Saturday, October 13, 2012

Approximately 9/3/12

Lost time

It's been a while since I posted a new entry.  I have a new laptop and a lot of reorganizing to do.  Pleasant Row has a roof, and Kevin, his dad, and City Suburban are installing geothermal heat/cool system.  Alfred is 11 weeks old, and has consumed a majority of my time.  In fact, I have very little time to write now, and I am hoping to return soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Let me explain...

No no; there is too much.
Let me sum up.

The foundation at Pleasant Row is slowly progressing.  The slow down was primarily because of the holiday weekend and today the weather.  I am trying to control my impatience with focusing on the progress that has been made thus far.  The bid process and attempting to get the best price on materials has been very frustrating.  I am proud that my husband is so persistant about it.  At the current pace I need to expect the box to not be completed until the end of July.  Urg... that makes me stress a little about being so close to delivery of baby Megatron.

The holiday weekend was fantastic.  We had great fun with our friends and family.  It was relaxing and enjoyable.

I sincerely miss frisbee therapy.  I've had overly emotional days recently and could really use a good run/refocus.  At my current weight, that is improbable and would be uncomfortable at the least.  I'll have to continue to use writing as my therapy right now.  It works sometimes.

In just over 9 weeks I will enjoy the world debut of my next son.  I am curious how our world will change that day.  I don't honestly know what to expect.

Miles is 4 and becoming an amazing little man.  He is not shy.  He will introduce himself to everyone.  This has only begun to make me nervous.  Teaching him the difference between strangers and friends is tough, especially right now with all of the contractors working at Pleasant Row.

Ripley is 2 and knows it.  She has developed a tantrum technique as well as some super-cuteness.  Her language development still surprises me.  There is a lot about her that amazes me.  She has taught me a lot about parenting and about raising a young woman.

Next Saturday is the Herkimer County tax auction.  I'm excited to see my friends there.  I'm excited to be there without my kids (hopefully- still have to plan for child care).  There is something I love about the auction that I'm sure is related in some way to Pleasant Row.

I need a good book.  I have so many that I'm just not interested in anymore.  I could stare at house books over and over, but I don't want to get bored with house stuff as it is still quite enjoyable.  So, maybe I'll have to look for something at the library to borrow... ah, the library.  The library is something that I have been neglecting lately.

Back in February, when I took the kids out of Junior Junction - the day care in New Hartford - I thought I'd try to provide a learning environment for my kids each day.  I planned to go to the library every Tuesday.  I planned to help Miles with writing and reading every day.  I planned to teach.  Our current structure is not as I planned.  It's not terrible but not meeting my expectations.  I would like to look at this more closely and adjust if needed.  I'm sure they are gaining something from their experiences without day care, but can I give them more?  Probably.

I also planned to save some money.  This month I have been more aware of spending and tried to cut coupons and cut costs.  It is a work in progress.  I still have a lot to learn.

I also have tons of creative activities I'd like to get back to.  I have windchimes to make, cabinets and rocking chairs to refinish, a sewing machine to fix, and gardening I'd like to work on (berries).  If only I had a schedule - oh wait - I'd ignore the schedule and go with the flow anyway.  I'm not great about maintaining a routine.  That is something I can accept or attempt to modify slightly, but I also need to understand that I won't naturally change that about myself.  My natural tendencies are not bad, but self-improvement is always a good goal.

So, it turns out I explained more that I summed up.  Life is good.  I am learning and growing.  I am imperfect.  My mission in life still is and always will be focused on family, and my family is awesome.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15th (I'm almost 34!)

From May 2012 through October 2012, I will be taking a "break" from real estate. As you may know, no one ever really leaves real estate. My license is active, and I can answer questions and help people on a case by case basis, but my energy during this time will be devoted to family, family, Pleasant Row and family.  Our third baby will arrive in less than 12 weeks!

I have some ideas for fun projects that I may start, and if I do I will post the information about them.  The one I'm focused on today (although I haven't actually started it) is making wind chimes.  I have been missing my creative spark for a while now, and for some reason it returned today.  :-)  Now to encourage it and see it blossom into a creative fire!

Miles and Ripley are playing so nicely right now.  They are playing with cars and joking around and laughing.  I love them so much.

