2

The Climb

I am not now nor have I ever been a “Miley Cyrus” fan.  However, whenever I hear this song (the only one by her on my phone) I can’t help but dream off into space thinking of my journey to be a mother…

I can almost see it.
That dream I’m dreaming,
But there’s a voice inside my head saying,
“You’ll never reach it.”
Every step I’m takin’
Every move I make feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin’

But I, I gotta keep tryin’
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down,
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it,
But these are the moments
That I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin’,

And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on,

‘Cause…

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

Yeah

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody’s gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Keep on movin’
Keep climbin’
Keep the faith, baby
It’s all about—it’s all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa, whoa, oh.

  • Google time play

I’m not sure if this makes any sense to you, I just feel like I have had so many obstacles ahead of me, so many hills I have had to climb and really – regardless of what happens in the end, once I hold my child in my arms – it will all be worth it.

Love

Nicole

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Cottage life is great, but it will be better

People say I am crazy for buying a cottage with one of my best friends.  “It was to much money”, “it’s not worth it”, “it will ruin our friendship”…I have heard every negative thing possible.

What people don’t understand is that it was not to much money – it was fairly cheap for a place you can basically live in for 6 months a year.

It was 100% worth it.  I spend most weekends up there plus a week or two each summer.  I tan, I have amazing times with my friends, I swim, I go boating and I get a lot of reading done.  If I was at home all summer I would be doing nothing – not being social that’s for sure.  I’d be on my couch watching TV and movies.

Finally – and this is a big one – it has not even come close to ruining my friendship with K, if anything we are closer because we are together most weekends for half a year.  We have fun, we laugh, we bicker and we tease her husband – a lot…if anything I am surprised he hasn’t killed one or both of us!

The best thing is that I get to spend a lot of time with her two children C and M.  It gives me a picture of what it will be like when I bring my child home from Haiti and introduce him or her to cottage living.

We all went on a boat ride Saturday afternoon and watching K hold M in her arms while we sped through Lake Seymour into Rice Lake I could almost feel my child wrapped in my own arms giggling as the water sprayed onto us whenever we hit a bump.   When we stopped to fish for a few minutes I sat on the back of the boat with M dipping our feet in the water comparing toe nail colours (she had pink, I had purple). I so desperately was yearning for my own child in those moments it was almost over whelming.  Bringing my little one home is something I constantly day dream about…I know there will be a lot of tough times…times when I doubt myself and my abilities, but those times when I hear a laugh or see a smile – those will be the times that are worth it.  I can’t wait to blog about THOSE times.  To let you all in on this amazing little person who will change my world in the most epic way possible.

Having this cottage is going to allow me to give my kid memories that will last their lifetime.  Some of my favourite childhood memories exist at my aunts trailer – and we were only there two weeks a year!  Imagine the possibilities when they are up north for days and sometimes weeks at a time!?  My blog and Project Life albums will be so much more vivid and exciting!!

