morning when there are little ones. The girls slept a little less ne’er than usual this morning, mostly because they both did some crying, and waking during the night. Everyone is still sick. This includes Gamma.

But, we all managed to open mounds of presents and throw wrapping paper all around. This is my beautiful family. I am truly blessed.

We all went to lunch at a local Chinese restaurant as per tradition.

” Where’s the food, folks! I’m getting hungry.”

After lunch, it was a perfect day for a walk. Who would ever think that the Chicago area would be sunny and in the 50’s on Christmas Day? I don’t think anyone was disappointed that there was no white Christmas.

We spent a couple of hours making Christmas cookies. There’s a funny story that goes along with that. I’ll have to save that for tomorrow.

Now, the children are nestled and snug in their beds while the grown ups are watching tv and shaking their heads, “All this commotion for one day?” Yes, and making new memories and following old traditions,

Back to the real world. And, I guess my last day of Elvis on the Shelvis.

Elvis has left the building. Merry Christmas from Elvis on the Shelvis…

Tuesday:) Toni’s Christmas Eve and Elvis On The Shelvis Waiting For Santa

25 Dec

“Christmas gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us.”

~David Cameron


It was a beautiful sunny morning, so the family bundled up the little ones and thy went to the park. I stayed home to wrap a few presents. They’re still not 100% after colds and ear infections, but everyone was hoping a little fresh air would do them some good. It was in the 50’s, which is SO unusual for this late in December.

I think the fresh air did the trick. The girls took a morning nap and when they got up Daddy, Belle and I walked down to the Dairy Queen for french fries.

A lot of other activities during the course of the day. There was cookie decorating, dancing, playing, making homemade pizzas, lighting the Menorah candles, changing the Advent calendar, reading, painting, and visiting with Nana. Of course, there were intermittent bouts of crying, fussing, whining, and watching Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol. Ah, the joys of parenthood. I certainly could not do this again…I’m too old.

It was a good day. I’m sure there’s still a lot to do before morning. There are presents to finish wrapping and put under the tree, and stockings to be filled.

Speaking of Christmas stockings…

Day 15~ Elvis on the Shelvis. Elvis is checking out his Christmas stocking that Santa brought him when he came down the chimney. Look! Elvis got a new guitar. Now, he won’t have a “Blue Christmas.”

Merry Christmas Eve, my friends.

Sunday Sermon, Family, and Hanukkah With Elvis on the Shelvis

23 Dec

“Happy is the son whose faith in his mother remains unchallenged.”

Louisa May Alcott


Everyone got a little more sleep than usual last night. The baby and three year old only woke and cried a couple of times during the night, as opposed to a zillion times like the last few nights. Everyone has been sick, cranky, stuffy and feverish, including Gamma.

The girls were fairly manageable this morning, so my son Joe and I went to 9:30 Mass at St. Norbert’s, while mommy stayed home with the girls. I always feel very special and blessed when I’m able to attend Mass with my son.

Today was especially nice because the Gospel reading was about St. Joseph.

When Joseph learned that Mary was with child before their marriage, an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary for his wife because she would bear a son conceived by the Holy Spirit.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke,

he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him

and took his wife into his home.

Well, there might be a lot of controversy about what actually happened or didn’t happen, and questions. So, my take on it is… the story of Joseph having faith in the Lord, and obeying His command showed that his faith was more important than any controversy or possible conflict. He was a good man, a good husband, a good father, and obedient to God. That’s all that matters.

St, Joseph is the Patron Saint of several things including fathers, families, travelers, working people, and of the dying, But, I like to think of him as the role model for all men. I was honored to be at church today with my son Joseph, who is a good son, a good husband, a good father, and a good man.

“Happy is the son whose faith in his mother remains unchallenged.” I certainly hope and pray that my sons will always have faith in their mother.

When we got back, the baby was napping, and all was well… for a while. There’s a lot of hustle bustle chaos in a house with two little ones, especial when they’re sick. I try to help out where I can, but sometimes they just want mommy or daddy.

In the evening, Joe took the baby up for the night and rocked her a while. Then, about twenty minutes later, she woke up crying. I said, “Let Gamma go up this time.” I took her from her crib and rocked her in the chair and sang a few songs. She fell asleep in my arms after a while. But, I sat there another half hour or so longer, just enjoying every Gamma minute. I’ll blink and she’ll be grown and married and a mother herself.

A good Sunday.

Day 13~ Elvis on the Shelvis. Elvis celebrating the first day of Hanukkah and having a “Blue Christmas.”

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Sick Gamma and Some More Elvis on the Shelvis.

22 Dec

“If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, Iā€™d have had them first. ”

~Lois Wyse


Well, I knew it was too good to last. After holding sick babies for a couple of weeks, Gamma is officially pretty darn sick. The good thing is, the girls are already sick, so I can’t give them anything they haven’t already shared with me.

