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We take photos of Amelia in her momma’s wedding dress every year.  We started this on her first birthday so this is our third year doing this for her.  It will be a wonderful thing to see the progression over the years.  We normally do this around her birthday but I was so busy with weddings and sessions this year ( A GREAT THING!) that I just didn’t have time so between making goodies today and nap time we snuck it in and used my Christmas decor as the backdrop this year!  Mommy

You look like a little angel right here…. <3

A little magic at Christmas never hurts.

This photo…LOL.

Amelia day I hope you read this blog and know how much I love you and adore you.  Today you said “Mia I look like a princess” and you sure did…piggy tails and all!  One day you will wear this for real I hope and I hope to be there to take one last photo of you in this dress before you walk down the aisle to your prince charming.




As a VA Wedding and Portrait photographer I am always capturing moments for others so they can have a legacy to share for I know the importance of capturing moments..I love getting photos of brides with her grandparents…it’s so special to have them at their wedding because not all  brides and grooms are as lucky…

I never knew or understood the joy that could come with a grandchild….until I had one of my own, and with every generation it gets sweeter so my mom and mother in law tell me.

Paula and I make every effort to see that Amelia has a very special relationship with not only us but  her great grandparents too.  Paula takes her almost weekly to see her great grandparents that live in Kempsville and FaceTime’s her great grandparents in SC so they can see her grow.

My father in law has a special fondness of this little girl, he’s so smitten with her that my mother in law says “he’s a fool for her.”…and I love that, I love that she gets to spend time with him and gets to know this rough sea weathered yet gentle man.  He buys her chicken nuggets, plays her music on his guitar and banjo and reads to her, so when he has to miss her visit because of having to get car work done…he brings her chicken nuggets to my house just to spend time with her….it is a true joy to watch them because…..

My dad passed away before I was 19 years old.   He passed before I was ever married, so sadly my children never even got to know him, they were not able to hold his hand or call him paw paw Jack or go fishing with him.  He was a wonderful man so young at heart and full of life.  A hard working blue collar man that loved and provided for his family until he became sick.  All I have are a few small belongings of his, a few photos of him to share with my kids and Amelia and a single piece of furniture that he had his photo taken on as a little boy.

This stool…its a simple piece of family history.  It’s been in my family now since 1930 something….when my dad was little.  I found it in my grandmothers belongings along with a photo of my dad as a young boy sitting on it.  I have had it for years…just sitting there untouched until one day I realized that I can share stories of him and show her photos of him so she can know who he was, and take a photo with him!  Although she knows he’s in heaven she can still know the man I called daddy.  So I repainted and recovered the stool so it could be used while she was here at my house and one day possibly pass along to her….The day I took these photos was one of those days that Papa lovingly  brought her chicken nuggets because he missed her visit the day before.  I think its so special that on the very day I was introducing her to her Paw Paw Jack…her Papa came in with a bag of chicken nuggets and a smile…

They sat at the table, ate lunch and talked…just talked about everything, her visit to the zoo, her hair how cute it was, just about anything 2 year old with her imagination could talk about….and that is a lot because she has the sharpest imagination I have ever seen and the best vocabulary for a 2 year old.  She can literally carry on a conversation with you and loves to “talk about tings”

So I sat back with tears in my eyes as I listened to them talk, play and I quickly grabbed my camera again  because this was a moment that needed to be captured and preserved.  I try to take as many photos of Amelia with her great grandparents, because they are all in their 80’s and I want to make sure she remembers them years from now and know how luckily she was to have them in her life, not something every child gets.

What a wonderful day this was and one that will not be soon forgotten….the day she spent time with both of her great grandpas.


MGP_4300 MGP_4307



MGP_4333 In Papas Hands

You are loved Amelia Grace, more than you know.

New Logo without sand dollar




Being a Hampton Roads Wedding Photographer I have seen a lot of brides in gorgeous wedding dresses and know that it’s sometimes a tough decision after your wedding what to do with your dress since you will not likely ever wear it again.  But brides pay a lot for the gorgeous dresses they wear on their wedding day, they are an expression of their style and personality.

