Stealing Jesus

With the holidays upon us, I thought I’d share a post from my first year of blogging, detailing a Christmas memory that rather stands out. 😉 May joy find you this holiday season!

Regardless of how we spend them, the holidays draw up memories—some wonderful, some we’d rather forget and some that just keep getting funnier…

Santa/snow traffic jam in my parents' backyard

Santa’s cryogenic facelift

I don’t recall many details about the day I stole Jesus. But since I was in high school, it was probably like most winter days. I awoke to the sound of my mother’s voice, munched on toast in a fog then slipped on the ice en route to catch the bus. *winces from phantom butt ache* Come dusk, after more fogginess known as classes, I went to my friend Andrea’s house to meet with my Odyssey of the Mind team. (If you’re unfamiliar with O.M., think math team for creatives.) There, I woke up.

Beck’s “I’m a loser baby…” hummed from the stereo while we dined on doughnuts and M&Ms in preparation for the evening’s events. Tonight we would do a scavenger hunt, Andrea explained. In O.M., making practice activities as difficult as possible was key, particularly since our sights were set on state competition and beyond. Toward this end, Baby Jesus appeared on my search list.

Numerous of my teammates were atheists, the equivalent of devil worship in the eyes of my strict, Baptist grandparents. I’d spent the summer organizing benefit concerts to raise awareness about child abuse, for which I was made co-recipient of the Minnesota Peace Prize. In other words, I was a goody-goody supreme, not someone predictably comfy with Jesus-nabbing.

To worsen matters, I couldn’t yet drive and the only Jesus in the neighborhood was real, and not in a Second Coming type way. Mary and Joseph’s breath made frozen white puffs in the air and the little tyke in the manger wasn’t plastic.

Definitely out of the question.

Crap, I thought, unable to even think cuss words yet, much less state them. Then I had an idea. I’d call a friend, hitch a ride to my house and borrow the plastic, light-up Jesus from the nativity scene in the yard. My family was asleep, I figured; no one would miss him for a few hours. And besides, couldn’t the little dude use some respite? As far as I knew, he hadn’t even rested on a Sunday.

The call, ride and borrow went smoothly. With the mission accomplished, I returned to Andrea’s house. The gang fell speechless as I presented every item on my list, including the almighty savior. Sure, I’d found a creative solution—one of the O.M. pillars. But far more remarkable was the fact that I, Ms. Goody Two Shoes, stole him, presumably from a stranger’s yard. And seemed not only fine with it, but pleased.

Hours later, exhausted and high from sugar, creative tricks and camaraderie, we called it a night and a teammate drove me home.

The next morning I woke to sounds best suited to nightmares. Muffled crying. Serious voices. Something terribly wrong. I jolted upright: Cora? Listening closer, I had no doubt. My youngest sister was upset. Really upset. Before I could rush downstairs to soothe her, she said something I’ll never forget: “But Mom, why would someone steal Baby Jesus?”

The word crap no longer seemed strong enough. @$%#! I forgot Jesus! 

I snuck into my parents’ room and phoned Andrea then held my breath as she searched to no avail: Jesus wasn’t there. @#$@#$#&$#@$!!! 

I sat paralyzed in my room, scrambling for what to do. My parents’ angst-filled voices echoed through the hallway, their disappointment surely due more to Cora’s heartache than the missing figure. What my team didn’t know was that amidst my recent good-doings, I’d been picked up by the cops (for skipping class with a friend, leading our parents to believe we’d been abducted—long story) and gotten in trouble for other…*clears throat* …things. Seeing my sisters’ sad faces as the cop car pulled into the driveway that day had been too much. I couldn’t disappoint Cor, or any of them, again.

I spent the day working up the courage to confess while the term “finding Christ” took on a whole new meaning.

That night, still Jesus-less and lost for an alternate plan, I heard my mom and Cora praying for the bad person who took him.

Tomorrow, I decided. I would spill everything tomorrow.

I woke the next morning to brighter sounds. Sing song chatter. Laughter. Cora’s voice, now chipper: “It’s a Christmas miracle!”

Tears filled my eyes once I realized what had happened. The teammate who’d driven me home from Andrea’s had tucked baby Jesus back in his bed. My sister’s joy almost made the ordeal worthwhile.

Deeming my shame and frustration punishment enough, and not wishing to taint my sister’s “miracle” or opinion of me, I kept the truth to myself until last year when my dear husband outed me. I’m glad he did, as the laughter it’s brought up since is a near holiday in itself.

That Christmas, plug-in Jesus shed light on a few things. While the truth may set us free, happy outcomes sometimes pan out regardless. Pausing to think/panic may enhance those results. And perhaps the ‘good’ in Goody Two Shoes speaks solely of her intentions, and her walk isn’t pristine, but creative.

What’s your funniest holiday memory? Have you ever semi-accidently stolen a religious icon?

Sexy DIY Gifts to Spice Up the Holidays

“A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.” — Thomas á Kempis

Last week I took a poll, asking Girl Boner® fans to share their favorite sexy or sensual gift they’d ever received. I was happily surprised when every response described a DIY gift.

The moral of the story? Set concerns over pricey purchases aside and focus on creative thoughtfulness this year, keeping your partner’s wants and needs in mind. Consider the following ideas, or come up with your own. Chances are, you’ll arouse the whole holiday season for you both.

