The Origins of E

The Origins of E

I’ve seen some really adorable ways that wives have told their husbands they’re having a baby. Cute cards, t-shirts, drawing on their stomachs (okay, that one is a little weird to me). My friend Sara put a boy onesie and a girl onesie inside a dresser drawer, placed the positive pregnancy test in between, and left a card for her husband that said “Get Ready for # 2!” (#2 is referring to their second child, not a BM). So adorable.

Predictably, when I told Daniel the news, I didn’t have as much… what’s the word… dignity. After I told him I thought of a million cute ways to do it. But that’s not the Kraniel way. Kraniel = Kristen + Daniel. Get with the program.

No, our way usually involves confusion, shouting, and, in this case, foreign languages.

When I took the test, I didn’t expect to get a positive result. Don’t get me wrong – I wanted one. I just didn’t think I would get one. So when the second little line appeared, I kind of froze for a second. Then, as only I can do, I thought This can’t be right. Nice, huh? My baby will be so thrilled to hear that I had to make sure that it wasn’t a user error several times over. I’ll probably write that on the first birthday card.

So anyway, I just couldn’t believe it. I had to make sure – but how? I only had the one test. So I ran down the hallway to Daniel, who was listening to something on the computer.

“Daniel!” I said. No answer. He’s half-deaf. And with headphones in, forgettaboutit. No way would he hear me. Some people might have tapped him on the shoulder. I just took a deep breath and bellowed “DANIEL!” 

He jumped and turned around.

“READ THIS!” I pushed the test and the directions for the test into his hands.


“READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND TELL ME WHAT THIS TEST SAYS.” Yes, his headphones were off by now. No, I did not stop yelling at top volume.

“Kristen, I can’t read this!” He was trying to show me something on the instructions.

JUST READ IT!!” I screamed like the girl from The Exorcist.

“I CAN’T!!!”

“WHY NOT???!!!!”


Wait, what? I took the instructions from him. Sure enough, there was a Spanish side and an English side. That’s what I get for buying my test on sale at Wal-Mart. I flipped the instructions to the English side and handed it back to him very sweetly.

“Could you pretty please read it now?”

He read it. He is not a fast reader.

“WILL YOU PLEASE JUST HURRY??” I was yelling again. This time it came out more like the Emperor from Star Wars.

“Stop rushing me. I am going as fast as I can.”


“I CAN’T.”



After 16 hours had passed, he finished. “Can I see the test?”

I handed it to him. He looked at the test. He looked back at the instructions. He looked back at the test. He looked back at the instructions. Test. Instructions. Test. Instructions. TEST. My brain was about to implode when he got a big smile on his face.

“This says you’re pregnant!!!!!!!”

We hugged it out. Did we spend the rest of the evening going over baby names and how to tell people and wondering if we would be good parents? Nope. Daniel went back to his headphones. I caught up on Grey’s Anatomy.

It’s the Kraniel way.

Where was God?

Where was God?

Yesterday our nation watched a terrible tragedy unfold. There is no situation in which watching a gunman open fire on a school would be easy. But to hear that the victims were young children and people dedicated to educating those children makes it worse. It sharpens the hurt that much more.

As a Christian, whenever I think of tragedy, I think of the story of Job. That is the quintessential Bible story to talk about sorrow and hardship. The story is of a man named Job and his family. We know a few things about Job: He has 7 sons, 3 daughters, a wife, and lots of livestock. The livestock is the best-behaved group in the bunch. Job is described as a righteous man who prays fervently for his family to turn back to God every day.

One day, Satan goes to God and tells Him that Job is only so faithful because he has such a cozy life. He’s well-off, has a huge family, and never wants for anything. If he had none of this, Satan argues, Job would turn away from God just like everyone else. God tells Satan he’s wrong – he can take away any of Job’s things and Job will remain faithful.

So Satan does it. Job literally loses everything. His children are tragically killed. All of his livestock dies. His health deteriorates. His friends turn away from him and his wife tells him to give up. Job has nothing. And he mourns. He grieves and cries for days, talking with God and trying to make sense of his life now.

But there is one line in the book of Job that stands out, that seems almost confusing considering the circumstances. Verse 21 in chapter 1 of Job is when Job says these simple but powerful words: “The Lord has given, and The Lord has taken away. May the name of The Lord be praised.”

