10 things that made us smile this week

10 tidbits of joy to round out the week.

It's a new year, y'all! Cue the fireworks, the resolutions, the confusion parents are feeling over pandemic schooling in the midst of the omicron wave and the continued uncertainty of American democracy. Weeeee!!!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who could use a little light-hearted content to balance out the existential angst of the era. While we work on solutions where and how we can, we also need mental breaks sometimes to keep ourselves sane.

In that spirit, I offer these 10 sweet and silly things to lighten your load and brighten your day.


Enjoy!

Ever seen penguins get weighed? And where can I get a job weighing penguins? 

They're like adorable little toddlers who honk. Why are they soooooo cute?

Classic slapstick comedy that just gets funnier and funnier.

The poor guy in the bear suit keeps slipping and falling as they try to film the commercial—but the faceplant at the 0:42 mark is worth waiting for.

This toddler has the cutest reaction to her dad shaving his beard.

Some kids freak out when their dads shave for the first time, but this kiddo had the best reaction ever.

This baby is a 25-year-old man from 1970 in a baby's body.

Where did this baby's 'do come from? I feel like he's about to try to sell me a used car or some life insurance or something.

People shared their most embarrassing moments and it's painfully funny.

Imagine someone you have a crush on holds their fist out for a fist bump, but you mistake it for a pretend microphone, so you lean over and say "hi" into it. GAH, the hilarious, vicarious embarrassment of this collection of stories has people rolling.

Grandpa learns to bake at age 90 and makes a cake for every visit.

We all deserve a grandpa like this in our lives.

We can all appreciate this woman's boyfriend's reaction to his first pair of lefty scissors.

Sometimes we don't appreciate the simple joys and conveniences in life until we see what it's like not to have them.

People are discovering Elmo's decades-long beef with Zoe's pet rock, and it's hilarious.

Elmo has been feuding with Rocco, his best friend Zoe's pet rock, since 1999, and every time he loses it over a rock it's pure comedy. This clip prompted people to share other Elmo vs. Rocco moments and discuss the ongoing drama, which you can check out here.

Wordle the simple, wholesome and addictive daily word game. 

Wordle is a simple word game with a sweet origin story.

Most word games are wholesome, but this one has a particularly pure origin story. Josh Wardle created Wordle for his partner who loves word games. There are no ads, there's no data collection and you can only play it once a day, so even though you'll want to play more, it's not a huge time suck. Wardle just wants people to enjoy it. Mission accomplished. Learn more about it here.

Sweet baby being so gentle with another sweet baby.

I don't actually know what this is—a gosling? A duckling? Definitely a big baby bird of some sort, and the little baby human with it is so dang precious.

Hope that brought some joy to your day! Tune back in next week for another roundup of smile-worthy finds from around the internet.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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