This empty nesters' hilarious viral photo shoot has parents everywhere in stitches.

Many parents lament when their last child leaves the nest.

As graduation photos flood our social media accounts, so do words of sadness and parental longing. Kids growing up evokes a huge range of emotions in parents, and it's natural to feel wistful and nostalgic as we watch our children emerge into adulthood.


I mean, who doesn't see their sweet baby in the face of their grown child? Who doesn't get a lump in their throat as their offspring walk across a stage in a cap and gown? What parents don't think about how they'll miss the pitter patter of little feet and the delightful chaos of a houseful of loinfruit?

Who looks around their empty nest without a sense of loss?

As this hilarious viral photo shoot shows, not all empty nesters have a hard time moving on.

When my kids were little, I remember feeling like it would be so hard to let them go when the time came for them to move on to their own lives. And when my oldest turned 18, I did get hit by "Where did the time go?" and "OMG, MY BABYYYYY."

But that phase passed quickly, soon replaced by "Hallelujah, we raised an adult!" and "OMG, I CAN SMELL SWEET FREEDOM COMING."

So yeah. I can totally see why this photo shoot by Haley Marie Photography is resonating with parents everywhere.

"Most parents are a little sad when they hit the "empty nest" phase of life," the post reads. "HOWEVER, my parents seem thrilled 🤣🤣 also... how cute are they??!! 👫🏠"

The photos show a couple who are clearly thrilled to be empty nesters and not afraid to celebrate that fact.

They took a photo with their dogs and a sign that read "OUR FAVORITE KIDS."

That was followed up by side-by-side photos—one of the couple looking sad while holding a sign with a broken heart that read, "So sad...." and one of them laughing and holding a sign that said, "hahahaha JUST KIDDING."


Playing on the classic expectant parents theme, the dad holds a "0" balloon while the mom holds an "Expecting 0 kids June 2019" sign.

Are these two adorable or what?



Parenting requires a sense of humor, and clearly these two have it in spades.

People are loving this photo shoot because it's funny, but also relatable. There's a reason the post has been shared 160,000 times in two days.

We all love our kids, but full-time parenting is a marathon and it's natural to celebrate when you reach the finish line.


We dedicate decades to raising our children, and most of the time we're happy to do so. It's hard, but there's also a profound joy that comes with the hustle and bustle of family life when kids are young.

But it's a season, and you bet your britches we'll be tossing confetti when our kids start building their own nests and my husband and I start the next stage of our life.


Congrats to the happy couple! And thanks to Haley Marie Photography for giving us all a good laugh.

Family

Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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Culture
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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