Fun and Sexy DIY Gifts

A handmade satin blindfold

This idea comes from Dawn, who called this gift “delicious and used often.” Put your sewing skills to work by stitching a simple blindfold to conceal his or her eyes during sexy play. If sewing isn’t your thing, purchase a silky sleep mask to decorate with rhinestones or your lover’s name.

Sexy photos

This is one of my favorite gifts I’ve ever given, the experience of which ended up being a gift to myself as well. (Isn’t that how sexy gifts work?) Have sensual photos taken by a trusted photographer, or snap some erotic selfies to organize in an album or picture frame. If you’re concerned about privacy issues, check out my chat with Dr. Megan Fleming in part two of this Girl Boner® Radio episode for awesome tips!

Love oils and a massage

Several people told me massages top their sensual gift list. Prepare a sexy gift basket containing oil such as Good Clean Love®’s Indian Spice Love Oil. The natural, aphrodisiac-infused oil has a sweet and spicy aroma and is safe to kiss! Include a handmade coupon for a massage, and a pretty candle for ambiance.

A velvet bathrobe

Did you know that body temperature plays a major role in arousal? Rather than wait for foreplay to warm you up this winter, set the stage by keeping your lover warm from the get-go. A velvety bathrobe is “easy to put on, to take off and, umm…yeah, easy access,” said Silver. Talk about a triple win!

A sexy mix CD or playlist

In a study conducted by Spotify involving thousands of adults—about half women, half men—music was 40 percent more sexually enticing than touch. Wow, right? Indeed, tunes turn us on. Create a compilation for your partner, adding a handmade CD cover or song list.

Fantasies, come true

Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been with your partner for decades, acting on your fantasies can increase fun and connectedness. Joe’s favorite gift? A 50th birthday threesome, “because f*ck midlife crises!” Kass’s husband surprised her with a new sex position she’d been dying to try. If you’re not sure what your partner desires, learn how to start the conversation in my chat with tantra educators Dawn Beck and Gerard Gatz.

More ideas:

  • Write an erotic letter or poem.
  • Read erotica out loud together.
  • Take a sudsy bath together, by candlelight.
  • Make sexy cookies!

butt cookies 3

For more ideas, read #GirlBoner Gifts: Super Sexy Stocking Stuffers.

For even MORE, listen to the latest on Girl Boner® Radio: Kinky Compassion + Sexy Holiday Gifts.

A sweet deal!

Thanks to Girl Boner®’s resident sex-pert, Dr. Megan Fleming, Trystology—makers of fabulous love and passion products—is offering you all a discount! Through the holidays, shop at Trystology.com, entering GIRLBONER as the promo code to receive 15% off your purchase.

What’s the sexiest gift you’ve ever given or received? Which of these ideas appeals most to you? I love hearing your thoughts! ♥

What New Year’s Resolution Would You Set for Your Significant Other?

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”  — Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I don’t often set New Year’s resolutions, but like many folks, I spend time around the holidays contemplating my previous year and what I hope the next will hold. This morning, I found myself contemplating other people’s goals—more specifically, resolutions I wish they would set.

I wish my friend Tracy would resolve to stop bashing her body shape and size and recognize the beauty she truly is. I wish the guy at my local gas station would stop uttering racist remarks. I wish every woman in the world would embrace her sexuality. I wish meat eaters would reduce their intake so that all cows could be raised free-roaming and grass-eating. I wish  Oprah would aspire to produce a Girl Boner TV show.

I wish, I wish, I wish…

Dreams come true… Is there an app for that?

Dreams, come true… There must be an app for that! #FairySelfie

Midway through my wish-fest daydream, my husband entered the room. We had the following conversation:

Me: What resolution do you wish I’d set this year?

Husband: To treat me as your lord and master. *snickers*

Me: Um… Take two.

Husband: Okay. How about to clean the counter? I just put my iPad down in a puddle of water.

Me: That puddle is there because I cleaned the counter! *smiles, batting eyes* Try again.

Husband: Okay, here’s a real one. Take a break from work every hour–ten minutes to walk away and rest your eyes.

Me: What if I’m in the middle of writing something really awesome???

Husband: Then finish and take a break when you’re done.

Don’t you just hate it when someone else is right? 😉 What my ever sharp and witty husband was getting at was the importance of self-care and rest. The latter, he well knows, isn’t my strong suit. I probably won’t be pausing hourly, but I plan to prioritize rest and play.

It isn’t easy to slow down or hit the pause button when our plates are full, particularly when we’re passionate about the contents. But as I continually learn, doing so strengthens us, our work and our lives in multiple important ways. The more we nurture ourselves, the more likely we are to bring our own aspirations into fruition. Besides, imagine all the fun and restful ways we can avoid doing housework!

MjAxMy1kNjZhOTZjZjVhNmQ5NDIy

 Your turn! What resolution would you set for a loved one? What are you striving toward?  

Wishing you a beautiful kickoff to 2014. 

My Capricarius Birthday Wish

Capricarious: (noun) People born between December 18 and December 25; outgoing, driven, loving, adventurous, stubborn, impatient folks; a term I made up; me. Synonym: Sagicorn.