Nicole

2

Why Haiti? Here are some facts…

    1. Native Haitians were pre-Columbian Amerindians called Taíno, “the good people.” The Taíno named their land “Ayiti,” meaning “Land of Mountains”—a term that evolved into “Haiti.”
    2. More than 10% of Haitian children die before age five.
    3. Eighty percent of Haitians live under the poverty line and 54% live in abject poverty. The average per capita income in Haiti is $480 a year, compared to $33,550 in the United States.
    4. Because of both violence and AIDS, Haiti has the highest percentage of orphans of any country in the Western Hemisphere. Before the 2010 earthquake, the United Nations estimated there were 430,000 orphans.
    5. Nearly 1.5 million people left Haiti in the early 1990s.
    6. A typical worker in Haiti makes only $2.75 a day. Because jobs are so scarce (approximately 70% do not have regular jobs), those who do have jobs are afraid to speak out against unfair labor practices.
    7. Only 53% of Haitians can read and write.
    8. Haiti’s national sport is soccer. Haiti first competed in the World Cup in 1974.
    9. Eighty percent of Haitians are Roman Catholic, 16% are Protestant, and 4% are other. Voodoo is often practiced alongside Christianity.
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Haitian currency is named after the gourd
    1. Gourds were so important to the Haitian people that in 1807, President Henri Christophe (1761-1820) made them the base of national currency and declared all gourds the property of the state. Today, the Haitian currency is called “gourdes.”
    2. In the eighteenth century, St. Dominique (Haiti) was the richest colony in the French Empire and was known as the “Pearl of the Antilles.” It grew rich mainly through the importation of slaves and through devastating environmental degradation. Haiti is currently one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
    3. In 1801, ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803) led nearly one-half million Haitian slaves against Haiti’s French colonialists. Their eventual victory was the first successful slave revolt and helped establish Haiti as the first black republic. After a betrayal from the French, L’Ouverture died in a French prison.
    4. In 1803, Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758-1806), Haiti’s first ruler, created the nation’s flag by ripping out the white stripe in the French red, white, and blue flag, claiming he would rip white people from the nation. The remaining blue and red stripes represented blacks and mulattos of Haiti. Haiti’s coat of arms sits in the center.
    5. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean, after the Dominican Republic and Cuba, which is the largest.
    6. The Citadel is a large mountaintop fortress located in northern Haiti. It is the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere.
    7. In 2008, almost 1.8 million people (20% of the entire population) were living in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
    8. When Columbus first saw Haiti (and the entire Hispaniola island), he thought he had found India or Asia.
    9. After the death of revolutionary leader Toussaint L’Ouverture in 1802, his principal lieutenant, General Jean-Jacques Dessalines, proclaimed himself Jean-Jacques the First, Emperor of Haiti. He ordered the killing of most of the whites in Haiti.
    10. In the eighteenth century, Haitians developed elaborate tables of genetic descent, dividing mulattos into over a hundred shades of black and white. These ranged from the Sacatra which were seven-eighths black, to the several varieties of Sangmeles, which are only one-sixteenth black. Technically, a mulatto is someone who is half black and half white.
    11. Only about 10% of all Haitian children enrolled in elementary school go on to a high school.
    12. Haitians love to gamble. Its popularity is a result of the Haitian belief that so much depends on the fancy of the gods. During voodoo ceremonies, Haitians implore the gods to reveal winning lottery numbers.
    13. Cock fighting is a traditional sport in Haiti. The roosters are fed raw meet and hot peppers soaked in rum to make them aggressive and tough. The winner might bring home $67, which is more than a person would earn in an entire month.
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Haiti is one of the most deforested nations in the world
    1. Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean.
    2. Haiti is one of the few countries in the world where the destruction of the original woodland is almost complete due to competition over scarce land, intense demand for charcoal, unsound agricultural practices, and feral goats which overgraze. This massive deforestation has led to lethal mudslides and flash floods. A muddy brown ring surrounds the country’s coastline where topsoil has washed into the sea.
    3. When early Spanish explorers encountered a female Haitian ruler named Anacaona, or “Golden Flower” (1464-1504), in 1503 who resisted them, they killed many of her people, arrested, and hanged her.
    4. Christopher Columbus initially called the island La Isla Espanola, meaning “The Spanish Isle” when he landed there in 1492. Over time, the name became Hispaniola and includes both Haiti, which covers the western third of the island, and the Dominican Republic (or Santo Domingo), which covers the eastern two thirds.
    5. The United States did not recognize Haiti as an independent nation until 1862 even though it was freed in 1804.
    6. Author, statesmen, and ex-slave Frederick Douglass (c. 1818-1895) was an ambassador to Haiti.
    7. Haiti’s highest peak is the Pic la Selle at 8,793 feet (2,680 meters).
    8. One of Haiti’s islands, Tortuga Island (Île de la Tortue in French), was a pirate stronghold in the seventeenth century.
    9. Île a Vache (Cow Island) lies off Haiti’s southern coast and is so named because it was once overrun by wild cows descended from animals abandoned by the Spanish.
    10. Haiti and Canada are the only two independent nations in the Americas that have French as an official language. Though approximately 90% of Haitians use Creole as their primary language, Creole wasn’t made an official language alongside French until 1987.
    11. Most of Haiti’s current citizens are descendants of Africans shipped to the Caribbean to work as slave laborers in earlier centuries.
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Haiti is one of the most densely populated nations in the Western Hemisphere
    1. With an area of 10,714 square miles (27,750 square kilometers), Haiti is only slightly larger than Vermont. The United States is 3,794,100 square miles (9,826,675 sq. km.).
    2. Haiti is one of the least developed yet most densely populated countries in the Western Hemisphere. Its population density is 747 people per square mile (295 per sq. km.).c Comparable in size to Haiti, Vermont’s population density is 65.8 people per square mile (25.9 sq.km.).k The United States’ is 79.55 people per square miles (30.71 sq. km.).
    3. The population of Haiti is approximately 9.7 million. It is expected to reach 10.2 million in 2015.b Comparable in size to Haiti, Vermont’s population is approximately 621,760.k The population of the U.S. is 308,891,000.
    4. The hurricane season in 2008 stripped approximately 70% of Haiti’s crops. This damage was the most expensive in Haiti’s history at an estimated $1 billion.
    5. The capital Port-Au-Prince was founded in 1749 and was named for the Prince, a French ship anchored in the bay.
    6. When Christopher Columbus landed on what he later named Hispaniola in 1492, the people greeted him with offerings, unaware that he was claiming their lands for Spain. By 1508, the Hispaniola’s native Arawak/Taíno population had fallen from about 400,000 to just 60,000 due to the devastating social, political, ecological, and immunological effects of Spain’s arrival. Ten years later, less than 3,000 Arawak/Taínos remained alive on Hispaniola.
    7. Pirate activity off the northern coast of Haiti weakened Spanish control in Hispaniola and, in 1697, Spain gave France the western third of Hispaniola, which is today’s Haiti. That left the remaining part of the island, the Dominican Republic, under Spanish control.
    8. Haitian revolutionary leader Francois-Dominique Toussaint earned the nickname Toussaint-L’ Ouverture (the opening), which referred to his ability to find an opening in the enemy lines as well as opening the way for Haiti’s independence.
