July 29th

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Gwen is a baby again today (usually she is a toddler). She just wants to be picked up and carried around and cuddled, and WOE BETIDE if you try to put her down to try and get something done around the house. She willingly went for a nap early, which I think speaks volumes about the state of Gwen right now: she’s either overtired, growing, or teething. Maybe all three! (Although I don’t actually think she’s overtired as she slept well last night.)
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This pic is from yesterday, when she was happy and playing with the Pumpkinhead mask.

I myself AM overtired, since last night after Gwen went to bed I thought it’d be a great idea to spend two hours cutting back the prickle bushes behind the back fence. I’m nowhere near done BUT I have made a significant dent in the bushes. I was also able to get to one of the prickle trees, that happened to be dead, and tear that sucker out of the ground. It died a couple of years ago and was pretty spindly and dry but still, it was like 10 feet tall and I yanked it out with my bare (ok, gloved) hands.
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This gap is where the dead tree used to be.

Now I need to get to work on banners but please enjoy my new favourite band that I just discovered, First Aid Kit. I bought two of their albums yesterday (The Lion’s Roar and Stay Gold) and put them in a playlist with Jenny Lewis’s The Voyager, Minor Alp’s Get There and Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence and I thiiiiiiink it’s just about perfect.

(This video is pretty silly and reminiscent of The Mighty Boosh’s Call of the Yeti BUT the song is beautiful).

July 28th

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She found an old bus transfer and this is the face she made.
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On Saturday Taylor, Gwen and I were planning on going out for lunch but it didn’t work out that way. We made it about 20 feet down the alley when Gwen fell and skinned her knee. She’s pretty much the queen of skinned knees and usually it’s nbd, but this one was bad enough that it required a band-aid. You know how little kids love band-aids and will stick them everywhere? Not the case with Gwen. You seriously would have thought she was being lit on fire based on the screams I got when trying to put a band-aid on her knee. She had been wearing shorts but we had to change her into pants because every time she saw the band-aid on her knee she started howl-moaning like a cat getting a bath. She was so upset she certainly couldn’t go out for lunch; she couldn’t even eat her lunch at home. All we could do was give her milk and put her down for a nap and hope for the best.

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I tried to take a nice picture of the two of them but Gwen had other ideas.

Some better things from this weekend…

I finished the gold baby ballet flats I started working on the previous weekend. I have rules (that I made for myself) about what projects I work on during the week (banners) vs weekends (not banners) so I had to wait to get these done and it was very irritating.
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SPEAKING OF BANNERS, I made this banner last week and I’m pretty thrilled with it. The iridescent pearl banners are some of my faves and the pearl green is surprisingly beautiful (I wanted to get better pics but a certain baby had other ideas).
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SPEAKING OF SHOES my kickstarter is now at almost $700! I took a three-day break from promoting it but FAIR WARNING I’m going to start posting it on social media again this week.

We have a new property manager/executive director for my neighborhood and unlike the previous ones, they AREN’T obsessed with letting all the plants run wild. Over the past few weeks some people have been taking the intensely overgrown trees and bushes to task and on Saturday my upstairs neighbor finally cut back the way-to-big flowering quince bush in the backyard and OH MY GOD it’s like the yard is twice as big now! Next up is the horrible hawthorn tree.

SPEAKING OF GARDENING I was also inspired to do some work in my garden and cut back 2 1/2 overgrown bushes in my garden (I got tired before I could finish the third). I also finally got a hose! By which I mean I stole it from across the yard, haha oops. IN MY DEFENSE the hose in question wasn’t actually used in the yard, it just ran from the tap to a soaker hose outside the back fence, where there are a bunch of horrible prickle bushes, prickle trees and a seething mass of morning glories smothering everything. The soaker hose is a nightmare anyway and any time it gets turned on it causes a sinkhole to form in the backyard so I figure it’s in everyone’s best interest for it to never be used again. There is this dude down the block who planted a bunch of the prickle trees and put the soaker hose in place (I was like DUDE, go plant prickle trees outside your own house!) and he used to put it on all the time and every time he did I’d turn it off and two of the prickle trees died OOPS but not really. tbh I want to cut the third (and final) one down. Maybe I will. Anyway now I just need to get a new sprayer and I’ll be able to water my garden properly again.

July 24th

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The intrepid explorer.

This morning I was feeling super morose about my kickstarter campaign, worrying it was gonna be a flop. Then I got an email letting me know it’s now a staff pick! Wow! It pretty much made my whole day, like yeah, there are tons of staff picks BUT in my category (sub-category?) of children’s wear there have only been five, including mine. It definitely gave me the mood (and ego…) boost I needed! Here’s me, on the front page!!
FRONT PAGE!!!!!