Monday, May 14, 2012


2012 has started with a lot of planning for death.  My grandparents are all deceased now.  The challenge of distribuing ancestral meaningful items is still rearing it's head.  It's a challenge to find out what would be fair.  Who deserves what?  What would grandma want?  My mom died before my grandma, and my grandma was suffering from dementia.  So, stories are lost.  Wishes are lost.  What am I learning from all of this? 

Plan now.  Tell the stories.  Write them down.  If you imagine that something important to you will be passed on to someone, tell them, and tell others, and write it down, and put it in a safe place.  If it has a story, tell it and write it down.  Memories fail.  People who remember the stories die.  In the end, the stuff is just stuff.  The value of the stuff is in its meaning and story.  Find a way to make the meaning more valuable than the monetary value, so everyone in your family can share it and no matter where the stuff ends up, it will all be fair.

Today, Miles said, "My favorite flowers are the yellow ones."  Ripley's response was, "I like the white ones."

The internet lasts forever, right?  So let me make a plan to write every day.  Sometimes it can be about how my day is going.  Sometimes about what I learned that day.  But also, if I'm struggling for finding something to write, I need to write down stories about the past.  These can be from my siblings or dad or my in-laws.  My grandfather wrote in a calendar diary every day for years.  And that is very nice to read.  I want my kids to have it all to look back on.

To summarize, there are two things I learned today (and continue to learn).  #1, my grandfather taught me to learn something new every day, and to value learning.  #2, he also taught me to find meaning in each day and to share the story with others.  Stuff is just stuff.  The value that lies in something's meaning is always greater than its cash value.

Monday, May 7, 2012

4th birthday party

1. 4 friends is plenty to have at a 4 year-old's birthday party.  They all seemed happy.
2. 6 children in a small house are very loud except when they are eating.
3. 4 riding outside toys is not enough for 6 kids who want to ride on them.
4. I yell way too much.
5. A 4-year-old doesn't care about the people who don't show up- only the one's that do.  This is a lesson we, as adults, need to remind ourselves of when we become disappointed.  Also, waiting isn't fun, but friends who are late are still great friends and all is forgotten/forgiven once they arrive. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Learn something new every day

My sister, Tari, and my nephew, Hank, brought their "catch" from their adventure today.  They weren't sure if they were tadpoles or some other kind of critter.  After some looking through encyclopedias, we discovered together that they are red newts in their larva stage.  I learned that red newts can actually be kept as pets and their requirements are similar to the water dragon that I used to have.  Maybe someday I'll have them help me and Miles catch some newts for pets.

Tonight, I will have to practice patience as my 2-year-old daughter is testing bedtime limits.  There doesn't seem to be an easy solution to this problem.  If she skips naptime completely then bedtime itself isn't as much of a problem.  However, she gets very tired during the day and sometimes we can't avoid letting her nap.  Tonight, it is 9:45 and she has come downstairs for the nth time and is saying, "I'm just hiding," as she peers around the corner of the doorway at me.  I'm not taking her back to bed.  I've told her to go back to bed. We'll see what she ends up teaching me in the next few minutes.

Tomorrow, I will learn the ups and downs of a birthday party for a boy who is turning 4.  Miles invited 7 kids and their families, as well as his grandparents, aunt Tina, and uncle Brian and his girlfriend, Amy.  I don't know exactly how it will go, because I'm not well practiced, but I am excited for him.  I know that 11-13 adults and 6-8 kids will be here.  There will be cake and cupcakes and ice cream.  Miles will get presents.  Miles will play with his friends for at least an hour (it's a school night).  Other than that, I'm not sure of anything.

