Tag Archives: cute

Cute Alert: Animals Adopting Other Animals

Screen shot 2013-09-20 at 11.24.43 AMHappy Friday! We are bombarded with images of how cruel nature can be so often that we can forget how much animals can teach us about love and compassion.

Are humans the only ones capable of caring for children that aren’t their own? This video goes to show how universal the maternal instinct can be, even with animals you never thought would get along. Dogs with nursing kittens – and vice versa – to literal tiger moms and piglets – share their milk, comfort the young ones and adopt them as their own. Have you ever seen something so cute?


What did you think of the video? Share your favorite animal “love stories” with us in the comments below!

Does Being Happy Make You More Successful?

Most people believe that being successful will lead to greater happiness and sense of fulfillment. This is most likely true. But it is also true, believe it or not, that happiness can lead to greater productivity and increased success.

Don’t believe us? Then watch this video from Soulpancake’s “Science of Happiness” series. It’s super scientific…sort of.

Studies have shown that happiness can lead to increased success in many aspects of a person’s life – career, relationships, health and more. Workers who are happy and satisfied on the whole perform better than their less happy peers, the result of which undoubtedly leads to yet more happiness. It’s a never-ending cycle of good feelings, and it’s about time we all jumped on the train!

One important thing Julian (the “scientist” from the video) forgot to point out, is the role human connection plays in boosting our happiness. Not only did the happy group have primers to put them in a good mood, but they were given these treats and delights by another human being. The kindness they receive through these gifts – the candies, snacks, and cute video – probably acted like a shot of love straight to their hearts. It’s a good reminder that sometimes the quickest road to happiness is through reaching out to others and receiving their love in return.

Just our two cents. 🙂

What do you think? Does success lead to happiness or does happiness lead to success?

Kid President Explains It All

Soulpancake’s Kid President never fails to bring a smile to our faces. His optimism and energy are simply infectious, and it’s hard not to feel like the world’s going to be okay after watching one of his videos.

In his latest video, Kid President answers several questions sent into him by mail. He brags about kissing Beyonce, gives us some inspiring advice, and throws a parade for a postal worker in his hometown.

His advice for life? “Treat everyone like it’s their birthday.” Wise words, Kid President!

What question would you like to ask Kid President?

Cute Alert: This Little Girl and Baby Gorilla Are Best Friends

This video is taking the Internet by storm, which perhaps says more about us viewers than it does about the girl or the gorilla or their adorable friendship. But before we go any further, let’s take a look and this incredible moment:

From an adult’s perspective, it’s hard not to jump to praise the little girl for her undiscriminating love and curiosity. Where an adult might be burdened by thoughts of species superiority, or over identification with being human, or even with the well-intentioned concerns for animal rights, this little girl springs to playfulness and conviviality. The baby gorilla matches her enthusiasm, playing right along with her. The adults laugh and capture the moment on film, somewhat removed from the scene because, ostensibly, the moment isn’t really theirs to experience.

If you are among those whose mind jumps to thoughts of the treatment of animals in captivity, then we encourage you to investigate those feelings more. Do some research, talk with people who work in such facilities, and stay away from zoos and animal parks if they make you uncomfortable. We will support your cause.

In another light, though, it might behoove us adults to examine our own relationships (or lack thereof) with non-human animals. When we walk our dogs, step around pigeons, or visit zoos, are we approaching and interacting with these animals authentically? Are we seeing their lived existence and appreciating them for what they are? Or do we ever fall prey to feelings of superiority, disregard, or even condescension?

Consider this: Next time you come in contact with an animal, try seeing them and interacting with them as fully and honestly as you would interact with a friend. Let’s all take a lesson from this video’s amazing inter-species friendship and do our species proud!

How to Survive Tickle Torture Like a Yogi

FamilyThis summer the ever-expanding internet has been saturated with self-help titles. This year’s ubiquitous How-to columns are last year’s Call Me Maybe. 5 Ways to Know You Have a Sunburn, How to Match Your Socks to Your Underpants, The Best Way to Break Your Andy Cohen Habit. I admit, I’ve cast out a few How-tos of my own. So move over Carly Rae, here’s one more.