So the question is…do you store it in hopes that if you have a daughter she will one day want to wear it on her wedding day, do trash your dress in another photo shoot and then toss it out, or do you donate your dress to a good cause like Angel Gowns  or  Wish Upon A Wedding.?

My daughter decided to keep hers and I am so she glad.

Amelia may not choose to wear her momma’s wedding dress, I know my daughter Paula would not even consider wearing was so outdated by the time she got married, so it hangs in the closet along with my mothers wedding dress.  One thing we did with my dress though was to displayed it along with my mothers and my mother in laws wedding dresses at my daughters wedding at their gift table as her heritage decor and that was pretty cool.

But last year when Amelia turned 1 we decided that instead of letting Paula’s beautiful custom designed wedding dress stay in a bag in a closet we would bring it out at least once a year and take Amelia’s photo in it, to show the passage of time, because it goes by so quickly.  This is the second year for her “In Mommy’s Dress” session and it was adorable.  I hope one day these will be shown at her wedding and hopefully she will want to make her momma’s dress her own and wear it on her wedding day, but if not we have these sweet memories to cherish.

Amelia Grace, Mia loves you, more than there are stars in the sky, more than all the sand in the sea, I love you more than my heart can describe, my sweet Amelia you’re precious to me. ( this is a song I made up to sing to her)


In Mommys Wedding Dress 9

In Mommys Wedding Dress 10

In Mommys Wedding Dress 1 In Mommys Wedding Dress 2 In Mommys Wedding Dress 3

In Mommys Wedding Dress 12

In Mommys Wedding Dress 11

In Mommys Wedding Dress 13

She looked in the mirror when I put the rhinestones on her head and said, “Mia I a Queen”

You are indeed!

In Mommys Wedding Dress 4

When she gives me this look….I melt.

In Mommys Wedding Dress 5 In Mommys Wedding Dress 6

And Queens can stick their tongues out if they want to. 🙂

In Mommys Wedding Dress 7

And Queens get tired and need naps.

Wedding Dress


Today-A Personal Journey Back To Where I Came From.

They Say you can’t go home again. (Que the Miranda Lambert song here)

In a way that’s so true…..because sometimes going back to where you came from, is not at ALL like it was when you were there.

You have this memory in your mind….you see it so well when you go back there in your head….but when you actually go back things are way different.

Maybe because times are different and things get old and change or just become run down, but either way it’s different.

That’s what happened to me today..a journey back but for a good reason…but then I decided to go even further back

and it made me so grateful for a couple of things.

1. Where I came from~because humble beginnings are good for you and should keep you humble.

2.  Where I am now ~knowing I have come a long way.  With the help of good parents and wonderful life long friends.

This is not to say that EACH of these places don’t hold very fond memories for me because they did, but they also hold some very hard

life changing memories and times…so go with me for just a little bit and get to know me a little better with this journey.

Stay with me if you can…there really is a point to all of this.

Today Started Here.

Home Again-1

  This is my home church…always will be. I went back today to get a photo of the church with the name still in tact,

because I have a sweet bride getting married there in July and her grandfather was the original pastor of this church when it started back in 1963.

And her mom and I are old friends and darn near family…she was in my wedding and lived next door to me in the second home below.

The name of this church will change to something different soon and I wanted to make sure for her and her mom that we had at least one photo for her album

of the original name. But there is more…

I got married here too.  So did my sweet bride to be’s mom.

I invited Christ into my life within the walls of this little church (which again looked way different back then)

My kids were raised here for the first few years of their lives…growing up in summer bible school….5th Sunday night socials and lock in’s.

I could probably pull out some old photos but I won’t.  For the simple reason that the hair styles alone would scare you 🙂

I can still hear my dad, mom, sister and brothers all singing on Sunday nights.

My sister got married here. Her kids started church here. My niece Brooke went to church here and was baptized here.

This is where my dad and both of my brothers were remembered before being laid to rest.

This is where my mom remarried my wonderful step dad.

This place holds so many memories for me it’s hard to even wrap my mind around the fact that it will be a different name soon.

So once I drove off….from getting this photo for my bride…

I went even further back but just right down the street from the church is where I came from.


