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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

From cutie-pie kiddos to a Kevin Bacon Christmas song, here's this week's roundup of joy.

joy, kids, camel

Kids and camels and Kevin Bacon in this week's roundup of joy.

With another year almost in the bag, it's a natural time of reflection for a lot of us. What did we learn this year? How did we grow? What are we grateful for?

Some might be thinking about loss, grieving loved ones who have passed away. Some may have gone through big transitions this year and are reeling from the change. Some might look back with a realization that they want next year to be different, feeling resolved to take the steps necessary to build the life they envision.

In any year, there are moments we want to cherish and moments we don't want to relive. It's all part of the complex reality of being human—the ups and the downs, the good with the bad, the yin balancing the yang.


But what we focus on matters. When we celebrate the good, we nurture a mindset of optimism that can spill over into all parts of our lives. It's easy to point to everything that's bad and become a cynic. But when we shift our focus to the good, we find hope and faith in humanity again and again. And that can make a world of difference.

Here's a sampling of good to get you going:

1. Mom gets an unexpected expression of love from her sweet son with a speech delay.

@jaylabrenae5

It’s an even sweeter moment for me knowing I used to pray for the days my son could tell me he loved me due to him being speech delayed. I’m in awe right now😭❤️ #momlife #sahm #mommoments #sweetestboy #toddlertalk #beautifulmoments

"It’s an even sweeter moment for me knowing I used to pray for the days my son could tell me he loved me due to him being speech delayed," wrote Jayla. "I’m in awe right now.😭❤️" We are right there with you, Mama.

2. Baby tries pho for the first time and his reaction is 100% relatable.

@brookestersandmommy

10/10 recommended by Hendrix 🤣 #babyboy #pho #firsttime #baby

Pho for the win. Every time. (And baby named Hendrix? Also 10/10.)

3. This Army vs. Navy drumline battle is just nonstop awesome.

Drumlines are fun, but drumline battles are epic. Read the full story and watch last year's battle as well here.

4. Kevin Bacon and Old 97's have gifted us with the Christmas song of the season.

Kevin Bacon has been entertaining us musically throughout the pandemic, even singing Beyoncé with a bunch of goats. "Here It Is Christmastime" from "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" is just icing on our Kevin Bacon cake.

See the scene from the special and learn how the song came about here.

5. She looked worried searching for her family, but when she spotted them it was pure joy.

That wee one's face lit up like a Christmas tree. A sweet reminder that showing up matters. Read the full story here.

6. Liquor store employee sees a man without shoes and immediately gives him the Jordans off her feet.

Ta Leia Thomas is known in her community for her kindness, but this spontaneous sacrificial act is just the best. Read the full story here.

7. Baby gets glasses for the first time and her reaction is priceless.

@kaseysimpson6

#trend #foryoupage❤️❤️ #blind #littlesister #firsttimeseeing #blowthisup #blindnessawareness #tikkok

Anyone who wears glasses can understand that moment of WOW. I remember thinking, "Wait, people can actually see blades of grass?" when I got my first pair of glasses. Clear sight is something we simply can't take for granted.

8. Throwback to this 3-year-old drumming prodigy who wipes his nose and drops his stick while barely missing a beat.

The kid is Russian drum prodigy Lyonya Shilovsky and the video is from when, at age 3, he impressively led an entire orchestra in a part of Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld" called "Galop infernal"—better known as "the cancan."(Shilovsky is now 13 and still playing percussion.)

9. A little girl asked L.A. County Animal Control for approval to keep a unicorn in her yard. They responded with an official unicorn license and more.

Click the arrows to scroll all the way through. Absolutely delightful response to an adorable young citizen.

10. May we all be as joyful about the weather as Albert the camel is when seeing snow for the first time.

@ranchograndeojai

Snow camel walks with the goats #ranchograndeojai #ranchoojai #ojai ##ranch #camel #goats #snowdrop

Didn't even know a camel could hippity hop like that. Yay, Albert.

Hope you found some smiles here! Come back next week for more! (And if you'd like to get these posts delivered to your inbox so you never miss them, join our free Upworthiest newsletter here.)

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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