Okay, okay, so this isn’t the most serious article you’ll ever read, but I’ll bet my kids’ weekly allowance that mastery of this survival skill will save your butt the next time you’re hand to bellybutton with a ferocious tickler.

You’ve got to admit, being tickled is downright torturous. It’s juvenile, it’s flirtatious, it’s downright… painful? Uncomfortable? Breathtaking? Invasive? Creepy? I don’t know how to describe the feeling of being tickled, actually. But it ranks very high on my least favorite interactions specifically involving my neck, armpits, ribs, thighs, and feet.

Tonight I had an encounter of the tickling kind. My four-year-old was in big trouble. He kept pulling the puppy’s tail and laughing whenever I disciplined him. So I carried him upstairs and pinned him on his bed to keep him from wriggling away while I lectured him. I imagine that his four-year-old mind processed my words like this: “Wah wah wah-wah waaaahhh.” (I am officially a Peanuts cartoon character.)

He laughed hysterically while I spoke. At first I was offended but he kept laughing wildly.  He broke me. I started laughing, too. Then I started tickling him and he responded with relentless retaliation. Before I could run for cover he was jamming his little fingers into my armpits and I was curling into fetal position to protect my ticklish parts.

I’m four times the size of him so it was easy for me to squeeze my arms into my ribcage and protect my goods. But I noticed something while he was relentlessly searching for a way under my arms. More so than the tickling itself, the anticipation of the tickling made me crazy. Cracking up, tears rolling, chin pulled into my neck, hooting with laughter. Isn’t this the way? The anticipation of the event produces more emotion than the event itself. (Note to self: Please remember this next time you begin obsessing over your impending mammogram.)

“Why are you so ticklish there?” my son probed.

“I don’t,” snort, “know,” chortle, “Can you stop,” giggle, “pllleeease?”

He wouldn’t stop and I was frozen with red-faced breathlessness so I decided to put my meditation practice to work. I began to draw that discomfort away from my underarms and neutralize it. While he squeezed and poked, I separated my thoughts from my body and somehow extracted the discomfort from my field of feelings. The fingers were no longer tickling, just poking. I don’t know how I did it really, but it worked. And when he realized that his little paws no longer had a dazzlingly humorous effect on me, he stopped.

My torturer was outdone by my amazing power of equanimity. Take that How-to little man. Until next time…

 

More by Vanessa:

Why Kate Middleton’s Natural Childbirth Should Inspire Us All

5 Tips to Survive Summer Vacation With Wild Kids

This One Goes Out to All the “Nobodies”

 

The Baby-Led Weaning Experiment

banana diveMy littlest one was sitting in her exersaucer, madly trying to eat the plastic letter B and the plastic butterfly hanging next to the plastic letter B. She was yelling a lot. I started thinking maybe they didn’t taste nice? How about a banana? I’ve been reading the Baby Led Weaning book for a little while now, and feeling inspired by their (many might say crazy!) ideas.

“The mush stops here!” In a nutshell (not a spoon), the Baby Led Weaning idea is that babies will feed themselves when they are ready to, and we don’t have to push food into them. It’s finger foods from the beginning, whenever the baby decides the beginning will be (an ability to sit up and grab things required).

BLW proponents say feeding themselves helps babies learn hand-eye coordination. Babies will have an sense of what they are putting in their mouths instead of being surprised by the mush, so they’ll be happier doing it. They won’t feel left out of the family dinner. They won’t choke because their reflexes will push the food out if they aren’t ready for it. (She pushed out the little piece of banana that she accidentally bit off.) I think BLW is even supposed to make them smarter!

I’m gonna give it a shot. I didn’t do it with her brother (and he’s certainly smart enough). I mostly chewed his food for him in the very beginning (I know, gross, but helpful in a digestive enzyme sort of way!), and he loved being fed so it wasn’t a problem.

My little girl, by the way, isn’t quite ready. As you can see from the photo up there, I was holding the banana for her, and I think that is a major no-no. The little girl needs to be in charge, and I don’t think she is quite up to the task yet. But soon!

