In May, I had a free Family Session Giveaway in honor of my sister Vicki for Melanoma Awareness Month. I asked people to comment why family is important to them. People had some really sweet things that they said about their families. Melissa Hanks, who was the winner of the contest wrote about her mixed family. I met Melissa and her daughter Ayva about 8 years ago when we went to the same church together. In Melissa’s comment she wrote about how Ayva would be turning 11 soon. How she is now in a relationship with Daniel, who is one of her rocks that she builds her foundation with. That Daniel has a son Willie who’s 13 and has needed a mom for many years. She said it would be nice to have someone else capture the memories since she is the one who is always taking the pictures. I was happy to be that someone else to capture those memories for their sweet mixed family.

When deciding where to have their session, Melissa said that I could choose where to have it take place. I had recently rediscovered Wagner Park, which is also known as “Pretty Park” in Manchester, New Hampshire. It indeed lives up to its name “pretty park”. There is a Greek style temple that is located at the park, a great spot for taking some family pictures, as well as all of the pretty flowers and greenery that covers the park so beautifully.

We met there on a Sunday morning in June. It was a perfect day for a photo session. At that hour there weren’t a lot of people at the park, which was nice. When they arrived, we started the session right away. We took advantage of the temple and took some pictures in front of it. You could tell that Melissa and Daniel are very much in love. When they were in front of the camera, I didn’t even have to pose them. They were looking into each other’s eyes, and smiling at each other and giving each other kisses. I got some great images of the two of them together.

 I took pictures of the whole family together. Some of just the kids, some with kids and one parent, and vice versa. It was easy to see that they all felt very comfortable with one another. Everyone was having fun, laughing and joking with each other. At times I had to be the mood killer and just have them all smile for a few pictures to get some serious pictures. Then I’d say okay, you can be silly again. At one point, I was just taking some pictures of Melissa and Daniel. I told Will and Ayva when I gave them a thumbs up signal for them to run over and gently ambush their parents. I got some sweet pictures of the kids running over to them. They ended up in a pig pile all on top of each other, laughing and having a fun time.

Ayva and Will seemed to have a great sibling bond with one another. They acted as such with picking on each other, poking at each other and laughing and having fun together. We all talked about how they will both be attending the same school next year and how it will be nice for them to be there for each other. How Will would be able to show Ayva the ropes as it’ll be her first year there.

It was great to see how their two families have come together to become one. They all have such great chemistry together. I wish all the best to Melissa, Daniel, Will, and Ayva. May they continue to love, learn, and grow together as a family.