I have mixed feelings about astrology. Star signs, while intriguing, long seemed like hogwash to me, partly because I never fully fit into the capricorn-box. (Me, patient and inhibited? Not so much…) When I read about the Capricorn/Sagittarius cusp, though, I began to wonder; the descriptions really seem to incapsulate me. Regardless, I find it all fun and entertaining, occasionally too-spot-on to discount and respect all views regarding their validity. (How very Capri-pragmatic of me! 😉 )

Since today is my birthday, I’ve decided to make a wish:

I want everyone who reads this to take one bold step toward a dream. You don’t have to report back to me, though please feel free! I just want to give you all a little nudge, which is equal parts selfish and selfless. The whole world brightens when we live authentically and pursue our passions—in all aspects of our lives.

And because I’m a Capricarious, I want you to do it NOW or ASAP! Whatever you’re thinking of now that makes your heart pound or your palms sweat, step toward it. Do so with gusto and stop telling yourself you can’t, shouldn’t or lack what it takes to do so.

Los Angeles quote

Chances are you’re far more beautiful, courageous, talented and capable than you realize. Even if you weren’t, passion, hard work and perseverance are gold. They pave the way to whatever dreams we pursue, which would not be present in our hearts and minds if we lacked all it takes to fulfill them. That’s my humble opinion, but it’s also right! #TheSagittariusInMe

Whatever you do, please don’t let others’ thoughts or conventions stand in your way. Though I jest about sign blend-age, I believe with all my heart that we need not—should not—attempt to squeeze ourselves into any figurative box. The only label that counts is your name (your identity and passions) and whether or not you honor it authentically.

I love you all. Thanks for the ongoing support! ♥

Happy holidays! I’m off to eat cake… 😉

How are you like/unlike your astrological sign? Any other Capricarious/Sagicorns out there? Care to share your dream steps? I’m always eager to hear your thoughts!

Move Over Weight Loss! 8 Wellness Resolutions Worth Setting

“It is only possible to live happily everafter on a day to day basis.” – Margaret Bonnano

About 45 percent of Americans typically set New Year’s resolutions, according to University of Scranton research conducted in 2012, and weight loss tops the charts in popularity.

Not exactly the most joyful outlook of the new year...

Not exactly the most joyful outlook of the new year…

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather focus on gaining something wondrous than losing something I loathe. Luckily, positivity isn’t only enjoyable, but makes obtaining our goals easier. Here’s a prime example: Saying we want to lose weight immediately places focus on what we find detrimental, working like a mega-volt highlighter on those added pounds. We walk around hyperaware of our “flaw,” a state that can trigger food cravings, stress, depression and even weight gain. This is only one reason weight loss efforts tend not to work for long or at all.

The solution isn’t giving up on weight-related issues, in my opinion, but meeting them in alternate ways. More often than not, lifestyle problems are rooted much deeper than how many servings of ice cream we eat or workouts we skip. It only makes sense that we dig deeper when setting our sights on change.

Rather than aiming to diet, struggling through workouts you hate or fill-in-the-self-tortorous-blank, why not prioritize self-care? Taking care of ourselves makes way for goodness of all kinds. Doing so is also fun, healthier and safer than typical wellness-related resolutions and the closest thing I know of to a superpower. When we embrace it…MAGIC!

wondrous quote self care

That’s more like it!

Whether you plan to set New Year’s resolutions by January or simply strive to better yourself in general, I hope you’ll consider taking a positive stance. All of the following goals can help pave the way for enhanced weight control, wellness and, most importantly, overall happiness.

8 Wellness Resolutions Worth Setting

1. Look in the mirror and express self-love daily. “I love you.” “You’re beautiful.” Say them out loud! Look into your own eyes and mean it. Stare until you see something embraceable. It may sound silly, but I’m telling you, it works. Choose an affirmation that suits your area of challenge, or change it up with new affirmations every week. For a list of ideas, pop by the Huffington Post: Body Image Affirmations: 10 Mantras to Help Stressing Over Your Appearance.

2. Eat more nutritious, whole foods. Focus on more (of you, of wellness, of healthy fare…), not less (of you, of “bad” foods…). Seek tasty ways to savor healthy dishes. Restrictive diets don’t work, but nourishing your body and soul so do! The more you enjoy them, the more you’ll crave the same. If you work best with guidelines, dodge diets and consider these Intuitive Eating principles instead.

3. Engage in physical activities you enjoy. Take a dance class. Hike with friends. Walk your dog. While hitting the gym isn’t a bad thing, particularly if you enjoy it, we’re more likely to stick to and have success with activities we delight in. (Makes sense, right?) The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that most adults aim for 2.5 hours of moderately-intense activity per week. Aim to spend that time not in misery.

4. Prioritize sex! Speaking of enjoyable exercise… 😉 Routine sex promotes everything from strong immune function and libido to improved energy levels and a longer life. (Sign. Me. Up!) Prioritize physical intimacy with a partner and engage in solo sex. Seek ways to enhance all of your sensual experiences. Remind yourself that doing so isn’t selfish, but respectful and healthy. To learn more about the benefits, check out Girl Boner Perks for Jollier Holidays.

5. Keep a gratitude or dream-seeking journal. As many of you know, I mentor and provide nutritional counseling for people suffering from eating disorders. A technique that works well for them—shifting their focus from body and food fixation to emotional fulfillment—works brilliantly for weight control and overall wellness. If you find yourself stressed about food or shunning your physicality, don’t aim to shrink your body; expand your dreams and your willingness to pursue them. Journaling grateful thoughts is a proven way to boost inner and outer wellness.