July 22nd

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Here it is, my top-secret special project, except it was never really that secret because I tweeted about it a week ago. ANYWAY. I’m running a kickstarter campaign to raise funds (mostly to buy leather) so I can start selling my baby shoes! So please, check out my kickstarter, watch my SUPREMELY EMBARRASSING video* and if you like my work then please share it on your twitter, facebook, blog, email your grandma about it, etc etc. Oh and also contribute money, that is kind of the point.

*I know I say “um” a lot but it was either that or look down at my notes constantly so lets just move past it and like, make it a drinking game! Take a shot every time I say um & you’ll be plastered in 2 minutes.

July 20th

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Gwen’s quest to climb every piece of furniture in the house continues. Recently she learned to climb up the dog stairs onto my bed, and this weekend she climbed onto the little side table my printer is on and from there, on top of my desk, which is just PERFECT. I have now put the printer on top of two stacked side tables so she’ll no longer be able to climb up, but honestly, it’s just a matter of time until she figures out another way. That baby is wily.

After a scorching hot week it finally cooled down a bit this weekend. Saturday morning was drizzly, but it cleared up in the afternoon. Today has been overcast and rainy all day. After we put Gwen to bed at naptime I took Georgie for a walk in the rain and it was really nice.

On Saturday Sym went to Ikea with her dad, dad’s girlfriend and her grandma and they picked up a few things for me- mostly toys, some washcloths and a little napkin holder. We actually use cloth napkins so right now the napkin holder is on my desk holding my coasters. It matches my side of the office since it’s bright yellow, but it’s shaped like a cloud? It really doesn’t make any sense, which might be my favourite thing about it.

We also got the GREATEST toy. It’s a stuffed Big Bad Wolf wearing jeans and a checked shirt. It comes with a little stuffed Granny that you can cram down the wolf’s throat into his belly! The front of his shirt velcros open so you can get her back out. At first I thought it was weird that there was no Little Red Riding Hood doll to go with it, but then I realized the kid is Red (so I guess I need to get Gwen a red hoodie now). At first she only wanted to carry around the granny and hated the wolf, but today she is all about Big Bad and insisted on taking him into her crib at naptime. She has about fifty stuffies in there right now; I tried taking some out but she yelled until I returned them all (except for one). I’ll have to try and clear it out when she’s not in the room.

July 18th

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The other week we ordered diapers online for the first time ever and they arrived in a huge box stuffed with a long (like 30 feet) piece of brown packing paper, and WOW have the babies & dogs been having a good time with it! The paper is pretty torn up and shredded now, and all over the living room, but the mess was worth all the fun.
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Gwen has continued to be into (and onto) everything recently. It’s literally impossible to keep her from climbing the furniture so to save our computers (and Gwen’s neck) we’ve been using bungee cords to tie our office chairs to our desks and also fasten all the dining room chairs together so she can’t climb up on the table. She is very frustrated by our attempts to thwart her and spends a lot of time pulling on the chairs and howling. I’m also very frustrated as it’s a huge pain in the ass to have to tie/untie the chairs every time I need to sit down at my desk or the table.

Actually I think EVERYTHING is frustrating me this week. It’s been really hot, which would normally be pretty cool (HA) but my Graves’ disease makes me intolerant to heat and extra sweaty. My hair is at this supremely annoying length where it’s so short that it’s literally impossible to tie or pin back and yet is simultaneously long enough to always be in my face. Sym is in super-tween mode to the point where nearly every interaction with her is a struggle, Taylor has also been getting inexplicably on my nerves and my cat WILL NOT stop meowing! Like, WHAT DO YOU EVEN WANT, CAT???
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I’ll never tell =^•x•^=
And remember when I said I was SO BUSY with a new project? Well guess what, I haven’t even touched it since because I’m feeling super anxious/a lot of self-doubt about it. Crippling amounts, even. How does one get past these thoughts? At this point I don’t even know if I want to do it at all anymore. I don’t want to do anything, I just want to lie in a cool, dark room and listen to my latest sad girl-playlist on repeat forever.
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LOL WHAT A ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTION THIS WEEK HAS BEEN. I started drafting this post a few days ago and the above two paragraphs? Wow. I’m happy to report that the crisis has passed and everything is cool. I even did more work on my super-secret project (don’t you hate it when bloggers go on about SeCrEt PrOjEcTs?) and all I need to do is take some pics, shoot & edit a video (this might have just given the whole thing away), and write a bio about myself. That last one though. Ugh. I hate writing bios! I was thinking I might copy the “About” from this blog buuuut as it turns out I just paraphrased Coffee Talk with Linda Richman. So now I need to start from scratch, and honestly the very idea is giving me shpilkis in my genechtagazoink.

