Adoption #2, Here We Go!!!

Why another adoption?

I’m glad you asked.

Two years ago, we were in the process of adopting “Brothers Brother”. 6 months into the process we found out he was declared “ineligible for international adoption“. We were heart broken. The tears did not stop for the first 24 hours, but our joy quickly came (literally the next morning) when we found out about Solomon. Solomon was from a different home in Uganda and as we went through the adoption process with Solomon, we had no idea we were still being considered at the first orphanage.

2 months after Solomon arrived home, (and 9 months after losing Brother’s Brother and not hearing a word from this orphanage) we received a surprise email. It was from the first orphanage letting us know that we were still being considered for a child and were officially on the waiting list. Say what?!?

Only 2 months after being home with an internationally adopted child, when you are literally in survival mode trying to piece together 5 missing years of your child’s life, yeah that’s not exactly the time when you want to hear that you are on the waiting list for another child. To say we were shocked is an understatement. Our first reaction was to say “Please take us off your waiting list”. But we didn’t. Why?

Through the years I’ve learned that I’m more scared to say NO to God than I am of saying YES. In fact, our first adoption made less sense than this second adoption. Two years ago during our first adoption we had 4 small kids, a small home, and small income. Three things that don’t make sense in the flesh to say YES to adoption. But the Lord spoke loud and clear to me during my first trip to Uganda and spoke loud and clear to my husband back home in the States. And we moved forward with our first adoption knowing that “He who calls you is faithful and He will do it”. And that’s exactly how it happened. The Lord opened every door, $30,000 literally showed up on our front door within our fast and furious 5 months of adoption fundraising, and within 6 months Solomon was home. Since then, favor and blessings have poured over our family and we have walked in the absolute peace that follows obedience. God has called our family to adoption and we say yes. It’s really that simple.

Has it been easy? NO. Adoption is not easy. Adoption comes from loss and pain. But we weren’t called to easy. Adoption has shown me a purpose I never knew existed. Taking part in the miracle of adoption, witnessed by the life of a child being rescued, redeemed, restored, and made new. And to have front row seats to the beautiful story of redemption through your own child. Wow!

A lot can happen in two years. Our kids aren’t so small anymore (all 5 will be in school next year), we have a bigger home, and our finances are drastically different. Not that any of that really matters, but this adoption actually makes much more sense than the first one.

Solomon has now been home almost 1 1/2 years. We have known about adoption #2 for over a year. We choose to not publicly announce it until now, as we are NOW #3 on the waiting list. Eeeeekkkkk!!!! It’s really happening. Over the past year, we have watched our wait list number get lower and lower and felt like #3 was a good time to announce.

So here we are. Adopting our 2nd child from Uganda, East Africa. A country and people I have fallen in love with. And we feel blessed and honored (with a little denial and trembling) that the Lord has chosen our family to care of another one of HIS children.

Back when were in “Are-we-seriously-on-the-waiting-list-for-another-kid-shocked-mode”, I remember the Lord saying to me “Do you think I’m surprised by this?” And it was then that I realized, God had orchestrated this exactly as He knew it was going to happen. All along we were meant to adopt 2 kids from Uganda. God wasn’t surprised and we no longer are either.

Last night my oldest child said “Mom, why did you wait a whole year to tell us?”.

I’m not sure why we waited so long to announce it. But it’s no longer a secret….so here we go!!!!!!!!

IMG_3140 Reactions from the kids were very fun yesterday!

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With love, The Gianelloni 7 and growing!

You can learn about our entire Adoption #1 journey here, including all 27 updates and two adoption videos.

Wait, are we seriously doing this again? ;)

Erased by a Birth Certificate

In light of the recent events surrounding the CDC whistleblower.
Guest post by Bobby Dee
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Have you seen the headlines screaming about the CDC vaccine researcher leaking documents that show the CDC knew in 2002 that the MMR vaccine was causing autism 3.36 times more often in African American toddlers who received it prior to the age of 3?

Yeah, me neither.  Welcome to the media black-out.

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In the event you need to be brought up to speed on the fraud perpetrated by the CDC on the American people for the past decade, start here, here, here and here.  Here’s the speedy version:

Dr. Bill Thomspon co-authored the CDC study of school children in Atlanta that investigated whether the age at which children were vaccinated with the MMR correlated with an autism diagnosis.  The answer, for black children at least, was a resounding yes.  Thompson didn’t want to have to present that information to hostile autism parents and asked for guidance in what to do.  The answer– from another author on the paper–  was to make it go away.

How do you make black children in Atlanta disappear from a study?  Require their mothers to produce a Georgia birth certificate.  41% could not, were kicked out, and the impact of the MMR went right along with them.  Dr. Coleen Boyle then sang the praises of the MMR in front of a congressional committee in April of 2002 and the Atlanta study has been used countless times to prove that autism is not related to the MMR vaccine.