6. Allow yourself some wiggle room! I wrote an article last year about research headed by Katrina Leupp, a doctoral student of sociology at the University of Washington, on the tendency for “Super Moms” to get the blues. The study showed that women who cut themselves some slack—ask for help as needed and learn to “let things slide,” have lower instances of depression. The same holds true for our lifestyle habits. If we aim too high, we’re likely to fall flat. In whatever area you tend to be hardest on yourself, commit to easing up.

7. Say ‘no’ when it means saying ‘yes’ to your wellbeing. It’s been called the “disease to please,” the common tendency to feel so compelled to please others, that we get lost in the shuffle, overextending and often compromising ourselves on others’ behalf. Committing to saying ‘no’ when saying ‘yes’ would stand in the way of your physical or emotional wellbeing is a primo goal worth setting. As etiquette specialists Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh smartly said, “A gift isn’t a gift if it’s an obligation.”

8. Practice mindfulness. With few exceptions, this one does not come naturally to me—but lordy, is it important! Learning to eat mindfully instead of diet can turn something stressful or blasé into a gratitude-filled, fortifying experience. Staying present while we’re driving can literally save lives.  Too many times over the past year, I’ve caught myself physically in one place and mentally in another. While I’ll always embrace daydreaming (it’s arguably a writer’s job, right?? ;)), I’m committing myself to being more present in my daily life.

What goals or resolutions are you working toward? What are your favorite ways to stay physically and emotionally fit? Any questions or items to add to my list? I love hearing from you—so much so, I’ll even don my nutritionist’s cap if you have dietary questions. 🙂

Wishing you wondrous holidays! ♥

#GirlBoner Gifts: Super Sexy Stocking Stuffers

“A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.”  —Thomas á Kempis

Have you ever received a gift so wonderfully thoughtful you about melted like Frosty in a heatwave? *sigh* I sure have. It’s not the price or magnitude of gifts that counts, but the spirit in which they’re given and the thoughtfulness the giver invests. I can’t think of many gifts more loving than those that enhance intimacy, relaxation and erotic pleasure. Bestowing such gifts on ourselves can add sparkle to our own holidays. Consider them Girl Boners to your Girl Boner. 😉

When choosing a sensual gift for another, make sure you consider their wants and needs, versus purely your own. (Giving lingerie to a woman who’s not comfortable wearing it is about as thoughtful as giving a woman who practically lives in lacy negligees frumpy flannels.) If you’re unsure whether a sexy gift is within your partner’s comfort or pretty-please zone, ask! You may be surprised by the response. And besides, sensual talk is sexy! The convo. itself may become a gift, IYKWIM.

Sexy stocking stuffers

 Another fabulous option? Fill a stocking with sexy gifts for you and your love to share. Isn’t that what the holidays are really about? Whether shared or savored on your own, the following gifts may be just what you need to set the festive flames  a-roaring! Peruse the  recommendations from me and a few of favorite sex-positive peeps, then let us know in the comments which ones most entice you! Have ideas of your own to add? We’d love to hear those, too.

1. Aloe Cadabra Gift Set

Lubricants are one of the best ways to make sex more savory and orgasmic—and Aloe Cadabra lubricants are my FAVE! They have a luxurious non-sticky consistency, taste and smell delectable and since they’re aloe-based, they promote supple skin. Gift set: $29.95 Individual: $9.95 via AloeCadabra.com

Aloe Cadabra Valentine's gift box

2. Sensual Massage Oil

Little says I love and lust for you as supremely as a sensual massage. This organic oil by the Body Shop is moisturizing, non-greasy and scented with Tahitian vanilla and other ingredients said to provide aphrodisiac benefits. $18.00 retail, $14.00 via Amazon.com

sensual oil

3. Love Coupons

Hoping for a 2014 filled with sensual play and romance? Love coupons provide a primo way to share your fantasies and celebrate your partner’s, setting the stage for a sultry year. LoveCoup allows you to create customized vouchers using fun graphics, choosing everything from gender and face shape to hair color, and text of your choosing. $24.95 via LoveCoup.com

Love coupon 3

4. Kama Sutra Getaway Kit

This romantic getaway kit can help ensure sensual sizzle whether you travel or celebrate holidays stay-cation style at home. The convenient travel case comes with sample-size lubricant and body oil, sweet honeysuckle honey dust, a feather applicator, French Vanilla Crème Body Soufflé cream and a scented romance candle. $34.99 via KamaSutra.com

Getaway Kit

5. Candy Cane Undies 

What better way to show your man how sweet his penis is than with candy casing? Or by inviting him to enjoy all your Girl Boner has to offer with , “If you lick my candy cane, I’ll stuff your stocking” panties? If you and your guy find thongs as uncomfy as I do, fear not. These won’t be worn long! Or maybe they’ll just make you both laugh—also groovy. His: $11.24 via Amazon  Hers: $13.99 via Cafe Press

candy cane underwear his and hers

6. Loving and Lasting: How to Stay Tuned In and Turned On in Your Marriage

For you married pairs, this book edited by the phenomenal Chief Passion Curator of Bring Back Desire and host of the Loving and Lasting Radio Show Ande Lyons is a must have! It’s brimming with useful insight from 20 of her favorite romance experts on ways to reignite lost passion, better communicate with your spouse and have a heck of a lot of fun in the process. Pop it in your honey’s virtual stocking! $2.99 via Amazon.