July 11th

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Adding stripes, I feel like I may be overdoing it on this banner which, btw, is supposed to ship today & is not done :( Although TECHNICALLY it doesn’t make a difference if I take it to the post office on Friday night or Saturday morning, I still feel bad.
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Chocolate peanut butter sandwiches & orange slices, a very popular lunch around here.
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As I post this, Taylor is getting all of his hair cut off. ALL. OF. IT. He’s been growing it (without so much as a trim) for three years, which is very inspiring to me as I’ve been growing my hair out for a year already which means in only two years I’ll literally be at Queen Serenity status.
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Recently it’s been driving me crazy that my hallway has basically become a trash zone. There are just boxes of books and craft stuff that doesn’t fit in my closet EVERYWHERE. There are a few mis-matched shelves and cupboards: one crammed with disorganized books, one crammed with disorganized comic boxes & tabletop games, one holding some of Taylor’s shoes, and one with the laundry hampers inside. Other homeless crap currently littering the hallway:
• the disassembled remains of my tree bookcase
• the blue play kitchen
• a giant box of gift wrap
• a basket full of extension cords?
• a small trash can
• a pack ‘n’ play
• Claire’s hideous cat tower
• a piggybank shaped like and elephant wearing a basket of fruit as a hat

The hallways is one of my most hated areas of the apartment. First of all, it’s too wide. If it was juts a little narrower (it could stand to loose at least of foot of width, tbh) then all the bedrooms could be so much bigger! Why sacrifice living space for hallway space??? So I basically HAVE to have some sort of shelves or something in there, otherwise there’s just a massive amount of square footage going to waste.

HOWEVER it’s super difficult to do, because the hallway is just loaded with problems. First of all, it has SIX doorways opening off it. Two closets, three bedrooms and one bathroom. There isn’t a lot of real estate between all these door frames. There are also two light switches, the breaker box and the thermostat (which is LITERALLY in the middle of the widest expense of wall) to take into consideration. Third, part of what I would consider the hallway has linoleum flooring, while the rest is carpeted, leading to all sorts of height differential issues. And finally, all the various spaces between the doors where I could conceivably put furniture are weird widths which don’t accommodate regular furniture (ie cheap stuff from Ikea that I could afford) sizes well.

Compounding my hatred is the fact that when I painted it yellow years ago I used the wrong can of yellow paint; instead of the stuff I had leftover from when I almost painted the living room yellow I used the stuff leftover from when I painted my desk so it’s super glossy. NIGHTMARISH. But I haven’t bothered to repaint it because taping around all those goddamn door frames is a nightmare!

Anyway what I REALLY need is some custom built shelving units. I’d like something with cupboards on the bottom half, deep enough to hold all our shoes & boots, winter accessories, and other stuff I want out of sight, and open shelves on the top half that go all the way to the ceiling to hold books and possibly curios. They would be sized properly to fit between the assorted doors, and the height difference between the flooring types would be compensated for. At the end near the kitchen (where the stupid thermostat makes tall shelving impossible) would just be the laundry cupboard (which is convenient because that’s where the washer & dryer are). I’d paint the whole thing (and the walls!) white & replace the curtains over the two closets (I removed the doors forever ago) with something plain ie not weird yellow & orange flowers? What was I even thinking when I bought those?

Anyway. If anyone has amazing carpentry/cabinet making skills and wants to build this for me (and maybe also a shelving unit for the half-bath which is also stupidly big & lacking in storage, it’s just a big open space with a toilet & pedestal sink and nothing else) for a reasonably (ie low) price please do not hesitate to contact me. Because otherwise I’m going to have to learn how to do it all myself.

July 9th

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Eatin’ browies.
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Someone planted some of these in my garden last year but in a spot that gets literally zero sunlight so they are small and tragic. Also, bumblebee photbomb!
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All day, every day, climbing on the table & asking to be lifted down.
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Watching butterflies. She just noticed that they exist the other day and she is fascinated by them. There were three on these flowers, she tried to touch one and it flew away, startling her.
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She’s wearing the little shoes I made with the 2-piece pattern I modified from the 3-piece pattern I used for the black shoes. These stay on well when she’s walking, but fall off too easily if she tries to climb anything (which is constantly) or is picked up. I think the problem is a combination of too-loose elastic and a too-low back, but they should be fine if I add a little strap to them.
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Creating the illusion of having a shirt tied around her waist by stuffing her whole body through the neckhole and just wearing it around her waist.