Update: 10 PM, and Ripley is laying down on the couch in the next room (she's too afraid to come on the couch next to me because she knows she's supposed to be in bed), playing with her doll quietly.  She's clearly tired, so I guess I have to help her get back to bed.  Lesson learned.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


We are planning to meet with the foundation contractor for Pleasant Row tomorrow.  I am feeling so excited and nervous about finally seeing our plans moving forward.  Kevin and I designed this house together.  It is a new page and we are still the craziest people in the room.  ;-)

This year's County Property/Land Auction listings came out today.  I've been reliving what I felt 2 years ago.  My friends, Carrie and Daryl, are interested in some land that is near their property.  Carrie called me and asked what to do about it, and we went through the basics.  Also, I saw that there's a house that my friends, Charles and Rachael, would be interested in.  I sent them a message about it, and Charles and I talked about the auction options tonight.  All of this has led to me feeling the same kind of emotions and excitement about the auction that I did 2 years ago.  I'll have to remember to get a babysitter this year.  There were some neat properties in the auction last year, so I went for fun with my mother-in-law, but couldn't stay because of the crazy kids.  This year, I'll feel even more invested in hearing the results, and I'll want to pay more attention. 

County auctions are so interesting to me.  I have seen the same names come up every year for people who've lost the houses to the county for not paying their taxes.  There are 118 parcels in the auction this year, where usually there are 80 or less.  Granted, 25 of the parcels this year are being auctioned together and some end up getting taken off the list as people catch up with their taxes.  Maybe in a few years I'll consider seeking out how to become more involved with the process and really learning how it all works.  A friend of the family is part of the legistative committee for properties, and I should start with talking to her.

Did I mention how excited I am about getting Pleasant Row started!!!  :-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Things I've learned today:

Couponing is not simple.  There's a reason stores will double and triple coupons, and usually it has to do with pricing items in a way that they can still make a hefty profit.  We used to live near a Wegmans and would call their card a "conspiracy card."  I just got a Price Chopper conspiracy card today.  I've also gotten the Rite Aid conspiracy card recently.  After dealing with coupons (that, in some cases, even after being doubled didn't make it a better deal than store-brand or alternative brands), and marked up/marked down prices, I'm more frustrated than relieved that I saved money.  I will learn the system so that I can continue to save money, but I'm not happy about the process.  And, I have so much to learn.  I am thankful to have great friends and family who have already learned and are more than willing to share their knowledge.

At 6 months pregnant, I no longer have the patience to provide/allow for a fun bathtime for the kids.  I'm happy that my husband usually takes care of bathtime.  He really is a great husband and dad.  Tonight, the children have achieved cleanliness and nothing more from bathtime.

With simple planning ahead (having snacks and drinks in the car and leaving right after a meal), it isn't so difficult to avoid fast food joints on our trips out of the house.  If I can manage to eliminate all or all but 1 trip to fast food places a month, then I will save up to $50/month.

Listening to my children's play/imagination/story is possibly one of the most enjoyable sounds in the world.  It is too often interrupted by my voice or by the children screaming.  Children screaming is possibly one of the most stressful sounds in the world.

I need to prepare for a garage sale.  We went through and donated a lot of toys and clutter last month, but we need to do more.  And, Pleasant Row still has a lot to get rid of so that we can rearrange the carriage house to put a wood stove in the back.

My spending weakness today was home improvement magazines.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Birthday party planning:
At nearly 4 years old, Miles has strong opinions about what he wants for his birthday party.  There are specific kids he wants there, and we sent out invitations.  I don't recall having birthday parties until I was a teenager, so I'm not familiar with the party planning process.  I've been to kids' parties that are well-organized with games and food and gifts.  I feel a lot of pressure to entertain everyone, but just don't know how.  I think the kids will entertain themselves, and I have a plan to create a game for them to play.  Done.  They love cake and ice cream.  This will be provided.  Done.  Miles will get a couple gifts from us.  Done.  Now all the worries.... I'd like the parents to stay.  I don't have an end time, but because it is a Sunday evening I expect families to be limited with how much time they can spend there.  I am having the party around dinner time, and I cannot provide dinner for everyone.  I have asked them for no presents to limit the sensory overload and clutter for the kids.  I don't know the "rules" for how many party favors/ thank yous to give to the kids that come.  I've limited the number of invites based on Miles's requests and the size of our house and parking limitations. 
Eeek.  So, I'm kind of winging this.  I'll have to post an update after the party to let you know what I learned from the process.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