    9. Haiti’s former president, Francois Duvalier (“Papa Doc”), created the National Security Volunteers in 1957. A dreaded security force, it was also called the Tonton Macoutes, after the Haitian folk figure Tonton Macoute (Uncle Knapsack) who carries off small children at night.
    10. Throughout the mid and late twentieth centuries, Haiti experienced a “brain drain” as educated professionals and business people left the nation to escape brutal dictators. This exodus weakened Haiti because it was left with fewer and fewer skilled workers to run businesses, health centers, government offices, and schools.
    11. Descendants of African slaves make up 95% of Haiti’s population. The other 5% are mulattos, descendants of French planters and African slaves, and whites. Haiti also has a small population of Middle Easterners, descendants of Syrian and Lebanese people who came to Haiti in the nineteenth century.
    12. Nearly 79% of Haiti’s people live in rural areas.
    13. Haiti is the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States.
    14. From 1804-1915, more than 70 dictators ruled Haiti.
    15. Jean-Bertrand Aristide won Haiti’s first free election in December 1990. He fled the country a year later after being ousted in a military coup. He was president again from 1994-1996 and then from 2001 to 2004, when he was ousted again.
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There is one hospital bed for every 10,000 Haitians
    1. In Haiti, there is one hospital bed for every 10,000 inhabitants. There are only about eight doctors and 10 nurses for every 100,000 inhabitants.
    2. The life expectancy for Haiti is low: 50 years for men and 53 years for women.
    3. Haitians have the lowest caloric intake in the Americas, which has led to chronic and often fatal diseases.d An estimated 25-40% of children under five suffer chronic malnutrition.
    4. Anemia affects 59% of Haitian children between the ages of six months and five years.
    5. The first recorded smallpox outbreak in the Americas occurred in Hispaniola in 1507.
    6. Families who live in the country spend almost 60% of their income on food. The poorest groups spend more than 70%.
    7. Haiti has been ranked as one of the five most corrupt countries.
    8. The infant mortality rate in Haiti is high at 74 deaths per 1,000 births. The maternal mortality rate is also high: about 520 deaths per 100,000 births (compared to just 14 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in the United States).
    9. Even before the 2010 earthquake, only 54% of Haitians had access to sanitation facilities (toilets, indoor plumbing, sewer systems). Less than half had a regular source of safe drinking water.
    10. Most rivers in Haiti are polluted with human and other waste. Diseases such as hookworm and typhoid, which are transmitted by contaminated food and water, are common in Haiti.
    11. In the early 1980s, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traced a number of the first AIDS cases in the U.S. to Haitian immigrants.
    12. Eighty percent of schools in Haiti are private, and religious groups run many of them. The remaining 20% are state-run. Students learn their lessons in both French and Creole.
    13. Haiti has only one public university: the University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince founded in 1944. Most wealthy students attend college outside of Haiti.
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On average, girls in Haiti attend just two years of school
    1. Only about 40% of school-aged children attend school regularly.
    2. Women were granted the right to vote in 1957, though many women still suffer from discrimination and mistreatment. The Haitian justice system rarely punishes men for abusing women.
    3. The typical Haitian woman will have five children in her lifetime. Because the Roman Catholic Church discourages birth control, birth control is not readily available. Less than 20% of married women use birth control, and abortion is illegal.
    4. Most human rights experts agree that the worst abuses of Haitian children involve young people called retavecs, or poor children who work as house servants for urban families. Their parents hope that host families will feed and educate their children, but some hosts physically and sexually abuse the resavecs. Experts estimate that 300,000 Haitian children are living as slaves.
    5. Before the 2010 earthquake, the U.S. Labor Department estimates that between 5,000 and 10,000 Haitian children were homeless. Many resort to begging or prostitution to survive. Other children are trafficked to foreign countries.
    6. During radical ex-priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s second term as president, the government established Voodoo as a state religion along with Catholicism.
    7. Haiti’s entire annual budget is $300 million, less than that of many small cities in the United States. Since the 1980s, its economy has shrunk steadily.
    8. Thousands of Haitians were ruined when pyramid investment schemes collapsed. While Haitians lost about $200 million investing in these scams, the co-op founders acquired millions on the proceeds.
    9. In 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard picked up 2,000 Haitian boat people trying to reach U.S. shores, more than from any other Caribbean nation. Most were returned to Haiti.
    10. Over 40% of the population is under 14 years old, creating a high dependency ratio.
    11. Haiti has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Western Hemisphere. One in 50 people are infected.
    12. Half of the children in Haiti are unvaccinated, and just 40% of the population has access to basic health care.
    13. Approximately 1% of Haiti’s population owns more than 50% of the nation’s wealth.
    14. An estimated 1.5 million Haitians live outside the country, mostly in Miami, New York, Boston, and Montreal. About 300,000 Haitian immigrants live in Florida alone.
    15. The United States is Haiti’s biggest trade partner. More than half of Haitian imports come from the United States, and more than 80% of its exports go to the United States.
    16. Haiti is a hub for the trafficking of illegal drugs—especially cocaine—between South and Central America, Europe, and the United States. Some Haitians even traffic human laborers, especially children.
    17. Haiti has 2,583 miles (4,160 km.) of highways. Only 628 miles (1,011km.) of those roads are paved.
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Rebuilding Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake could take decades
  1. More than 200,000 Haitians died and millions were left homeless in a devastating earthquake in January 2010. It was the strongest earthquake to hit the region in more than 200 years.
  2. Since 2004, approximately 8,000 peacekeepers from the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) help keep peace in Haiti.
  3. Very few Haitians own cars: fewer than 5 out of 1,000. There is no railroad in Haiti. In the cities, people often take communal taxis and colorful public buses called “taptaps.”
  4. Haiti has 14 airports, of which only four have paved runways.
  5. In 1963, Hurricane Flora killed approximately 8,000 people in Haiti, the sixth highest death toll from an Atlantic hurricane in recorded history.
  6. In 2008, Haiti had only 108,000 telephone lines. The country with the most telephone lines in 2008 was China with 356,600,000 million. The United States was second with 150,000,000.
  7. In 2008, Haitians used 3,200,000 cell phones. Chine had the most cell phones in the world with 634,000,000; India had 545,000,000, and the United States was third with 270,000,000.
  8. In 2008, one million people in Haiti had access to the Internet (users who had access anywhere from several times a week to only once over several months). China had 298 million, and the United States had 231 million.
  9. Rape in Haiti has long been a problem and is often used as a political weapon. After the 2010 earthquake, some men handing out coupons for food distribution would demand sexual favors.
  10. Experts claim that it will take decades for Haiti to recover from the January 2010 earthquake. Nearly 75% of the capital will need to be rebuilt, not from zero, but from, as officials declare, “below zero.” Recovery plans include completely rebuilding basic sectors such as health, agriculture, governance and security, and infrastructure.