May the name of The Lord be praised. I have to be honest and say that might not have been my first reaction in these circumstances. When I read this story growing up, that part made me mad. I was angry on Job’s behalf – how could God allow this?

As I re-read these verses today in light of the Connecticut tragedy, however, a different perspective came to mind. That verse isn’t giving a suggestion of how Job should react. It’s not a commandment. It’s a direct quote from Job. He lost everything and still remembered who his Creator was.

Job was a wise man. He realized something that very few of us understand: Nothing is ours. It’s all God’s. Every last thing. Our homes. Our friends. Our children. We may not like it and we may not understand it. But it’s true.

Since yesterday, many of us have asked “Where was God?” I can only think of one answer. God is right where He has always been: waiting for His people to return to Him and welcoming those who already have. God called those children home where there is no suffering, no sorrow, no senseless murders. We mourn them and we pray for the families who mourn them. But they aren’t lost. They’re perfect now. May the name of The Lord be praised.

Conversations that can only be had with your BF4L

Conversations that can only be had with your BF4L

BFF Jen and I argued about orphans and snow today. And, lucky you – I have captured the moments below for your viewing pleasure. To give it some context, I had just told Jen that I had accidentally spilled water on a book of poems Daniel wrote for me, ruining the first few pages. I tend to be “over-dramatic” and react “dangerously out of proportion to the situation” so I was very sad.

Aaaaand, cue convo:

Jenna: I know, that’s a bummer. But at least you still have it and now you have a good story to go along with it. Or you should make up a good story to go along with it.
Me:  The story of my sorrow.
Jenna:  Daniel was away on a trip for days and it was the first time you had been apart. And it was Christmas. And it was raining…it hadn’t turned to snow yet. You had gone out Christmas shopping alone and had taken the book of poems with you to have a little piece of him, and when you were coming back into the house, they fell into a puddle.
Me:  Awwwwwwww that’s sad, too.
Jenna:  Well yeah, it’s supposed to make everyone pity you in your sorrow.
Me: How about an orphan was in our house and knocked a cup of water onto my night stand. He gave us 6 million dollars to make up for it. And why would Daniel leave me on Christmas?? I don’t want him to. He never travels.
Jenna: Oh for the love. Fine, the kid knocked it over and gave you a bunch of cash.
Me:  I mean, what, is he going to leave me on VALENTINE’S day, too??
Jenna: Yes. And leave you with the orphan again.
Me:  I hate that orphan. He always wants to talk.
Jenna:  Shouldn’t have let him in the house.
Me:  He just walked in.
Jenna:  Well next time push him out.
Me:  It was raining! About to turn to snow! On CHRISTMAS.
Jenna:  You can’t mix stories!
Me:  I just did.
Jenna:  Well then that also means Daniel was still gone.
Me:  Nuh-uh! Aren’t you listening? He NEVER travels!
Jenna:  Yes huh, it’s my story.
Me:  It’s my poem book.
Jenna:  That you dropped in the puddle.
Jenna:  Yeah, yeah.
Me:  I’m still sad.
Jenna:  Then I can’t help you.
Me:  Then I have nothing else to say.
Jenna:  Told ya. Bwahaha.
Me:  Aw, shoot. You win this round, Cooper. But I’ll be back.
Jenna:  HAAAAAAAAAA. Yesssss.
B. F. 4. L. 

Everything I never knew about babies

Everything I never knew about babies

Daniel has a general knowledge of just about everything. The Bible, history, mechanics, television – he knows a lot.

I, on the other hand, live my life in a land where unicorns and Pop Tarts reign supreme. Sure, I don’t know who my Senator is (I totally do), but I can find you pictures of six cute cats in thirty seconds or less.

So it didn’t surprise me to find out that I didn’t know a ton about babies, either. When my nephew was born, I discovered all sorts of things. I would share them with you, but I don’t want to be on DFACS’ radar before my baby is even born. Let’s just say I didn’t know much about babies. Daniel knows a lot about them, so our kid still has a good chance of eating every day and going to school and whatever else children do.