Random things…

I ordered some stuff from Zara online and had to return a few things I didn’t like. I love that you can return things bought online to the store, and get refunded to your paypal. Some stores that take paypal online refund you in the form of store credit, which is annoying, but at Zara it goes straight back into your patpal. I actually got an email that I’d been refunded before I even left the store. I did have to send one item back through the mail as they’d sent the wrong size (it didn’t match with the code on the receipt so they couldn’t take it back in the store), so I had to call their customer service line which was super fast and painless & hopefully the proper size pants are on their way to me now!

Gwen is super into those dried yogurt drops. I hardly ever buy them because they are SO EXPENSIVE, like even the store brand ones on sale are still $4 for what feels like a bag of air. I know people make their own by freezing little dollops of yogurt but wouldn’t those turn into a melty mess if not eaten quickly enough? Yuck. Most of the other recipes (or instructions, really, I mean the only ingredient is yogurt) I can find online call for a food dehydrator, but I did find one for making them in the oven that I might try.

On the weekend Taylor and I tried the wackest snack. He always buys new products, like put NEW!!! on the label and he’s all over it. Anyway he got us this Smartfood popcorn which was a mix of caramel… and cheddar cheese? WHAT EVEN. Like if you are going for a sweet-and-salty vibe just throw some sea salt on your caramel corn, don’t mix super-orange-Kraft-dinner-cheese-powder-looking cheese popcorn with it! Definitely not a good combination. I ate all the caramel corn out of the bowl but since half the bag was cheese it wasn’t enough and now I have endless caramel corn cravings, wahh.

Kelly started a youtube channel recently and I loved this video where she talks about her chronic invisible illness. While she has a much more terrible autoimmune disease than I do I still related to a lot of what she said.

(It’s long but worth it!)

I’ve been doing a little work in Gwen’s room over the past couple of weeks. We don’t really spend much time in there so it was kind of disorganized and messy, but also weirdly bare as I’d moved some things from it out to the living room. Also, when her lil friend is here he naps in her room, and I have a portable, foldable crib for him that was always set up because I had nowhere to store it, and it made her already-small room seem even more cramped.
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In order to make the portable crib more storable, I cut the legs off so it sits right on the floor. This made it short enough that, when folded, it could be hidden behind Gwen’s crib. So that it wouldn’t be visible behind the crib I stapled lengths of ribbon to the large canvas I had between her crib and the wall and tied it onto the outside of the crib (previously it was resting on top the baseboard). Now I have somewhere to put the portable crib away where it’s still easily accessible and in the room where I use it.
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I also “made” some “blackout curtains” for her room. Seeing as how we live in a basement and her room has one window that is underneath my upstairs neighbour’s porch, you wouldn’t think I’d need them. However, in the summer evenings the sun straight up blasts into her room, right at bedtime! Last summer I taped (yes, taped) a pair of dark brown pillowcases together and taped them to the window frame, but this year I wanted to have a better setup. I also wanted to do it cheaply, so I sewed the same pillowcases together and then folded the top over (to make it the right length for the window) and sewed a channel along the top. I screwed a pair of cup hooks into the frame and ran a dowel (which I’d cut to size) through the curtain channel and rested it in the hooks. It’s not super secure (opening the proper curtains causes the dowel to slide around) so I need to figure out a way to properly secure it, but even if I don’t it has the desired effect of darkening her room at bedtime.

Normally these projects would have taken me about a million years because I always try to do things manually. The reason for that is partly because I’m afraid of many of my electric tools and partly because I’m too lazy to dig through the various closets to extract said electric tools. This time though, I actually got my shit together. I used my jigsaw to cut the legs off the crib & my electric sander to smooth the cut areas, I used my sewing machine to sew the curtains, and I used my drill to make pilot holes for the hooks. Honestly I think I’d use all these things more often, and therefore be more proficient with them, if it wasn’t such a hassle getting them out. I wish I had a larger craft area with room for a sewing table and maybe a door so I could keep lil babies out of it, and a workshop for the tools! That’d be living the dream for sure.

I’m working on a pet portrait banner right now and istg it’s going to be the death of me. I kind of hate making them because they are a lot of work, but I also love making them because I love how they turn out. The hardest to make are definitely tabby cats. So many unique markings! Such diverse colouring! This one needs to be shipped in two days and I still have to make one more face & I haven’t even started the stripes yet.
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July 7th

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Stretchy pizza cheese!
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I thought these lil flats were gonna be a total bust BUT they are actually perfect. Like, the perfect size, the perfect shape, the perfect fit. Amazing! I already made a second pair with a modified pattern (the original is 3-piece, the mod is 2-piece) but they didn’t turn out as well so I’m planning to remod the mod.
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Gwen really likes being helpful these days. When I print things she likes to take them out of the printer and hand them to me; she gets upset if I grab the papers out of the printer myself. I’ve been making lots of little shoes & pouches out of leather, and I use these little scraps of suede to help push the needle through and she likes to pick up the pieces of suede and hand them to me, even though I already have them. Ditto with the box of baby wipes when I’m changing her little friend’s diapers; she’ll pick it up and try to pass it to me and if I don’t take it she’ll throw it at my head!