— Posted April 12, 2010

http://facts.randomhistory.com/haiti-facts.html

This is no way to live – for anyone, let alone an innocent child.  I may not be able to do everything, but I can give one child access to education and health care and just love the stuffing out of them!

Nicole

1

Bedroom furniture on Wayfair

I’m obsessing over this bed.  It’s on sale.  However what if the worst case scenario happens and I don’t get my child?  I refuse to jinx anything by buying anything before my proposal.  Even then I worry, but I will put all my faith out into the world and pray it’s okay.

Now this is not the color I will paint the room or anything, but I do want a dark wood or black bed (the child will be between 2-3 most likely) and I would like to not have to buy a crib AND a bed.  I may just borrow a crib from a friend if I absolutely need to for transitioning.

What do you think?  Mom’s – opinions please…

Deluxe-Toddler-Daybed-with-Storage-653-C

They’re bed will be up against a wall and I love that it has the rail to help keep them from rolling off.

Well…until next time

Nicole

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Part 1 – done

My home-study is officially complete.  My PRIDE classes and assigned homework is done.  My psych evaluation has been written up – and I am not crazy!  All of this is being sent to the ministry today.  OMG!  This is a major step forward in this long process and I couldn’t be happier.

My skin is actually tingling.  I am trying so hard not to get excited because I know I have a long way to go – that I am not even close to my dreams coming true – but I am CLOSER and that’s what matters.

