What went viral this week: A dad’s fantastic fashion sense and identical twins reunited
DaddyDressedMebyMG/Instagram

It's hard to believe it's only mid-November. Regardless of your political leanings, election week felt more like election month.

We are drained, we are tired and we are so ready for good news (and good Thanksgiving food).

While politics and COVID-19 have dominated the news, we found a few stories that are spreading hope and energy in a time when we're all in need of both. We hope they bring you some cheer, too.

Here are the stories making us smile this week:

This dad has made over 200 outfits for his daughter

Michael Gardner is going viral for the creative, handmade outfits he dreams up for his daughter, Ava.

Michael started making the outfits when Ava was three years old. Now that she's older, they often collaborate on their matching looks for "Daddy Dressed Me by Michael Gardner," their fashion content brand and social media presence.

"She loves everything I create simply because, you know, it's her dad making her clothes," Gardner told NBC's Craig Melvin during a segment of 'Dads Got This.' "But there's a difference when she puts something on and she connects with it in a certain way."

Gardner's complicated relationship with his own father made him determined to instill Ava with love, confidence, and self-worth.

"I would never want her to experience the pain that I had growing up without a father, not having that support that every kid deserves," he said.

He's created more than 200 outfits for Ava through the years and has no intention of stopping now. It's a labor of love and creativity for the father-daughter pair that we just love to see.

Identical twins reunited after 200 days apart – and their reaction to finally seeing each other is everything

A rare medical condition kept twin girls Cora and Miller McCoy apart for the first seven months of their lives.

They were diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and selective intrauterine growth restriction, both of which affected their growth in the womb.

The girls were born at 30 weeks. Cora weighed 3 lbs 9 oz and Miller was just 15 ounces. Their medical care kept them apart for more than half a year – until this month.

On November 1st, the girls were reunited briefly before Miller underwent a heart procedure.

"It was the first time the girls had truly seen each other since they were born, and the first time all four of us were together in one room since the girls were just three weeks old," their mother, Lindsey, told local news affiliate Alive 11.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta captured the moment the girls met and shared it to Instagram.

"When they finally reunited in our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, their instinctive hand hold left nary a dry eye in the room."

Miller is already recovering from her surgery and her parents hope to bring her home soon.

"This mama's heart was bursting," Lindsay said.

Mom pens heartfelt essay on adopting a teenager and toddler on the same day

One woman's touching essay on her path to motherhood and her adopted children is resonating with parents online.

Emily Richey knew she wanted to be a mom and said she was tired of waiting for Mr. Right to make her dream happen.

In 2017, she became a foster parent – to three kids, ages 2 and under, at once.

"It was terrifying and also everything I imagined it would be and more."

Over the next three years, she fostered 16 children and provided respite care for several local families.

Last year, she started the process of adopting one of her foster children, a baby nicknamed 'Tiny.'

It took over a year and a half to go through the legal proceedings to formally adopt her son. While Emily was finalizing Tiny's adoption, a teenage girl named Akyra was temporarily placed with her. Akyra stayed with Emily for several short visits before the teenager asked to stay with her until she aged out of the system.

"She didn't want to be adopted at that point, too many disappointments. She didn't want to have to move again either," Emily explained.

"A few months later, we were joking around about her future and she said, 'Have you ever thought about adopting a teen?' And the rest was history. 189 days after coming to me for the last time, we said forever. They even managed to squeeze us in 3 days before she turned 17, her one wish not to have to spend another birthday in the system."

Tiny, who now goes by Thomas, and Akyra were formally adopted by Emily on the same sweet day.

"If our story does anything, I hope it inspires more people to open their homes to fostering," Emily writes. "You don't need to have it all together. God knows I didn't. If I had waited for the 'right time,' I would have missed my kiddos.

I promise you, there are children in your community right now who need a safe place to land and they're not going to care you're on a budget, have a small house, aren't married, or are still trying to figure this whole parenting thing out. They need willing families, not perfect ones.

Say yes to older kids. You're gonna hear the horror stories and I won't lie, it's not all sunshine and roses. But let me tell you how much sweeter those roses smell when you have to climb through the trenches to reach them. Every kid deserves a family. Every single one. Even the ones who insist they don't because they're almost grown. Especially them."

There's so much we love about Emily's story – her big heart, her desire to help every child she can, and her perspective on fostering and adopting her kids. She's absolutely right – every child deserves a family.

This map shows each state’s favorite Thanksgiving side – and it turns out, we really like carbs 😂

Zippia.com

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, career site Zippia released a map highlighting each state's favorite side dish.

The group analyzed Google searches to get their results and we have to say, they seem pretty accurate.

The biggest takeaway is that Americans really like carbs on Thanksgiving.

Forty-seven states prefer cheesy, starchy, potatoey sides on Turkey Day. Ten states prefer mashed potatoes while seven prefer mac n' cheese.

Some other findings:

Maine is the only state that is searching for side salad recipes. Oh, Maine.

The Midwest is all about casseroles!

New Hampshire is the only state that prefers cranberry sauce.

Rolls, biscuits, and crescent rolls – plenty of states are skipping complicated side dishes and focusing on easy, delicious breads.

Zippia says they reviewed searches for November 2019 to get their results.

Interestingly, traffic for Thanksgiving side dishes skyrockets on Thanksgiving Day. That's probably when many Americans are frantically searching for directions on how to cook their favorite dishes. If you find yourself taking to Google on Thanksgiving for cooking tips, know that you're definitely not alone.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.