She’s super into clothes, putting them on AND taking them off. One of her faves is when I fold laundry and she has full access to a wide variety of clothes in many sizes and she can try them all on (before putting them back in their piles, she IS helping after all). She likes to take off her clothes and put them in new, exciting configurations: shirt-as-cummerbund, shorts-as-skirt, leggings-as-armwarmer. Her fave things to take off are tank tops and her sweet little jean shortalls, which is terrible because they are some of my fave things to dress her in. I am pretty impressed by her ability to squirm out of the shortalls though.

Consider that a neat segue into a topic I am supremely baffled by. Y’all might have seen a recent spate of hashtag activism (hashtagtivism?) in support of various mommy bloggers who have had their Instagram accounts suspended. A bunch of #bringbacksoandso’s and #stopcensoringmotherhoods. These suspensions seem to have all played out similarly: someone instagrams a pic of their child in a state of undress, pic is reported & subsequently deleted by instagram, they repost the pic and it is reported/deleted again (sometimes multiple times), their account is suspended, they FREAK OUT, other people FREAK OUT in support, account is restored after three days (this seems to be the standard timeframe for unsuspending accounts and NOT the result of hashtag hysteria). In some cases it’s clear that the person is deliberately goading Instagram into suspending them! This keeps happening and I am just like… what?

First, the reason why these pics are being deleted is because they are in violation of Instagram’s TOS, the TOS you have to agree to when you sign up. It’s pretty clear they have these rules in place to cover their asses (haha) so they don’t get charged with distributing child pornography (I will probably regret posting that phrase on here). If you’re SUPER desperate to share these pics, how about you just post them on your blog (which most of these women do anyway).

Second, pictures of half-naked children being deleted from your Instagram IS NOT a violation of your First Amendment rights. Look it up, in the US the First Amendment protects you from being censored by the government & any laws it might try to pass. Facebook (which owns Instagram) isn’t a branch of the government (yet…).

Third, some of these bloggers are crying out that it is breastfeeding pics that are being deleted/causing these suspensions, and using that to garner more sympathy & support from the breastfeeding community. However, I know of at least one case where once the suspended account was restored it was obvious all the breastfeeding pics had never been deleted, only the undressed kid pics. In this instance the blogger tried to backpedal and say it wasn’t about breastfeeding, but that’s not what she wrote on her change.org petition (seriously).

Fourth, why are you crying about the terrible loss of all your precious memories when your account is suspended? If those memories are so precious, why aren’t you backing them up, Carrie Bradshaw??? Instagram actually makes it super easy to back up your pics: when you post you have the option of sharing to different services, several of which (flickr, facebook, tumblr) will act as a backup. Also, if you go into the settings you can turn on “save original pictures” which will save your pictures to your phone, and from there you can back them up to your computer or the cloud or whatever. With the former you have to select where you want to share each picture every time, but with the latter it’s automatic, and if you have your phone set to back up each night then you LITERALLY do not even have to think about it.

Finally, and this is the thing I REALLY don’t get, is what EXACTLY is it that these people are fighting for? The right to publicly post semi-nude (or full nude, one popular blogger posted over the weekend about how she really wanted to post pics of her totally naked kids to instagram but all the ASSHOLES would report her, wth) pictures of their children on the internet? Really? REALLY??? Look, I don’t have a problem with kids running around with some or all of their clothes off. Sometimes it’s impossible to even keep clothes on a toddler (please see above re: Gwen). I also don’t have a problem with people taking innocent pictures of their kids like this. I have plenty of pics of my girls as babies with no shirt on or their lil buns showing. It’s cute! But I don’t POST THEM ONLINE*! IT IS LITERALLY COMMON SENSE.

This whole thing is just SO WEIRD to me, like with all the awful things going on in the world, THIS is the struggle these people have decided to hitch their wagons to? It’s like the epitome of non-problem problems. idk, what are your thoughts on this whole brouhaha?


* Ok, full disclosure, when Gwen was tiny (like, younger than six months) I DID instagram some pics of her in the bath or wearing just a diaper, but I NEVER showing her genitals or her bare bottom- they mostly just showed her face and MAYBE her upper chest/shoulders.