Mommy took the baby back to the doctor this morning. Last week he couldn’t find anything warranting medication. Today, oh boy, double ear infection. No wonder she couldn’t sleep and screamed all night. Hopefully, she will perk up soon and not keep Mommy and Daddy up all night again. Not so sure about Gamma getting better soon, šŸ¤¦ā€ā™€ļø

Doesn’t it seem that everyone gets sick during the holidays or on vacation?

But, even not feeling well, the grandchildren are such a blessing and always able to make me smile. Even the fierce pirate kind.

Day 12~ Elvis on the Shelvis. Serenading “Snoofy” Santa by the fireplace. (The 3 year old calls them Snoofy and Elvie.

Then today, I was delighted when my old friend from high school posted a picture of her own Elvis on the Shelvis. Thanks for sharing Jolene. Keep ’em coming.

Hope you had a great Saturday.

Friday:) Family Adventures and More…Yes…More Elvis on the Shelvis

21 Dec

“Love is staying up all night with a sick child- or a healthy adult.”

~David Frost


The baby still had a temperature this morning, so Gamma stayed home with her today. I love Gamma duty. We spent a lot of quality bonding time. Shortly after Mommy and Daddy went off to work, I gave her some breakfast. She squealed a little, then barfed all over Gamma, all over the high chair, and herself. Poor baby, still with a constant raspy cough. I changed her and wiped her down from head to toe, and did the best I could with my clothing. It was almost time for a nap, so I rocked her and sang a few off tune songs until she drifted off. I was able to get into the shower when she went down, and wash a load of clothes.

She woke up in very good spirits, and we played and talked and sang. An afternoon nap allowed Gamma to finish some laundry, straighten up a little and make something to eat. (Leftover deep dish pizza. Yum!)

When I sat there in the quiet dark room, rocking my beautiful granddaughter, all I could think of was, “Hold her close and never let her go. I’ll blink and she’ll be all grown up.” Mom used to say that to me when my boys were babies, and I thought I’d never survive the trials of motherhood. She was right. Now, my babies are grown, and I’m a Gamma. It’s a wonderful occupation.

Hey, I should remember that. Sometimes people ask me, “So, what do you do?” I should say, “I’m a Gamma.”

Day 11~ Elvis on the Shelvis. “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog,”

And now, my friends, it’s Friday. Black Russian Friday. Well, not exactly. Gamma has been around the sick babies for over two weeks. Guess what! Gamma has a cold now. No cough yet, but a bad runny nose, watery eyes, and a sore throat. And you know what else? I wouldn’t change a thing. So, I’m doing the virgin version Black Russian. A little chocolate ice cream and chocolate milk always helps.

Cheers, my friends!

Thursday:) There’s Nothing Better Than Old Friends and More Elvis On The Shelvis

20 Dec

“There’s nothing better than old friends, except maybe old friends shopping all day, and stopping for Chicago deep dish pizza.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Wow! I am blessed with the greatest friends. Debbie and I met somewhere around 1977 while we were both teaching at Conrady Junior High. That was a zillion years ago. She is one of the kindest, most generous and outgoing people I have ever met. My sons, now in their 30’s, still call her Auntie Debbie, and even though she isn’t a blood relative, she is truly family. When I’m in town, she always goes out of her way to visit.

Debbie drove all the way in from Chicago out to Northbrook to spend the day with me, over an hour each way, We had no shopping agenda planned. We got on the road and just stopped at any and every store that struck our fancy. Trader Joe’s, Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, Ulta, just to name a few. Our ultimate destination was Pizano’s Pizza in Glenview. There were a lot of stores on the way there and back.

There’s nothing like Chicago pizza, deep dish or thin crust. It’s the best. You can’t get pizza like this in Texas, my friend.

Da Bears! The place had a zillion Chicago sports pictures, autographs and memorabilia everywhere.

Thanks for a fun day and a great visit, Auntie Debbie.


Day 10~ Elvis on the Shelvis. Thirsty Thursday~ Elvis Having a cold beer on the Shelvis.

Wednesday With Old Friends and Day 9~ Elvis on the Shelvis

19 Dec

“I love coming back home and seeing old friends and family. I would say it keeps me grounded.”

~Coy Bowles


I spent most of the morning entertaining and holding my one year old grand-daughter who still wasn’t feeling well. She finally fell asleep in my arms. I was afraid to move her, so there I sat for an hour and a half or more. It was nice Gamma bonding time,

My friend Vicky was picking me up around 1 pm, and we were going to visit and have tea and she made some of my all time favorite, her homemade baklava. Then, we were meeting our old bowling team and long-time bestest girlfriends for dinner at 6.