For now, I think the thumb is yummiest. Especially when it’s covered with banana goop.

Sweetest Dad Captures One Second a Day of Baby’s First Year

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 8.48.16 PMThere’s nothing like a parent’s pride and love for his newborn. Everything is fresh and sweet, if also exhausting and hard work. Often parents find themselves so immersed in the moment that they lose sight of the larger process of maturation and discovery. That’s why this super sweet dad decided to document his son’s first year of life, by recording one second of each of those first 365 days.

The dad writes:

Meet our son Indigo who was born on the 9th July 2012. From that day my wife and I videoed Indigo at least once a day, every day up to a year old. For his first birthday we’ve spent some time putting together a video of his entire first year. He doesn’t quite appreciate it yet, but we hope that in a few years he will.

If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye then we don’t know what will!

A lot happens in the first year of a child’s life. Most grow about 30% of their original weight and 20% of their original length; they begin smiling, reaching for object, rolling over, babbling, and some even take their first steps. It’s a whirlwind time that might seem to take forever in the moment, but which in hindsight goes by in a flash. Taking steps to document the process, as these parents did, can be one way to make sure the moments are never lost to our memories.

How did you document your children’s infancy? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

My 8-Year-Old Daughter Defines “Utopia”

LostHorizon1937_thumb2For the most part, I make a big effort not to tell “cute things my daughter said” stories to anyone but the grandparents. I have a list of topics that are often boring to other people, and this subject definitely has a place there.

But I simply can’t resist telling these two connected stories.

Every Sunday night, we have “Movie Night,” when we watch a family movie. A few weeks ago, I chose the 1937 movie “Lost Horizon” (a great movie if you haven’t seen it).

My eight-year-old daughter was so delighted with the movie and the idea of Shangri-La that she was inspired to write  a sequel, about what happens when Robert Conway returns to that magical land. “I’m going to call it ‘Lost Horizon: Everyday Life in Utopia,’” she told me. Everyday life in Utopia! I love that phrase so much. It’s my new motto for my happiness projects.

I’d told her about the word “utopia” and what it meant. Some days later, I was reading aloud to her from Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I explained that Camazotz, in the book,  was a “dystopia,” and gave a little lecture about how that was the opposite of a utopia. My daughter listened patiently.

About a week later, as we continued with A Wrinkle in Time, I asked in a teacherly voice, “Now do you remember the word for the opposite of utopia?”

“Metopia,” she said, without missing a beat. It took me a moment to get the joke.

Everyday life in Utopia and Metopia!

* * *

Are you reading Happier at Home or The Happiness Project in a book group? Email me if you’d like the one-page discussion guide. Or if you’re reading it in a spirituality book club, a Bible study group, or the like, email me for the spirituality one-page discussion guide.

Amazing Flashmob Recreates Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” in a Shopping Mall

This is by far the coolest way to promote the opening of a new museum exhibit. Rijksmuseum, the Museum of the Netherlands, reopened on April 13, and to get the word out they joined with their main sponsor, ING, to orchestrate this elaborate flashmob. We’ve seen operas, random acts of kindness, protest songs, and wedding proposals – but recreating a famous classical painting definitely takes the flashmob art to a whole new level. Check it out!

Have you ever participated in a flashmob? What song/painting/play/etc would you recreate for a flashmob and where? Let us know in the comments section below!

Watch the Philadelphia Orchestra Flashmob an Airplane Stuck on the Tarmac!

What would you do if your plane had a 3-hour delay on the tarmac before taking off? Why, whip out your violin and play a bit of Dvořák, of course!

This is precisely the situation The Philadelphia Orchestra found themselves in as they waited for a flight from Beijing to Macao during their 2013 Residency & Fortieth Anniversary Tour of China. Instead of complaining or cranking their headphones, a quartet of musicians decided to pass the time by offering a “pop up” performance for the passengers.

Watch them execute this mini concert in the cramped and crowded aisle of their plane, to the delight of passengers all around:

Wouldn’t it be great if that happened every time a flight was delayed? Perhaps we should think more often about ways of building a sense of community and bringing smiles to people’s faces, especially in situations that are particularly taxing!

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