I have been trying to come up with ways to save money and make money for this whole process.  Saving money isn’t actually the hard part – it’s the making money aspect that has been difficult.  There is only so much I have that I can sell.  A friend told me start a go-fund me page soliciting donations, but that doesn’t seem right to me.  This was my idea, my dream. I am hoping to find a way to get about $5000.00 extra by January (to help pay for my two week trip to Haiti + extra that i need after that date) and I think by selling some things and with the savings I may have about half.

I am reaching out to you my dear readers – I already work full time so a second job isn’t really going to work with my schedule, but what can I do to make money besides sell stuff I already have??  I am open to even the craziest of suggestions!

I am so grateful to y’all for your support.  I will let you know when my Ministry approval comes back!

Love,

Nicole

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Three years of not celebrating

This Sunday will be my third year of not celebrating Fathers Day.  There will be no McDonald’s breakfast that puts a smile on his face from ear to ear with an excited “oh goodie”.  There will be no opening of cards with heart felt sentiments (though I still have the card I bought him for Fathers Day 2014 early, because I loved the verse inside and never in a million years assumed he wouldn’t open it).  There will be no eye rolling on my behalf as he acts disappointed that there is no money inside even though he knows if I had money at the time I would have spent it on shoes or Makimono.  There will be no Keg dinner, telling us the Prime Rib tastes better because he didn’t pay for it.

None of this has happened for the past two years and it won’t happen this year either.  He passed away.  He left this earth – an angel – no longer in pain.  The pain is now ours.  His family who loved him.  His granddaughters who suffer with his loss and shed a tear when they remember how much they miss him; his ex-wife who has stepped up in a big way to take care of their only daughter and be everything to her that he was.  And me.  I still feel like an island, on my own most of the time to try and figure out this world without you – at the same time so angry that I have to.

At work we have a raffle for a car wash kit for father’s day.  I have been asked to buy a ticket and seen the look in my colleagues eyes when they realize I won’t be giving a gift for father’s day this year – or any year – but what they don’t realize is my father didn’t drive the last two years of his life anyway because Diabetes took his sight.  However, I do have a car and it’s filthy!  I would totally love a car wash kit and I will give myself the opportunity to win this prize because that’s an awesome prize!!!

It makes me sad to think that my child won’t have a father  –  at least not right away.  It makes me sadder though to know my child won’t have him as a grandfather!  He would have loved my child, biological or not, to the very depth of his core!  I can’t wait to tell my child stories and show them pictures, keep his memory alive for generations to come!

Love

Nicole

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It takes a village

As you all know, I am currently in the process of adopting a toddler internationally.  A decision I didn’t make lightly, but one that I know in my heart and in my soul is the right decision for me.  I have never thought – not once – maybe I shouldn’t, maybe I should wait another couple of years, maybe, maybe, maybe…I just know.  I know like I need to breathe air and eat food and drink water – I know.  I know where my baby is.

***now as a side note, I have been informed that I am unable to talk on any social media forums (inc. blogs)  about the specifics of the adoption at this point from my agency and I understand that.  The child’s protection, the orphanages confidentiality and the details I am paying a great deal to learn from my agency is not for the eyes and ears of the world so I will not go into any details about particulars.

This choice, it didn’t come easy.  I had to accept that I may never have a biological child to start processing this choice.  I had to argue for my rights with a doctor to get forms signed and completed.  I had to defend my choice against critics of single motherhood (aren’t we in 2016 where women can do whatever the hell they want?).  I had to accept that the inheritance that my father left me would be gone, depleted  and pray that he would be okay with how I have chosen to spend this portion of it. I have binders of information to read through, sign and date.  I have essays to write, photo’s to take, reference letters to gather all while giving up any source of privacy because our Ontario government and the government of Haiti, need to know that I can, and desire to, and have the means to, adopt a child and raise them in a healthy, safe environment.

I am overwhelmed often.  I am tired often.  I want to scream and cry often.

But it is always worth it.  Every second spent, every line of defense I need to spew, every dollar I give is worth it.

This child is already loved – yet they might not even be born.  This child already has an aunt and an uncle and a grandmother eagerly awaiting them to arrive.  This child has surrogate aunts and uncles in my friends who have offered to help in anyway they can.  Some have offered clothing, furniture and toys, while others just can’t wait to take this amazing child to the park, or downtown exploring Toronto.  This child was born blessed as all babies are – and they are going to make me blessed in the process.

It takes a village to raise a child.  No one does it on their own.  We all rely on someone at some point for assistance and I am grateful for the chance to bring my little boy or girl home in the future and raise them among my amazing village.

Love

Nicole