Earlier in 2014 Dr. Brian Hooker analyzed the raw data obtained through a Freedom of Information request and published about the 3.36 factor of autism (236%) increase, although the CDC has already forced the journal to take it down in the name of causing harm to the public.  Click that first link fast before PubMed takes it down too.

The CDC responded to the commotion caused by the iReport on Monday, claiming that the Georgia birth certificate allowed researchers to view important autism risk factors such as the mother’ age, mother’s education level (because we all know college educated mothers don’t have autistic children, right?), child’s gestational age at birth (always an exact science), and weight when born.

Well, OK.  That’s understandable, right?  Underweight babies, premature babies, they’re more prone to become autistic (and that’s giving the CDC the benefit of the doubt that “autism risk factors” not only existed in 1996 but had been narrowed down to include the theory of mother’s education level which was floated 13 years later as a novel idea). Except, wait a minute.  The objective of the study was to compare ages of vaccination with the MMR to autism diagnosis, not prematurity, birth weight, or mom’s academic ambitions.  The rest of that information is not even relevant to the objective, so why were they asking for it?  Who were they going to eliminate?  The college educated mothers or the high school drop-outs?

Let’s just say for the sake of argument that knowing if mom only went to undergrad or continued on to get a master’s degree was crucial information.  Therefore it was imperative that the mothers produce those birth certificates because God forbid the researchers just asked mothers what their education level was or how old they were when their child was born.

Fine.  I can buy that.  So, this was all going on when?  1996?  And the children in the study were at least 3 years old?  So a birth certificate that would have been produced might have been for a child born in 1990?  Perfect.  Let’s a have look here at a 1990 valid Georgia birth certificate and scan for the mother’s education level, baby’s birth weight, and gestational age when born.

1990 Georgia

Did you find it?

Me neither.  You know why?  Birth certificates are federally regulated and none of that stuff is printed on them.

OK, fine!  Maybe the CDC misspoke and what they meant to say was, “We needed the long form birth certificate application that contains the autism risk factor information we were looking for.”

Yes.  Except parents don’t get to keep those applications.

Try again?  Maybe they were saying, “We needed the birth certificates in order to access the database where the information contained on the long form application for a birth certificate is stored.”

Oh, I get it now.  So, not the actual birth certificate because everyone knows those don’t contain that information, and not the birth certificate application because those are sent directly to a state’s vital records office, but it’s the database that we’re talking about.  I understand.

Wait, is it this database?  The National Vital Statistics System?  That’s where the critical autism factor information is that the CDC needed to access?  Because– call me crazy–  but the CDC owns that system and I’m pretty sure they don’t need no stinking birth certificate to access it.

Why would a parent in Atlanta not have a birth certificate on hand?  Because they are not free and receiving one is not automatic.  Today a Georgia birth certificate is $20.  Can you imagine impoverished people spending $20 on a birth certificate if they didn’t have to?

Does this all boil down to the CDC deciding, after generating extremely negative results about the MMR with regard to the African American community, that they needed the birth certificates to positively ID the children who were already included in their study so that they could then access a database that they already own?  Because that just sounds crazy.

Almost as crazy as introducing a birth certificate requirement to a study after it’s already finished and knocking out 41% of the participants, but not quite.

What can you do about it?

Contact your US Representative and Senator and tell them you want an investigation into the CDC.

The Changing of Seasons! No more babies…

Just about 4 years ago, we had a 4 year old, 3 year old, 1 year old, & a newborn. I remember feeling like my entire life consisted of diapers, wipes, burp cloths, swaddle blankets, highchairs, pack & plays, carseats, strollers, and an always packed diaper bag. Along with sippy cups, baby food, spoons, bibs, pull ups, and booster seats. When we packed for trips, it looked like we were moving out. 4 carseats, double strollers and pack & plays alone take up like the entire car. And then you still have to fit all the kids and supplies.

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This was the season of constant busy work and feeling like our hands were always full. They literally were. The baby/toddler stage.

IMG_1994 I loved the baby stage. I truly did. As exhausting as those sleepless nights were and feeling like I was pregnant for 4 straight years (I was), I loved the sweet moments of raising babies and toddlers.

It’s almost hard to believe that in 4 quick years, we added another child through adoption and we now have four in school and only one at home and our “baby” is going to turn 4 years old next month. It hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday.

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Saying goodbye to Brother as he left for Kindergarten yesterday was an interesting day for me. Our house is now a very quiet house, with just me and the Tot. I spent the day thinking over these last 4 years and how quickly the season has changed. It was the first time I truly realized that the baby stage is over. Now we enter what I call the “Kid Stage”. They are still very young and little, but everyday are becoming more and more like “kids”.
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Gone are the days of the checklist I used to keep hanging of everything my two diaper bags needed to have in them at all times. All that’s left from the baby stage checklist is 4 still in boosters and one in a carseat. That’s it.