Loving-and-Lasting-eBook-Cover

7. Vanilla Bondage Kit

This sexy suggestion comes from my friend and fellow blogger, Kitt Crescendo.”I love this product because it’s great for a little sensation play without being too scary or intimidating!” she said.”It can be used to play ‘Guess That Food’ (a la 9 1/2 weeks) or to explore your partner’s body without worrying about what they might be thinking.”  Kitt said she’d trace chocolate words on her lover’s body then make him decode the lick-able message. (YUM!) The silky, cream-colored restraints come neatly stored in a sweet container. $15.00 via Pure Romance

vanilla bondage

8. LELO Ida Vibrator

Ande Lyons, Passion Curator at Bring Back Desire, calls this vibrator for couples absolutely delicious. “The demonstration video will have your #GirlBoner jumping for joy!” she said. Worn in your vagina during sensual play, this toy stimulates your G-spot and clitoris while bringing a stimulating buzz to your man’s penis. (*August melts.*) $199 via My Secret Luxury

Lelo

9. F*ck Me Perfume Potion

This come-hither concoction was formulated by Yolanda Shoshana, a Clairvoyant Seduction Alchemist with Girl Boner gusto to boot! “I love this perfume potion because it oozes seduction and sex,” she said. “It is deep, exotic and downright erotic.” Best of all, its mysterious notes are designed to inspire self love, confidence and passion. LOVE. $38.00 via Courtesan Charm

fuckme

10. Bombshell Orgasm Balm 

Because all of our lips need TLC! This yummy balm contains all-natural ingredients geared toward enhancing arousal and orgasm. Apply a tiny amount to your clitoris and labia before foreplay for intensified pleasure. Perfect for spontaneous sexy play on-the-go, you won’t want to leave home without it! $9.99 via LoveHoney.com

Orgasm balm

Simple and DIY Ideas:

  • A hand-written, sensual love letter
  • Homemade heart-cookies with sexy messages
  • A framed sensual quote or photo
  • Bubble bath with sexy instructions involving you!
  • Sexy decorated undies!
  • A blindfold (The real gift will be what you do with/to once it’s on!)
  • Sexy shoes or panty hoes
  • Tingling lip gloss 
  • A water-proof notepad for writing saucy notes to your partner mid-naked steam! 
  • Naughty (meaning oh-so-nice!) chocolates

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Which items entice you? What goodies would you add to the list? Remember, you can also connect with me and the #Girl Boner community via Facebook and Twitter! ♥

Morning Hair, Colic and Mother’s Day Wishes

“There’s a story behind everything…but behind all your stories is always your mother’s story…because hers is where yours begins.” – Mitch Albom, For One More Day

I had a blast interviewing my mom last year on marriage and lasting love, and thought it was time for a followup. Yesterday we chatted by phone about motherhood. Here’s what my ebulient mama had to say, once again revealing tidbits I wasn’t aware of.

August McLaughlin baby picture

Mom and me on Christmas, 1981

August: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a mom?

Caroline: I can tell you the exact moment. I went to the hospital and my sister, Jackie, had just had her first baby. That was the first time I saw a baby up close, and I thought, “That’s what I want!” I always knew I wanted kids, but that sealed the deal.

August: What’s surprised you the most about parenthood?

Caroline: I’ve enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Children are so full of wonder… Also, your hair can be standing on end, and you can look in the mirror and think, “OH MY!” Well, you know my morning hair.

August: [laughs] Yes, but don’t worry. I won’t post a picture.

Caroline: You can look just awful, and you go to pick up a baby from the crib, and they think you’re just gorgeous! They love you either way.

August: Aw. You’re welcome!

Caroline: [laughs]

August: What’s one of your favorite funny memories?

Caroline: One night when Dad was working nights, I was sleeping on the couch, and you had colic, you know.

August: So I’ve heard.

Caroline: You were a siren at two or three in the morning. So I took you to the living room and hours later, I was sleeping on the couch. I jolted upright and thought, “Oh no! Where is she? What did I do with her?” And there you were, sound asleep on my shoulder.

August: [laughs] So I did sleep every once in a while.

Caroline: Yep! You could get away on such little sleep, yet were just full of joy. And joy is contagious.

August: I’m glad colic isn’t.

Caroline: Colic seems really long when you’re screaming in the middle of the night. But when it’s done, we’d think, that wasn’t so bad! You sort of forget the bad parts.

August: Ah. Post-colic amnesia. Sweet! Speaking of noise, I get my blurting tendencies from you. Do you remember my first one?

Caroline: Do I… It was just before Kelly was born. You were only about 18 months, and nursing just a couple of times a day. So I gave you a tiny glass of milk and explained that you’re still you’re going to get your milk, but you’re getting it from a cup now because Mama is having another baby. You looked at me and said, “So you’re going to be four mommies?” I said, “Yes.” And you said, “Well there’s only one daddy. And he’s ALL MINE.”

Got 'im!

Got ‘im!

August: Such a giver, I was. Good thing I learned to share.

Caroline: You were a talker very early. Your first words were ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada.’ And you loved books.

August: I remember. You gave me a lot of quiet time with those books.