I am still learning about babies. I have, however, learned some interesting things about pregnancy. These revelations aren’t “scientific” or “medical” or “useful” but if I had realized just how true they were, I would have prepared myself more for them. You want to know what they are, don’t you. Come onnnn. Say yes. Say it. Say it say it say it say it say it.

Okay, I’m just going to pretend you said it. Here we go!

1) Pregnancy makes you stupid.  You may not know this, but I totally have a super power: I can remember anything. Birthdays? Check. Anniversaries? Done. Random facts about guns and the history of guns? I’m on FIRE.

But not anymore. Now I’m stupid. Stupid is a harsh word. But I cannot think of another way to describe my brain when I am at the post office, trying my hardest to remember my address and telling the nice USPS lady that I could just drive down the street and look at my mailbox really quick. My mom gave me a notebook to write things down so I would remember them. I have no idea where it is. Sorry, Mom. I teach children’s church at my church and called at least 3 kids by the wrong name last week. They kind of just went with it. They also wear name tags, by the way.

So be ye warned, potentially pregnant ladies. It is serious business. Get a notebook. And Velcro it to your shirt.

2) Lettuce is the enemy. McDonald’s is my friend. I can no longer eat lettuce. Not sure why lettuce specifically has given me that lovely feeling that I am about to barf at any moment. But it does. I avoided Taco Bell for a while because of all the lettuce. I avoided Taco Bell. Then Daniel pointed out that I should just get my taco without lettuce. I told you he was smart.

McDonald’s, on the other hand, is my new best friend. I do not go to McDonald’s. Ever. Before these last few months I had gone to McDonald’s maybe 5 times in the last ten years. I don’t like it. But now I love it. I kind of want to marry it. Except I’m already married. But I think Daniel would let me bring McDonald’s into our marriage. He likes it, too. We could all be so happy together.

Ahem. Anyway. McDonald’s is awesome.

3) Everyone and their mother has a medical degree. Apparently. I had heard that people were incredibly rude and nosy to pregnant women. Not on purpose, of course (I hope), but it was still an issue. And maybe I didn’t believe it was that bad. I’m here to tell you – it is that bad.

Random strangers have told me which veggies to eat, to lose weight, to make sure I take a swimming class so my baby will know how to swim. Yeah. That last one really confused me, too. The Quizno’s lady keeps telling me horror stories about parents dropping babies or forgetting to feed them. And once a child at Babies R Us asked if I was pregnant. I mean, yes, I am. But we all know you don’t ask. Never too early to learn, right, Johnny? Oh, stop crying; I didn’t pinch you that hard.

Believe it or not, strangers are the easiest ones to deal with. I can get all Southern on them and say something polite that on the surface makes me sound so gracious but that really means they have .2 seconds to back. the heck. up. before I go crazy ninja on them. It’s the people that I see on a regular basis that really drive me nuts. I have had people email me about how much I am hurting my baby by drinking Diet Coke. One person told me that my highlights have likely damaged my baby forever.

If you are one of those people… sorry. It’s better you know this now. We’re still friends. It’s cool. But how about we all abide by this one rule, m’kay? If you don’t have some kind of medical training or degree, I don’t want to hear it. 

**There is obviously the exception of other pregnant women and/or mothers that I am friends with. Please give me all of your advice and I will make you a cake. HELP ME.**

The rest of you, go use that eager, helping spirit to build a house for the poor or donate some toys for Christmas. Learn to weave baskets, take up knitting, apply to clown school and buy a red nose – just no. more. advice. My own mother-in-law is actually a real live nurse and I have yet to hear from her about all the terrible things I am doing during my pregnancy. So rest assured that I have medical staff on hand who are measuring my Diet Coke intake by the ounce.

This post seems mean now. Maybe I shouldn’t post it. Eh, who I am kidding. But here – have six cute kittens to make you happy again.



Turkey Day was yesterday. Did you enjoy it? Did you have fun? Did you wave your hands in the air like you just didn’t care?

BFF Jen gets so excited about Thanksgiving that I always sniff her drink to make sure that is the only reason she’s excited. I, on the other hand, have never been one to get excited about Thanksgiving. Not that I don’t look forward to it – I love getting together with everyone. It’s just not something I get YAY YAY YAY IS IT THANKSGIVING YET excited about.