During our recent move we gave away 7 strollers (singles and doubles), 4 kitchen table booster seats & highchairs, 3 carseats, a few swings and pack and plays, a bassinet, floor play mats, baby carriers, and boxes upon boxes of clothes and toys and monitors and pumps and baby food makers and the list goes on and on.

I look back on the baby/toddler stage with no regrets and the fondest of memories. Those were fun, hard, long days with sleepless nights. Babies are sweet and easy and don’t have a voice to talk to back yet. They mostly just sleep and eat and poop and sleep and eat and poop. And then every other month or so, you get to celebrate a new milestone. I loved watching each of them learn to roll over, sit up, stand up, & walk. I loved celebrating when they tried their first food, potty trained, and learned to write their name. So many new and exciting things happen during the baby/toddler stage. The toddler stage is filled with inquisitive questions, imaginary play, and a world where they truly think they are the only person that exists. Babies need us to meet their needs. Toddlers need us to met their needs and wants. This is a stage full of never ending needs and wants, which is both exhausting and rewarding.
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I’m not gonna lie though. I am LOVING this new stage. I love watching my children’s personalities develop. Like really evolving into thinking, contributing members of society. I love seeing their ideas and passions unfold. I love watching their different temperaments and character traits blossom. I love having conversations with them. And I love having helpers. My 8 year old would rather spend her days next to me, helping me, and “hanging” out with me. She feels like my friend right now and I really like that. I love my diaper bag check-lists have now been replaced with chore charts. I love that at the ages of 8, 7, 6, 5, & almost 4, they all understand that large families involve everyone working and helping together. I love seeing the pride in their accomplishment of completing a chore. I love working WITH my children. This is just the beginning of this new stage, but I already know I’m going to LOVE it! I think this past summer we were experiencing the transition of moving out of the baby stage and into the kid stage. And yes I’m signing a much different tune than my Back-To-School post last week, because my peace and quiet has returned and I can think straight again.

So as I reflect back on the stage (that I think I just suddenly realized ended yesterday)…I’d like to finish this post with some words for the moms reading who are still in the baby/toddler stage. My advice to you: Enjoy it!!!! Enjoy the heck out of it. It’s hard and messy and very hands on. There are days where I’m sure you long for adult conversation, or even just a shower. Or 10 minutes of free hands. Your day will come. The kid stage is filled with free hands, emerging helpers, and really fun and cool conversations with the little people who have grow up right before your eyes. Right now, hug your babies tight. Cherish and celebrate each and every milestone. Take in that that intoxicating baby smell and never forget it. In the blink of an eye, it’s over. And they all smell like dirty puppy dogs. Adorable awesome dirty little puppy dogs!

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Full Circle Moment

On my first trip to Uganda 2 years ago, my friend Robin & I found ourselves being given a unique task. At the time, we thought it was the most hideous job you could ask two girls wearing a skirt to do in the blazing heat in Uganda, East Africa. It was a long, hard, tedious task of pounding the red dirt down in a room to make an even floor, in which concrete would be poured to make the floor of a bedroom. We were not prepared for this task and on that particular day we went through many different emotions. From laughing at the task given to us, to pure exhaustion from the task. I remember my hands blistering and my arms feeling so weak. At one point a few local boys showed up and we quickly gave them our pounding tools as they offered to help. They were probably thinking “You lazy Mizungos”. We really were. We complained about that task just about as hard as we worked that day.

2 years ago….

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IMG_2255 We had no idea what the house was that we were working on. I remember it was about a 5 minute walk from one of the African Hearts boys home, but I didn’t know at the time that it was going to be one of the new African Hearts boys homes. I think at the time we thought it was just a random home we were helping to build. Other team members that day were making bricks, planting gardens, etc…

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197805_10151048633655883_1121223552_n Fast forward two years and we were back at the African Hearts boys home this past summer. We were at the boys home to watch a 4th of July performance that the African Hearts band was playing for us that night. This is where the full circle moment happens.

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FIRST LET ME BACK UP A BIT…

Earlier in the day, we spent in the slum feeding program where the amazing African Hearts ministry goes into the slums every other day and feeds the least of these. The slum feeding days are always my hardest days in Uganda, because my mind truly cannot comprehend how young children live this way. The slums are hard to describe. For me and my American ways, the slums seem like a living hell. The boys that come to eat are alone, scared, angry, timid, dirty, hungry, tired, and live in survival mode. Every day and every night is survival. They sleep and eat and live on the streets. They have no home and no family. Most of them sniff gasoline to numb their hearts and minds and stomachs. They are high and lost. No purpose. No passion. They just simply survive. The slums is truly a heartbreaking place.