Caroline: That’s what YOU remember. You didn’t have much quiet time. You always thought you were in there for hours. I just gave you a chill out moment—time to refocus.

August: If you say so. I still need those.

Caroline: One thing you did that drove Aaron nuts, was you’d sit in your car seat and sing about everything you saw out the window, at the top of your lungs. And you’d look at Aaron and he looked like had smoke coming out of his ears.

August: I don’t blame him! But geez. Sometimes a girl gets bored.

Caroline: One of the funniest things, I remember as clear as a bell. It was your first experience with watermelon, at Grandma’s. Kelly had just started talking, and you were probably four. She held up her watermelon to you and said, “What’s this?” And you said, “I don’t know! But it has little black shiny things in it!” You reminded me of two little old ladies chatting about some newfangled thing. Now you can get watermelon all year long, but then it was only available in the summer.

Kelly and Me

Kelly and Me

August: Super cute. Was it different raising Aaron, compared to us four girls? Or were we all just really different?

Caroline: What your sex is was irrelevant. You all have blue eyes and blondish hair, but every one of you is unique. When you have four girls, you can really see the differences—very individual.

I never had a little brother, and wasn’t around little boys very much. I thought they loved cars and other stereotypical stuff, so one year I bought Aaron the cutest set of little cars and trucks from the Sears catalogue. But I realized I’d bought it for me. I liked it, and thought that he should like it. He was nice about it, but he never played with them.

August: [laughs] That’s probably why he and I played “used car lot” later on and tried to sell them off.

Mom and Aaron

Mom and Pirate/Viking Aaron

Caroline: Now little Isabelle goes around with cars and goes, “Vroom, vroom, vroom. Truck!” She loves them.

August: You started having kids very early—20, right? Was it a shock?

Caroline: Yes, twenty. I don’t think that I’d even changed a diaper before. Dad taught me how. I think the biggest shock is to realize that they’re always there. They’re not going anywhere, and they’re your responsibility. It’s kind of like, “Here’s a sponge, and you’re going to teach it what it’s going to soak up.” Obviously kids make your own choices, but what things are you going to offer them? That’s a pretty awesome responsibility.

August: I can imagine. What’s your Mother’s Day wish?

Caroline: Well, I told the girls all I want for Mother’s Day is little handmade cards from the granddaughters, and that’s it.

August: Ha. Good luck with that.

Caroline: My Mother’s Day wish is this. You have chosen not to have kids like Carla has. But you’re a super special aunty to your nieces, and you can mother them if you want to. It’s not right or wrong to have a baby. If someone has them and they don’t want them, I would just love for them to find loving homes for them. There are so many loving people who want children but can’t have them.

August: That’s sweet, Mom. And cool that you’re so open minded. I’ve known for a long time that the only way I’d want to get pregnant is if one of my sisters needed to borrow my womb.

Caroline: [laughs hard] Hope you have lots of storage!

August: Well not all at once! Anyway, I’m glad they’re all fertile.

Caroline: I look at teachers who’ve never married, or never had kids. Their pupils are like their children, and they have more kids than any of us. I also wish that if people wish, they can be a mom. I don’t love you anymore or less because you have babies or you don’t have babies. And I was just telling Dad today that Zoe has an aura about her.

August: She does, doesn’t she? I love the way you tie it all into my dog—because you know that she’s my thing.

Caroline: Well she’s a special girl, my grand-dog-ter.

Zoe, the GREAT!

Zoe, the GREAT!

August: Brilliant and true. I have to head out, but if I find that picture of your morning hair from New York—

Caroline: Putsu!  [Translation: AUGUST JOHNSON MCLAUGHLIN—Don’t you dare!]

Okay, okay… I’ll share her most recent poem instead:

Mama Brain, by Caroline

I looked forward to being a mom with great expectation,
Never realizing there would be days of great consternation.
Some sleepless nights, schedules to juggle, topped off with a bout of flu
Could leave me wondering, what on Earth would I do?
Motherhood is filled with hugs and fun, that’s a fact.
Motherhood is also a careful, loving balancing act.
Like sunshine following the rain, mothers rely on their mama brain.

The Johnson 5 (6 if you consider my beached hair a creature)

The Johnson 5

(6 if you consider my Miami-bleached hair a creature)

What’s your favorite mom memory? What has your mother taught you? Any thoughts or questions for mine? 

 ♥ Have a happy Mother’s Day! ♥

Lutefisk and Happy Hangovers: A Thrill-Fest Release Party Wrap Up

Have you ever partied so hard that the next day your head feels like a bowling ball and your energy, the pins it knocked down? I have, a few times. My last round was unlike any other, only partly because I spent the party home alone, sipping cyber cocktails. Who knew a virtual release party could be so A) fun B) laugh-inducing C) intoxicating or D) draining? Last Thursday’s IN HER SHADOW Thrill-Fest Release Party on Facebook was a rip roarin,’ lutefisk-lovin’ good time.

My non-virutal hangover was beyond worth it. Joy from the party carried over, and lingers still. THANK YOU, all who participated. Whether you were dancing your cyber-butt off with Concepción, gossiping behind my back with Mike and Janelle, feasting on virtual treats, playing trivia with trivia goddess Karina or simply lingering in the background, your positive vibes were felt, and means more to me than lutefisk is stinky.