Except for this year. This year, I was so excited about Thanksgiving that I was literally counting down until the end of the day on Wednesday. I couldn’t decide why I was so excited. Maybe it was because I didn’t get to see my side of the family as much for Thanksgiving last year. Maybe it was because I hadn’t been to my grandparents’ in a while. Maybe it was because I knew my aunt would make brownies again – and that woman knows how to bake a brownie, let me tell you. 

But otherwise, Thanksgiving was the same as it had been every year. And then it hit me – maybe that was why I was so excited. Maybe I was just looking forward to relaxing and laughing with my family in the same way I have done since I was a baby. And because my family is awesome and I have never fully appreciated them before. 

I’ve said before (and stand by it) that my grandparents are better than yours.  It’s still true. My grandparents open their home to us every year. They are so excited about their two great-grandchildren and that is so fun to see. Just picture my Papaw leaning over 3-month-old Peyton and making kissy noises. Best visual ever and even better to see in real life.

And I love seeing my aunt and uncle and cousins. My cousin Allen wasn’t able to come this year, so we poured some cider out in his honor. But I did get to see my other two cousins, who I hadn’t seen in ages, and get to know my newest two cousins, Ashleigh and Tenley! Ashleigh is a grown-up; Tenley is a baby. That will assist in future confusion in this post. It was wonderful to catch up and see them and ask about their lives. And, of course, to totally abuse my friendship with Ashleigh to ask her pregnancy and baby tips.

Seeing my aunt Shonda is an experience in itself :) since she always brings the fun and crazy to the party. But it’s a good crazy, the kind your children can witness, so don’t be alarmed. She’s funny and goes with the flow. And I already told you about the brownies. You want to be her friend. My uncle Stan, who is the quietest one (or used to be; we broke him in), always wholeheartedly participates in our crazy, and doesn’t even complain when we change our plans 16 times in a row. He needs a medal.

I get to see my immediate family a lot, but it’s still fun when we get to see each other at Thanksgiving. It’s like when you see a movie you love on TV and you have to watch it, even though you own it and can watch it whenever you want. I am eternally grateful for my parents and siblings. They are weird and funny and ridiculous and I know I am blessed to have my whole family around all the time. When my sister got married, I worried it would be hard to adapt to a new member of the family. But Andy jumped right in and became one of us so fast it was like he was always there. That is partly due to the fact that my entire extended family has the attitude that after we meet you once, you are now related to us and may come to all events. Please bring a dessert to share.

Then, of course, my great-grandmother and great-aunt made the trip to come see everyone like they do every year. They live a little ways away but they came anyway. And it was so fun to see them meet Peyton and Tenley. That made 5 generations of us in one room! Can you imagine that? My great-grandmother was born in 1918 (I think. If that’s wrong, someone tell me, quick!!). Peyton and Tenley were born in 2012. Almost 100 years of family, together for Thanksgiving. 100 years of Thanksgivings and Christmases and birthdays and being together as often as possible.

And then there’s Daniel. Oh, Daniel. Who sits quietly while my family complains about Yankees and people from “up there.” Who not only engages himself in conversation with everyone from my great-grandmother to the babies, but spends his time fixing people’s guns and showing them how to make all sorts of dangerous things. He got to know everyone and is genuinely glad to be part of my family. I am so grateful that my family welcomed him right away.

Even though I didn’t see them at Thanksgiving this year, I have to give a shout-out to my in-laws. They have welcomed me into their family and have made a sincere and loving effort to get to know me and be my friend. I now have more parents, more sisters, more brothers, more aunts, more uncles, and more cousins to call family. Not to mention all of my cute nieces and nephews.

So this year, I am thankful for my family. I never realized how blessed I was until this year. I grew up with grandparents and great-grandparents and this year it really hit me that a lot of people do not have that opportunity. I get to not only meet but have a relationship with so many people in my family. And while so many people do not get along with their in-laws, I can’t wait until Christmas so I can see all of mine again. I am blessed beyond anything I have ever deserved.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have a Merry Christmas. And if you don’t have any family to see this year, or just want to borrow a grandparent, give me a call. You can join us any time. 

But stay away from the brownies. I call dibs.

5 generations of awesome.