The only thing that comforts my soul is knowing that we serve a God who is the Father to the fatherless. Who rescues, redeems, and restores. Our days spent with the African Hearts ministry is like spending your days witnessing (in the most visual and tangible way) what it looks like to see a life rescued. See some of the slum boys, they are taken into the African Hearts boys home. The African Hearts ministry raises these boys in a Godly home. These boys grow up to become amazing Godly men with purpose and passions. They give them a home, an education, safety, & security. They are taught about family and love and Jesus. These boys are taken off the streets and given a hope and a future. Purpose and passion is alive in the eyes of these boys. It is truly a remarkable thing to witness.

It is almost surreal to leave the slums, filled with sadness and despair and then visit the African Hearts boys home filled with joy and hope. To know that the African Hearts boys were once former street children is almost hard to believe. These boys are kind, smart, loving, and a delight to spend the day with.

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By this time in our visit with the African Hearts boys, I had already made a connection with one of the boys. He found me right when we arrived and held my hand and pretty much never let go for the next few hours. I learned about his story and his past and he is an amazing boy with a miraculous story.

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As we were visiting with the boys, we were asked if we wanted to take a walk to see the new boys home. As we started the walk, it hit me. We were walking to the same house we had stomped the red dirt floors in 2 years prior. When we arrived at the house, it was a full circle moment for me. Wow! Look at this house we helped build.

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This new house is called the “family home” for African Hearts boys. The family home is for children rescued off the streets who have no family to ever return home to. This is their forever home. When we arrived at the family home, wouldn’t you know that the very room I pounded the floor in 2 years ago is now the bedroom for the sweet boy whose hand I was holding. Wow! My heart was overwhelmed. He was so proud to show me his bed.

IMG_2156 Robin & I were so proud to look at the floors in his room and see that they were level. Haha!
IMG_2164Standing in the exact spot 2 years later.

That day was such a neat day for me. We serve such a sovereign God who knows every detail of every moment. The Lord knew I’d return to that home again and see that the floors I complained about pounding were now the floors to the bedroom of a sweet boy that I had fallen in love with.

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As I left the African Hearts boys home that night, my heart was excited in anticipation for what comes next. And that part I can’t tell just yet :)

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Full circle moments. I love witnessing God in action :)

Back To School Morning Routine!

Yesterday was the first day of school.

It was a beautiful morning!
IMG_3015We diffused JOY and Lemon and had a very peaceful, joyful, morning with lots of excitement for the new year ahead!
joy lemonI rubbed Thieves on every set of feet. We have a saying in our home: “A drop of Thieves a day keeps the sickness away”
thievesWe went outside to wait for the bus and had fun taking all of our 1st Day of School pictures!
IMG_2977This year we have: Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, & 3rd grade!

IMG_2985The 3 big kids started this week. Kindergarten starts next week. 
IMG_2964The big girls are now at different schools. They gave each other many many hugs and listed ALL the reasons why they are going to miss each other. These sweet girls are only 15 months a part and have a unique bond.
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Daddy was home to enjoy the excitement of the First Day of School! First he enjoyed his coffee on the porch.
IMG_2982 And then he played “gate keeper” as they waited for the bus. (The sheriff is directing school time traffic)
IMG_2999We rubbed Valor and Lavender for any first day of school jitters! And so they smell yummy :)

IMG_2995Lots of hugs and kisses and a special prayer of safety and favor and grace over this new school year!
IMG_3005 It was an awesome morning of new beginnings. And I was so excited to offer my 2 DAY promotion of FREE back to school gifts. Why? Because I absolutely love having essential oils for our family. With 5 young children, I love how easy, effective, and practical these oils are. I love that there is an oil for everything. I love how fast and well they work. I love how my children ask for the oils because they too see how well they work. I love that these oils offer safe alternatives. And I truly believe that every home with children needs these oils. I honestly can’t imagine our school morning routines without our oils. They are that amazing :)
Don’t miss out, offer ends today!
Back to School Promo

Are you OIL ready for Back-To-School?

In celebration of school starting today, I am offering a TWO DAY incentive of FREE gifts! Offer ends tomorrow August 8th at midnight!

You know what’s cool? Every oil listed on this Back-To-School flier comes in the Premium Starter kit. (also included in the starter kit are the oils JOY and STRESS AWAY). So 11 oils total, all with easy and practical uses for Back To School time!

Back To School Oil Sistas Flier

Sooo….for anyone who signs up with Young Living with the Premium Starter kit, I am gifting two awesome back to school gifts! Both of these FREE gifts are perfect to put in your child’s backpack for everyday use in the classroom. Or to give to the teacher to use in the classroom.

WHAT ARE THE FREE GIFTS?