A few highlights:

Before the party even started, early birds helped choose my outfit. Thank goodness they chose Cat Woman. I wasn't feeling the tundra look...

Before the party even started, early birds helped choose my outfit. Thank goodness they chose Cat Woman. I wasn’t feeling the tundra look…

One of my favorite blogging pals, Coleen, got the disco ball rolling—with her FEET!

One of my favorite blogging pals, Coleen, got the disco ball rolling—with her FEET!

Supper

After several rounds of snow-tinis, we feasted like thriller-loving Minne-snowtans…

Laughed until we cried, thanks to Lynn Kelley's fantastic review. (Way to "show, not tell," Lynn!)

…then laughed until we cried, thanks to Lynn Kelley. (Way to “show, not tell,” Lynn!)

And wrapped up the night with after dinner drinks and, uh, snow globes.

After loads of dancing, laughing, game playing and chit chat, we wrapped up with after dinner drinks and, uh, snow globes.

Last but not least, who could forget the randy pirate who promised to star in the film version one day, the book-pimping rappers or the...interesting sequel title coined by a Hollywood starlet? Not ringing a bell? Take a look at the video my friend, John Chang, helped me create. We hit the Hollywood streets with an iPad, iPhone, a Kindle and my eager, book-blabbering mouth:

Added thanks to all who entered the Thrill-Fest Giveaway raffle. The winners are…

IN HER SHADOW – signed copy + author interview: Jenny Hansen, Cora Reidenbach and Scott McAllister
FANGS OUT by David Freed – signed advance copy + author interview: Tim O’Brien
RUN TO THE GROUND by D.P. Lyle – signed copy + author interview: Andrea W. Hunt
A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti – signed copy + author interview: Gloria Richard
INTO THE DARK by Stacy Green – signed copy + author interview: Ellis Shuman
LOST AND FOUND by Amy Shojai – signed copy + author interview: Kourtney Heintz
THE STRANGER IN THE ROOM by Amanda Kyle Williams – signed copy: Andrea W. Hunt
THE STRANGER YOU SEEK by Amanda Kyle Williams – signed copy: Lynn Kelley
IN HER SHADOW – signed book cover print: Kristine Parker—the trivia tackling queen!

Congrats, winners! Keep an eye out for an email from the author or me, standing in as his/her virtual assistant. 😉

For more party shenanigans, visit IN HER SHADOW Thrill-Fest Release Party on Facebook. I’ll leave it open until the paperback releases, by February 1st. Thanks again, all!

I’d love to hear from you. If you attended the party, what stood out most? What other virtual events have you enjoyed the heck out of? Any highlights from one you’ve thrown? How do you feel about lutefisk???

#GirlBoner Resolutions: 25 Sex Goals Worth Setting

Whether we love, loathe or trudge through them, the holidays are a prime time for reflection. One year comes to a close, opening a brand new one. What appears beyond that door relies largely on our choices. While I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, I embrace any opportunity to examine the then and now with striver’s eyes.

What can we do to live better? Bolder? Happier? What are we willing to face, change, sacrifice or embrace? These questions paired with action can make the hum drum extraordinary, the pretty-darn-good freaking awesome and, if the masses partake, the whole world a better place. What does this have to do with Girl Boner?

Everything.

Sex is so much more than intercourse or procreation. Here at Girl Boner Central, we believe that sexuality is as prevalent in the air we breathe and the music in our hearts as it is in our doings (or not doings) between the sheets. When we deny sexual aspects of ourselves, which too many women sadly do, we’ve little hope of living or loving to the fullest.

As we head into 2013, I hope you’ll consider the sexual goddess you are.

Whatever makes you feel sexy, I hope you'll wear it.

Goddesses come in all shapes and styles.

Girl Boner Goals Worth Setting

While different GB strokes work for different folks (I ♥ puns!), the following resolutions can help increase Girl Boner gusto, sexual pleasure and overall wellness. If a better sex life makes your wish list, you may want to…

1. …talk about sex! More often, openly or honestly with your partner or trusted friends.

2. …masturbate—at all or more often.

3. …experiment with sex toys or other forms of sexual play.

4. …learn to embrace your body as is.

5. …strive for more orgasms, or any.

6. …seek your G-spot! You’ll know what to do next. 😉

7. …explore erotica.

8. …stop telling yourself you’re too ________ (old, fat, boring, ugly…).

9. …look at your vagina with a hand held mirror. Study and explore its beauty.

10. …take an inventory of your sex life. (We can’t hope to improve that which we don’t acknowledge.)

11. …fantasize, boldly. Put safe ones into play.

12. …stop dieting.

13. …prioritize your sexual wellness. Make that overdue gyno appointment.

14. …read sexually empowering books and magazines.

15. …say ‘yes’ more often to your partner, if you tend to decline.

16. …prioritize sleep.

17. …exercise routinely, and work those sex muscles!

18. …pamper yourself for less sex-preventing stress.

19. …sensualize your bedroom.

20. …let yourself think like a stereotypical man now and then. Fantasize. Undress attractive others with your eyes. Give yourself permission to want. (I stole this one from Oprah Magazine.)

21. …have sensual photos taken.

22. …vajazzle! (Huh, you say? Read this post by Natalie Hartford.) You could also try a bikini wax or other grooming techniques.

23. …stop faking orgasms.