To blog or to facebook?... There is probably a simple answer to this question at any given time. First of all, I should make a concerted effort to spend less time on the computer. Second of all, when I am on this thing, I should find value in it (whether catharsis, entertainment, or self-improvement). I'll delete this post, but not until I let it sink in a little bit. G'night all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

pages and blog update

Please note that the pages are works in progress. 
The Pleasant Row page is a journal I've kept so far and hope to keep updated as we make progress.
The Real Estate page is where I'll keep everything related to the housing market including helpful links.
The Parenting page will have links to other pages I like, but any commentary I have about my family will likely be on the Home page.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tricia Ondrako on Zillow
It has been an intense nearly 4 years since I kept up with this blog.  There are so many aspects of life to blog about that I will need to work diligently to make this blog worth reading.  Areas to focus on:
#1 Family.  Miles was joined by his sister, Ripley, in '09, and will welcome a baby brother this August.  He is a fantastic big brother and at nearly 4-years-old, he has taught me so much more than I ever imagined he would.
#2 Home.  We bought a property at auction in '10 and will be building soon.  We call it Pleasant Row.
#3 Work.  I became a Realtor in '09, and I really enjoy it.

Here's something I added to my zillow profile recently:
Tricia's favorite things:
-Family is her #1 priority and she can help your family find the perfect home. Whether you're growing out of your house, or downsizing, the needs of your family always come first when buying and selling.
-Friends are so important in our life, and Tricia is no exception. Do you live close to your friends? Are they always visiting your house? Or are you always going to their house? What do you do together?
-Animals. Tricia has two boxers: her "furkids." Pets are a part of our family and when buying or selling, this is a crucial aspect to consider. Whether it's a dairy farm, hobby farm, parrots, ferrets or pups, they are all as important to us as we are to them.-Art and Architecture A bit of a architectural history geek, the story of a home and the beauty inherent is something that keeps Tricia in this business. What stories have you heard from your house? What stories do you want your house to tell? What details in a home make you smile? Is it the Jacuzzi tub or the ornate Victorian moldings?
-Playing Frisbee: Tricia plays Ultimate Frisbee weekly. It's a time to gather with friends and play and exercise and is so much fun. What do you do for fun? Do you live close to these fun activities? Do you have space in your home to enjoy these fun activities?
-Helping People: Tricia has always worked with people. From waitressing to counseling to mentoring to volunteering to now: helping people buy or sell their houses.
Life as a Realtor:

"I am the best choice to list your home or find your next home because I have the experience and resources to make the process a happy one.  Family is very important to me, so I know that balancing family with finding a home can be a struggle.  Let me help you balance it all." ~Tricia
Education: Bachelors Degree in Sociology, Ithaca College
Masters Degree in Social Work, SUNY Buffalo
Licensed Real Estate Agent since 2009, specializing in residential real estate.
Tricia was raised on a dairy farm in Litchfield, NY, so she has a distinct understanding of the needs and desires of people living in rural communities. She went away to college (Oneonta and Ithaca) and lived in a variety of settings, from the Bronx, to Buffalo, to suburban New Jersey. This has given her the experience and perspective to help people from all areas and all walks of life. Her past work as a social worker gives her an advantage when dealing with difficult situations.
Tricia has been married for 8 years and has a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

She has several happy clients. Here's what they're saying:
1. "Tricia was from day one, a breath of fresh air. Our previous realtor had tried to push us into buying something we didn't want, But Tricia took everything we wanted, all the things we expressed, and right away found multiple listings that fit our needs. She was very enthusiastic when walking the houses, pointing out things we may have missed, and pulled multiple comps from the area (as well as pointed them out as driving by) so we knew if the pricing was fair, and what the market for the particular area was like. When we finally found the prefect house, Tricia helped us with all the paperwork, and with her help, our offer was accepted. From offer to closing, Tricia always made herself available, answering questions via e-mail and phone call, helped to calm our nerves, and guided us throughout. We couldn't have asked for a more well prepared realtor, especially one who made the first time home buying process a bit easier." ~David and Amber Ross
2. Tricia was a great agent to have to sell my house. She got the house out for people to see very quickly. She was diligent with follow up with the other agents involved and making sure that banks had all the paperwork that was needed while persuading them to move as quickly as possible. Tricia was able to get my house sold much quicker that I was expecting and am very grateful to her for it. I would definitely use her again in my next pursuit of a house. ~Josh Hall