1. Thieves® Spray is ideal for use on door handles, toilet seats, desks, and any surface that needs cleansing to protect from dust, mold, and undesirable microorganisms. Also great to clean toys, pencils, and other items that are touched by many hands. This small bottle is perfect for traveling and keeping in a child’s backpack. ($12)
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2. Thieves® Waterless Hand Purifier is an all-natural hand purifier designed to cleanse and refresh the hands. Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier can be used by adults and children to keep hands clean and promote good hygiene, without the use of water. Dermatologist tested. I love this hand sanitizer, because unlike most other hand sanitizers, this does not kill the good bacteria, which the body needs to fight germs! ($7)
3407196951_646e60d4bf_z*Both of these gifts are a $25 Value!

Back to School Promo
How to receive these two FREE gifts: 
1. Click on “Member Sign-up” I’ve linked it (HERE)
2. Click on “Young Living Wholesale member” (Becoming a member allows you to place orders and save 24% off retails pricing)
4. You will need to enter a SPONSOR ID and an ENROLLER ID. Make sure my MEMBER ID is entered FOR BOTH: #1403853
5. When you sign up as a member, you will then order your 1st STARTER KIT (that is under STEP 1). You will choose the Premium Starter Kit (there are 2 different diffuser options. Pick whichever one you want, they are both great).  STEP 2 will ask you to order an ESSENTIAL REWARDS KIT, but you can click the button on bottom to order that kit later (or never).
6. You are asked for your social only if you ever choose to pursue the business side. If you don’t pursue the business side, no worries! Your social will never be used.
7. After I receive confirmation that your membership is complete, I will send you an official welcome email, add you to all our awesome facebook groups, and will mail your free gifts within 2 weeks.

YAY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL!

 

Oh How I Love Back To School….

Oh How I Love Back To School. Let me count thy ways…

First let me say this: Holla to the homeschool moms! You guys are my heros! All of my closest bestest friends, including one of my sisters homeschool their kids. Home school moms rock! And so do home school kids!

However, ain’t none of them got dysfunctional quintuplets (a term we made up one day when we realized we had 5 children under the age of 8, all 5 years apart, with age gaps spanning from 10 months  to a whopping 14 months).

So this post is for anyone who has an (almost 4), 5, 6, 7, & 8 year old who are entering Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd grade. And is thankful for School-Away-From-Home! Summers are fun for a season. But I sure do love when the summer season changes :)

IMG_2891This was the one and only day when I had my act together this summer. We made homemade organic strawberry/banana/blueberry popsicles. Well actually my 8 year old did. 

I was thinking about all the reasons I LOVE BACK TO SCHOOL. And realized I have too many reasons, so for the sake of this public post I’m going to limit it to my TOP 5.

1. My Best Friend Returns. She is yellow and cute and is a school bus. She arrives in my driveway every morning and returns every afternoon. When she arrives, I get to kiss and hug and wave goodbye to my sweet children, while wearing my pajamas and holding a steaming cup of hot coffee that I will ACTUALLY ENJOY. In the afternoons, she will return with my greatest treasures who I will have actually missed and be happy to see. Who knew I would love a school bus so much?

2. I will no longer do 737 loads of laundry a week, because the quints won’t be going through 37 outfits a day. They will instead live in uniforms 5 days a week from sun up to sun down. One outfit a day. And hopefully this will limit me to only 7 loads of laundry per week. I will still have my (almost) 4 year old home with me, who currently lives in Cinderella and Brave costumes. And those only need to be washed every couple of months. Right?!?

3. I will no longer cook 53 meals a day. 50 of which are “I’m-bored-feed-me” requests. By the end of this summer I started thinking of ways in which I could make my children actually feel real hunger. Like how could I start skipping meals, so that they truly knew what “I’m hungry” really feels like. Instead of “I’m bored therefor the only other thing I can think to do is ask you for more food”. Why does breakfast run into snack which runs into another snack which runs into lunch which runs into another snack which runs into another snack which runs into dinner? Why do I feel like I’m being held hostage in my own kitchen? Why do they think it is my job to feed them every 15 minutes?

IMG_2897Here the boys are double fisting frozen fruit snacks. Why? Because I was hoping that a double snack would give me 30 extra minutes of freedom before the next food request. 

The fact that I travel to Uganda each summer does not help my children’s “I’m hungry” requests either. We are all sick of hearing (from me) about how the children in Africa eat. But seriously. One day the quints will be old enough to travel with me. And I’m sure that’s when my Aha! moments will begin as a parent. Please God, tell me that’s when they will finally understand that they are NOT always hungry.

4. I will think my own thoughts. I forget what it is like to wakeup and go throughout the day having uninterrupted thoughts that don’t involve what some little person is demanding me to do for them. Sometimes when I’m thinking an important decision-making-adult-thought in my head, I suddenly lose it through the shrills of a fight I need to break up…or a butt that needs to be wiped…or another request for food. I like to finish a thought process.