24. …empower yourself by seeking support from a qualified expert, such as a sex therapist.

25. …pursue your passions in life.

One of my goals is to make Girl Boner-land as aroused, empowering and engaging as possible. Toward that end, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

We’ll delve further into the above listed items down the road. In the meantime, any thoughts or questions about them? Which strike a chord with you? What else would you like to find in Girl Boner-land?

Stealing Jesus

With Christmas mere steps away, I thought I’d share a story I posted last year with a dedication to my sister, Cora. She’s a major reason the holidays and reminiscing are so joyous and, in this example, hilarious. 😉

*****

Regardless of how we spend them, the holidays draw up memories—some wonderful, some we’d rather forget and some that just keep getting funnier…

Santa/snow traffic jam in my parents' backyard

Santa’s cryogenic facelift

I don’t recall many details about the day I stole Jesus. But since I was in high school, it was probably like most winter days. I awoke to the sound of my mother’s voice, munched on toast in a fog then slipped on the ice en route to catch the bus. *winces from phantom butt ache* Come dusk, after more fogginess known as classes, I went to my friend Andrea’s house to meet with my Odyssey of the Mind team. (If you’re unfamiliar with OM, think math team for creatives.) There, I woke up.

Beck’s “I’m a loser baby…” hummed from the stereo while we dined on doughnuts and M&Ms in preparation for the evening’s events. Tonight we would do a scavenger hunt, Andrea explained. In O.M., making practice activities as difficult as possible was key, particularly since our sights were set on state competition and beyond. Toward this end, Baby Jesus appeared on my search list.

Numerous of my teammates were atheists, the equivalent of devil worship in the eyes of my strict, Baptist grandparents. I’d spent the summer organizing benefit concerts to raise awareness about child abuse, for which I was made co-recipient of the Minnesota Peace Prize. In other words, I was a goody-goody supreme, not someone predictably comfy with Jesus-nabbing.

To worsen matters, I couldn’t yet drive and the only Jesus in the neighborhood was real, and not in a Second Coming type way. Mary and Joseph’s breath made frozen white puffs in the air and the little tyke in the manger wasn’t plastic.

Definitely out of the question...

Definitely out of the question…

Crap, I thought, unable to even think cuss words yet, much less state them. Then I had an idea. I’d call a friend, hitch a ride to my house and borrow the plastic, light-up Jesus from the nativity scene in the yard. My family was asleep, I figured; no one would miss him for a few hours. And besides, couldn’t the little dude use some respite? As far as I knew, he hadn’t even rested on a Sunday.

The call, ride and borrow went smoothly. With the mission accomplished, I returned to Andrea’s house. The gang fell speechless as I presented every item on my list, including the almighty savior. Sure, I’d found a creative solution—one of the O.M. pillars. But far more remarkable was the fact that I, Ms. Goody Two Shoes, stole him, presumably from a stranger’s yard. And seemed not only fine with it, but pleased.

Hours later, exhausted and high from sugar, creative tricks and camaraderie, we called it a night and a teammate drove me home.

The next morning I woke to sounds best suited to nightmares. Muffled crying. Serious voices. Something terribly wrong. I jolted upright: Cora? Listening closer, I had no doubt. My youngest sister was upset. Really upset. Before I could rush downstairs to soothe her, she said something I’ll never forget: “But Mom, why would someone steal Baby Jesus?”

The word crap no longer seemed strong enough. @$%#! I forgot Jesus!

I snuck into my parents’ room and phoned Andrea then held my breath as she searched to no avail: Jesus wasn’t there. @#$@#$#&$#@$!!!

I sat paralyzed in my room, scrambling for what to do. My parents’ angst-filled voices echoed through the hallway, their disappointment surely due more to Cora’s heartache than the missing figure. What my team didn’t know was that amidst my recent good-doings, I’d been picked up by the cops (for skipping class with a friend, leading our parents to believe we’d been abducted) and gotten in trouble for other…*clears throat* …things. Seeing my sisters’ sad faces as the cop car pulled into the driveway that day had been too much. I couldn’t disappoint Cor, or any of them, again.

I spent the day working up the courage to confess while the term “finding Christ” took on a whole new meaning.

That night, still Jesus-less and lost for an alternate plan, I heard my mom and Cor praying for the bad person who took him.

Tomorrow, I decided. I would spill everything tomorrow.

I woke the next morning to brighter sounds. Sing song chatter. Laughter. Cora’s voice, now chipper: “It’s a Christmas miracle!”

Tears filled my eyes once I realized what had happened. The teammate who’d driven me home from Andrea’s had tucked baby Jesus back in his bed. My sister’s joy almost made the ordeal worthwhile.

Deeming my shame and frustration punishment enough, and not wishing to taint my sister’s “miracle” or opinion of me, I kept the truth to myself until last year when my dear husband outed me. I’m glad he did, as the laughter it’s brought up since is a near holiday in itself.

That Christmas, plug-in Jesus shed light on a few things. While the truth may set us free, happy outcomes sometimes pan out regardless. Pausing to think/panic may enhance those results. And perhaps the ‘good’ in Goody Two Shoes speaks solely of her intentions, and her walk isn’t pristine, but creative.

*****

So, how about you? Steal any religious icons lately? Any holiday hilarity to share? Do tell. I adore hearing from you, HONEST. 😉