Vicky was kind enough to pick me up from my son’s house and chauffeur me around today. When we arrived at her house, I said, “I hope you have plenty of food. I’m starving, and I may pass out in your kitchen.” I knew that would get her going. She brought out an extensive variety of her homemade Middle Eastern specialties that I can’t pronounce, and it was all delicious. I started with a couple of pieces of the baklava sitting on the counter while she cooked up a storm. “Life is short. Eat dessert first.” Normally, I’m pretty reserved about asking for food or drink at people’s houses, but not at Vicky’s.

After a great meal, leisurely tea, dessert and conversation, we went into her family room to see her decorations. Of course, her tree is her focal point, and also a homage to Miss Toni. Most of her ornaments are my hand-painted personalized ornaments that she has collected over the years. I think she said the earliest one she has is from around 2001. I paint a different one every year, and she had many with her children’s names, too. There were dozens. So, we needed to take a selfie.

When we were clearing the dishes and getting the tea ready, Vicky noticed the beautiful sunset outside her kitchen window. Another photo op. Sunset in Buffalo Grove.

Our next stop was D & J Bistro in Lake Zurich to meet our old bowling team. We had a marvelous meal and exchanged wonderful gifts. You’ll be proud of me. I didn’t even take a picture of my food. But, we did take a group picture.

Lin, Vivian, Diane, Vicky and yours truly. Our annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange. The nicest group of ladies you’ll ever find.

“I love coming back home and seeing old friends and family. I would say it keeps me grounded.” Coy Bowles. I agree with Coy.

Now, More Elvis.

Day 9~ Elvis on the Shelvis. Elvis “Hanging” out with some friends, just having a ball.

Tuesday:) Toni’s On Gamma Duty and More Elvis on the Shelvis

18 Dec

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”

~Albert Einstein


My little one year old granddaughter had a tough night and woke up with a fever this morning. I offered to stay home with the baby so mommy didn’t have to take a day off of work. Grandmas are almost as good as mommies. It’s just a little tougher with babies. They want their mommy when they are sick.

Her poor little face was so sad this morning and there was some fussing and crying for a while, but I found singing to her stopped her crying. Funny! I normally get the opposite reaction when I sing…people usually start crying.

We played and sang and ate some breakfast. She took her first nap around 9 am, (she was crying most the night and up around 6 am, so she was tired.) The second nap was around 2. By afternoon, she was feeling much better.

Grandmas have the best jobs.

Now, for Elvis on the Shelvis. Day 8 Tuesday on the toaster. “I’m in trouble if anyone turns this thing on. Toasty tushie time.”

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

Montage Monday and More Elvis on the Shelvis

17 Dec

“Nothing purchased can come close to the renewed sense of gratitude for having family and friends.”

~Courtland Milloy


Another week flying by. Time with family and friends. A week in a peek..

And let’s not forget, another exciting adventure with ELVIS ON THE SHELVIS.

Day 7 ~ Elvis on the Shelvis. Elvis is sitting on a Shelvis, serenading Sergeant Elijah Armenta with a rousing rendition of G.I. Blues .

Happy Monday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Elvis Still on the Shelvis

16 Dec

“The familiar rituals of faith are what calms the soul.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


The alarm didn’t sound. I woke up before 7am to get ready for 8 o’clock Mass at St. Thomas More. It was a little bitter-sweet. This was Mom’s old parish in Elgin. It made me feel a little closer to her, somehow. It’s been almost two years since she went to heaven. A few tears slipped down my face. But, it was good.

Father was funny this morning. When he went up to the pulpit to begin Mass, he said solemnly addressing the congregation. ” I have to notify you all of a very serious situation that you may not be aware of.” Everyone was silent as he paused for a goodly length of time. Then he said, “You may not be aware… but… I am a die-hard Packer fan.” Everyone laughed, then started to “boo” the smiling priest. This is Bear country and the Packers we’re playing the Bears today, always a huge rivalry. (PS. The Packers did win later, 21-13. I guess Father had some insider info from upstairs.)

Today’s sermon was the story of John the Baptist in prison, asking his disciples to ask Jesus if he was “the one to come.” Jesus confirmed this and proclaimed John the greatest man that came before him.

Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;

he will prepare your way before you.

My take on it… well, I’m not sure. Maybe that John the Baptist prepared the way and prepared the people for Jesus. He wasn’t sure, but he had faith and believed the Lord was coming. I guess we have to have blind faith sometimes too.

Also, it was a good Mass, with all the familiar songs and prayers. And, father was pretty funny. At the end of the service, when all were blessed and getting ready to leave, the Deacon said, “Go Bears!” Father said with a grin, “You know we have other Deacons that can take your place,”

I took a selfie with Father after Mass. I also stayed afterwards to take a few photos of the lovely church, and talk to a couple of Mom’s old friends. It was nice.

After church, I drove back to my sister’s and got packed up for my return visit with the grandchildren. She drove me Northbrook and we visited a while. I’ll be here till after Christmas. Thanks Jo.

Now, for ….

Day 6 of Elvis on the Shelvis.

Happy Sunday, my friends.