I not only like to think straight, but and I also like for other people to be able to think straight while talking to me. Sometimes when I’m on the phone with someone, they hear unexpected screams and outright chaos. It’s always met with “Is everything ok?” It’s like “yeah” (but really NO, I have 5 YOUNG KIDS, so no. NO nothing is ever just OK. I lost control 5 seconds into our conversation and now we’ve been on the phone for 13 minutes so my entire home is falling apart.) The other day I had an important phone interview. I tried to hide in backyard. They kept finding me, so I locked them inside. When I came back inside 45 minutes later, well I paid the price. I cleaned my house for the next 3 hours. Why didn’t I kick them outside during the phone call?

IMG_2910 Here are the quints running towards me. I have my very own herd of wild animals. 

I am also not a professional 5-kids-under-8 entertainer. I don’t have to think little kid thoughts all day and perform little kid acts all day. We live in a ridiculously hot climate during the summer, I get that. The kids get hot. They come inside. They are hot and thirsty and of course “hungry”. I asked our beloved Nanny Ally “what is the best thing about the kids going back to school?” She replied: “I don’t have to keep them entertained anymore all day everyday”.  Yep. That was the exact answer my husband gave me last night and my thoughts exactly. Entertaining young children with activities to keep them from getting bored is a full time job. We don’t watch a lot of tv in our family and we don’t own video games or smart phone games. Our kids do a lot of outside play.  When they come in hot and have exhausted all of their go-to-activities (art, reading, board games, legos, barbies, etc…), they look to us for the answers. They need projects. New material. New assignments. They need SCHOOL! Not taught by me.

So much of my life revolves around what the quints need and want. All. Day. Long. And looking for things. Where is my water bottle? Where is my shoe? Where is my microscopical lego guys hat? With 5 kids under 8, I am LONGING for a helper. Just recently the big girls have started helping with a lot more chores and tasks, but for the most part they are still awesome at mess making & work creating. While I’m typing this my 7 year old just walked up to me and said “Where are my American girls clothes?” So of course I lost my train of thought and was probably going to finish this sentence differently.

5. The days become shorter. The sun goes down sooner. Young children become tricked by mother nature. Because dark means bedtime. And bedtime means sleep. And more sleep in a day means more quiet in a day. And more quiet means more peace. And more peace means “Hey babe, I think we should adopt another child from Africa”. And then….well that’s a whole different blog post.

All in all, it’s been a great summer. My time in Africa was productive. We moved into a new home. We are 90% unpacked. The children are all settled into their bedrooms, in which they have already broken rule #1 which is NO FOOD ALLOWED UPSTAIRS. I’ve already found crumbs of blue corn tortilla chips all over their  bedroom floors, well because of course I’m sure they were bored and hungry. And they probably tried to sweep it up with one of their 17 outfits from they day that were also thrown all over the floor.

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Holla for the first day of school tomorrow! 

The Launch of OIL SISTAS Website! Woo-hoo!

Last week we launched our new OIL SISTAS website. Woo-hoo! Before we launched, each of us 8 SISTAS (that worked together to create the website), wrote a blog post. As I read through each post before the launch date, I realized how much I love working with these people. Each of the 8 writers brings such unique perspective, passion, and wisdom. I loved reading each of my SISTAS blog posts so much, that I thought you would too!

One of the biggest assets of our new website will be our bi-weekly blog posts written by many different OIL SISTAS from around the world.

In an effort to highlight the SISTAS that helped make the website happen, I want to briefly share about each of their posts. While the website includes bios on each of us, you can also learn so much about a person through the way they write and the topics they write about.

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First, who are the OIL SISTAS?

Oil Sistas was created by me and my 3 sisters, all of us who share a God-given passion for natural health and healing. As Young Living essential oils began to transform our lives and homes, we had a strong desire to share with others! As we started sharing about the oils with our friends and family, we watched our family of “sistas” grow and eventually “Oil Sistas” was born. Our goal is to unite “sistas” (and brothas) from around the globe to discover health and healing in your own homes. Our motto is:

Taking Health Into Our Own Hands.
One. Drop. At. A. Time.

We created our new website for ALL Oil Sistas to unite in order to share, learn, & grow together. It is our hope that the website will inspire, encourage, & educate others to natural health and healing in their home, through the use of therapeutic grade essential oils.

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Blog Post highlights from the new OIL SISTAS website:

(click on name to read bios, click on titles to read posts)

Jessica Gianelloni: My first blog post on the new website was on “My First Two Oil Loves”. It was fun to go back in time and write about the first two oils that had me hooked on Young Living!

Harmony Patterson: My sister Harmony, a rock star stay at home mom of 4 and researcher extraordinaire wrote a “Best Medicine” piece, co-written with her husband Luke (a scientist), and the two of them both started ALL of us off on this journey when they read the book The Chemistry of Essential Oils, and knew without a doubt that Young Living essential oils were the purest, best medicine on the planet.

Hailey Miranda: My sister Hailey, a doula and midwife, wrote her first blog post on Oils and Childbirth. Hailey has been using YL oils at her prenatal visits, births, and postpartum visits for a few years now. The testimonies are endless. Hailey is amazing at what she does and offers such unique wisdom on using the oils for childbirth and on young babies.

Hannah Miranda: My sister Hannah wrote a really cool blog called “A Personal Trainers Perspective on Young Living”, where she shares what she likes to use as a personal trainer. Hannah is the baby sister of the family, a Division-1 rock star volleyball athlete ( the 4th of all of us sisters to play volleyball in college and also the best of all of us) and now uses the oils on her clients and while coaching.

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We also have our Soul Sistas!

These are our close friends that fell in love with the oils and believed in our vision and have walked with us during this very exciting time of launching a new business.

Danielle Keen:  Danielle is a mother to 5 and wrote a really cool piece from the perspective of her 12 years in the ER, called “See One. Do One. Teach One.” I love having Danielle’s perspective in our group, as she worked in the mainstream medical community for many years. I always describe Danielle as the mature to my madness. We are a good duo :)

Karen Lodato: Karen has many roles in OIL SISTAS. Some days she is our photographer, some days she is our editor, some days she is our website tech (well her husband Frank really), but she is also my dear friend an awesome OIL SISTA with 5 kids who is able to share about oils on a very real and practical level. This is her piece called  “I’m not in the mood”, where she shares how a single oil cured her of no longer not being in the mood. Yes us Sistas are very real and tell it like it is!

Jordan Phipps: I call Jordan my sister-in-love. My sister Hailey is married to her brother Jeremy, so technically Jordan & I are not sister-in-laws. But she is just like a sister and more. Jordan wrote her piece titled “My Antibiotic Aha Moment”. This is what I love about Jordan, she will research until she finds the answer that works for her. Independent thinkers in young people is so refreshing!

Robin Maiocca: Robin is a mom of 4 who loves the oils and loves teaching about the oils. She has been traveling this month and her first blog post will publish soon. Robin makes my life fun, because she is my BFF in all the world. We just returned from our second trip to Africa together, where we used the oils on orphans. You can learn more about our OILS for ORPHANS campaign here!

I am so proud and honored to be an OIL SISTA with these lovely ladies! I pray that our posts bless you as you learn more about the wonderful world of essential oils. And if you are not yet an OIL SISTA, what are you waiting for? :)

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P.S. Between the 8 of us OIL SISTAS, there are 3 young (newly married) without kids yet. The rest of us have 23 kids between the 5 of us. Haha! That piece of information has nothing to do with anything, other than to say Yes, Young Living oils are awesome for kids! And we also have 8 amazing husbands (OIL BROTHAS) who love and use the oils as much as we do. Stay tuned for the launch of OIL BROTHAS :)

Oils for Orphans Campaign!

Two of my biggest passions: Young Living Essential Oils (God’s medicine) and Orphans (God’s children).

This summer I was able to bring these two passions together. Below is a video (made by one of our awesome OIL SISTAS) showing our time in Uganda using Young Living Essential Oils. It truly was an amazing experience.

Many of you have asked how you can get involved in this. Many of you want to accompany us on future trips. Many of you are already oil users and many of you are not.

First, YES we will have openings for our trip next summer. So if coming to Uganda to love on orphans and use Young Living Essential Oils is something you want to do, please be on the look out for future blog posts or contact me personally. In the meantime, it is my prayer that we can continue to send oils to Uganda throughout the year, until we all return again!

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OILS FOR ORPHANS CAMPAIGN!

Right now I am hoping to send replenish two of the orphanages that have run out of oils and have requested the following:

Peace & Calming
Lavender
Lemon
Melaleuca A.
Thieves
Oregano
RC
Raven

These oils will be sent to Uganda with a team member in OCTOBER, so please try to help us reach these goals by OCTOBER 1st! 

One of the babies orphanage is near and dear to my heart (for reasons we will announce very soon) :) There are currently 50 orphaned babies living in this home. When they are put to bed at night and their mosquito nets are pulled over their cribs, it is hard to comprehend how precious little babies can be so alone. There are no monitors to sound off when they awake in the middle of the night. There are no rocking chairs sitting next to their cribs for someone to hold them and rock them back to sleep when they wake. There are no pacifiers or lullaby music to soothe them back to sleep. They are alone. Until the sun rises and morning comes. The sleep alone.

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One of our nights after putting the babies to sleep, many of the babies were still crying in their cribs. My sister went around and rubbed Peace & Calming and Lavender on all of their feet. Within minutes, the room went from dozens of crying babies to silence. Peaceful sleep for the babies. I remember walking out of the orphanage that night and thanking God for His medicine made from His perfect creation that were helping those babies sleep peacefully. The next day we met with the director of the orphanage and one of the nurses. We taught them how to use the oils on the babies. Unfortunately we did not have a large inventory of Peace & Calming and Lavender to leave with them (were were able to give them many bottles of Thieves, Oregano, Melaleuca A, & Lemon). So I’m really hoping to send more oils soon! And I love the idea of getting other oil users involved in this campaign!

I know how much my 5 kids in America love the oils being rubbed on their feet before bed. Why not give this same peaceful rest to the least of these on the other side of the world?

There might not be enough arms to hold 50 babies in the middle of the night, but a single set of hands can rub oils on the bottom of babies feet within in minutes. You might not be called to Uganda, East Africa…but you can send some oils that way!

I’m so excited for this OILS for ORPHANS campaign! Who will join me? :)

Blessings,
Jessica

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Uganda: Home Away From Home

I’m sitting in the Paris airport traveling home from a 2 week trip to Uganda. It was only 2 weeks, but felt like 2 months. We accomplished more in our jam packed 13 hour days than I feel like I accomplish in a year back in America. The needs are so great in Uganda, yet the hearts are so open and ready and willing. Willing to give, to love, to smile, to be thankful, and to celebrate Jesus at all times!  This is a country that is materially poor, but spiritually rich.  It’s hard to put into words what Uganda means to me. One of our children being from Uganda makes every trip even more meaningful, as his home nation is truly becoming mine. I look forward to the day when my entire family visits Uganda together. This country has forever changed my life.

From the pain and suffering of the street kids in the slums to the joyous smiles of children rescued and being raised in orphanages and homes. Most days you want to just ask “Why?” The poverty. The despair. The filth. The hunger. The pain. Yet, so much joy and happiness. There is so much about this country that “gets its”. They truly get what matters most. And I am continually reminded how much our country of America does not. The things that you see and witness in this country don’t always make sense. But I find rest in knowing that these are God’s children. I can’t save them all. But I can love on the ones put in front of me. Loving on orphans is where my purpose and passion lives. And at the end of the those long days during the past 2 weeks, I always went to bed knowing one thing for sure: Jesus is alive in Uganda. And Uganda is where I feel alive.

When my feet touched down in Uganda, I knew I was home :)

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The first day is always fun when you exchange American dollars into shillings. For every U.S. $1, you receive $2,500 shillings.
And suddenly you are a millionaire :) Time to change the world! IMG_1279 This year we had an awesome team of 17 people. 14 women and 3 men. Here are a few pictures of our awesome team!

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Our youngest team member was this cutie pie Lindsey who is only 15 years old and came on the trip alone. I love seeing the obedience in young girls who follow when God speaks to their hearts. Little Lindsey is a world changer. If Lindsey came come on this trip alone, anyone can!
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This year my mom and sister came on the trip. It was so special having them there with me! IMG_2359
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I also had my best friend Robin. This was our 2nd trip to Uganda together and many more to come. 10386754_10204041934388333_4938050302194518891_nThere are so many different stories to tell about this trip, and it is always so hard to put into words. It will take a few weeks to process, so until then I’ve made a photo albums public on facebook, so that you can follow our journey there!

1. The first album is called “Uganda: Home Away From Home “, where you can view our daily pictures at the different ministries that we worked with, the children that we met, and the amazing things that we are so blessed to take part in. From cooking and feeding the children to face painting and handing out rainbow looms, to conducting VBS and women’s programs. We’ve conducted amazing Bible Studies with teenage girls and loved on the smallest and weakest babies in orphanages. We’ve served in homes and villages and everywhere in between. We cooked meals for hundreds and a time. And delivered rice, beans, flour, sugar, and salt to single homes of widows.

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And everyday another child captured my heart and I continue to be broken and forever changed.

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2. The second album is called “Young Living in Uganda“, where you can view how we used Young Living essential oils in a 3rd world country. Every day we had an opportunity to use Young Living essential oils on the orphans and people of UgandaOIL SISTAS are changing world health and medicine cabinets, one drop at a time  Because of the generosity of Young Living, we have been able to reach the least of these in a 3rd world country! Over 500 children were treated for everything from cuts, scrapes, & burns to ring worm and fungal infections. Yay for Young Living! Yay for OIL SISTAS! Check out the pictures, they are pretty cool!
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3. I’ve also posted an album on my blog facebook page, thanking YOU amazing blog readers for your awesomeness in the rainbow loom challenge. We hoped for 1,000 and ended up with 5,000. Wow!!!! Blown away by you guys!!!!!! Thank-you! You can view the rainbow loom album HERE.
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From the simplicity of the villages to the traffic jams of Kampala to the red dirt roads of Jinja and the beauty of the Nile….
Uganda IS my home away from home!
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Until next time….blessings to you wherever you are!
Jessica (who is now officially African)IMG_2166