I lived in a little quaint (at the time) well kept trailer park community called County View.

The yards were neat, the trailers all new and well maintained

and everyone had a new sapling pen oak trees planted in their front yards.

Sad to say it does not look like that now,

but non the less it’s where I came from even if it was a different time.

My parent moved here before I was born with 3 kids from SC.  My dad was hired to help build the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and life was good.

I was born while they lived in this trailer park so I grew up here. I am a native Virginian.

We had county fairs in the summer, with games and watermelons and cake walks and fire works in July.

We had Christmas parades

complete with marching bands from the high school and Santa arrived on a fire truck and was dropped off at the community building to greet

all the children with small gifts of candy canes and tangerines.  We had a cardboard fireplace to hang our stocking on.

One of the angels out of my stocking still hangs on my tree to this day.

Come to find out one year.. my dad was playing Santa and I let everyone know it..whoops.  🙂


So I drove around the park some.

This little trailer below…I can’t remember her name but this is where a sweet woman lived who sewed me all kinds of clothes and my first Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls

which I still have to this date.  I remember going there and she would let me help her bake cookies.


This is the street I grew up on Holland Drive…the street I learned to ride a bike and follow my sister around and aggravate her and her friends.

This is the street in which the mosquito truck would come down and blow white smoke behind them and we all played in it like we were in heaven.

Good Lord…it’s a wonder

we  or our kids don’t all have 3 eyes and an extra toe or two…with the chemicals we were inhaling.  But we were kids having fun!

Look at those pretty oaks now!


Below is where our trailer WAS….151 Holland, there used to be a pretty yellow and white trailer with an extension much like the one on the side of the trailer below that now stands in it’s place.


Our little yellow trailer is long gone, but I remember playing under the extension….it was my fort.  Standing over the ducts in the floor in the winter to get warm.

I remember

watching my mom cut and perm the hair of her friends and neighbors in the kitchen long before she owned her own shop.

And when my mom and dads sisters and brothers would come to the beach from SC with kids we all slept on the floor but it was fun!

My dad also helped build the Franklin Paper Plant and I remember him smelling AWFUL when he came home but it put food on our table.

I had my 9th birthday in that trailer yard before we moved to Kempsville to our new home.  But man those were some good years.

And the first bridals portrait I ever shot was for the boy next door’  bride to be….years later. AND little did I know it but my future husband lived on one of the other streets in the park…

SMALL world and humble beginnings. They all have their place in our lives.

As I drove home I swung by our house in Kempsville.

Man…I thought we were like really RICH..when we moved into this house on Rittman Road.


Me and my sister had our own rooms we though we were queens..and my brothers had the coolest

room ever…it was BLACK…and had black light posters on the wall.  Yea we were rich! 🙂  We had a HUGE yard and got our first dog!

This house has changed a little…but still has the EAGLE over the garage door that my dad put there when he was alive.

 This home had good memories for me…but there was soon a lot of bad ones on the horizon for my family.

This is where I declare that God’s timing is always on time.   He knew what was about to happen. He knew that we would not survive in the trailer park.

Shortly after my brother Bruce was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and had to be placed on a kidney transplant list at 13 and

dialysis 3 times a week.  My mom and dad were  gone for long periods of time living in Balitmore

learning how to run a machine so we could have one in our home for Bruce to be dialyzed at home.

After several failed kidney transplants and he continued on dialysis for years.

A few short years later my brother Kevin was diagnosed with Leukemia at 19 and a few years after that my dad lung cancer at 44.

 All of the treatments for the Kendrick boys took place at the research hospital in Baltimore Maryland,

so there were days, weeks and months I didn’t see my parents or brothers.  My sister, my aunts and my grandmothers all had a hand in

raising me.  I was a handful!  I am sure…..I was wild…quite frankly on my own or so I thought…you know 13, sassy and a girl…

My parents loved us all and sacrificed so much even in these hard emotional times to keep us together. Even with everyone sick.

I honestly have no clue how my mom kept it together. I am not sure I am made of that kind of strength. Mom…you are amazing.

I did say there were great memories here… and there were….

We had numerous pig pickings, fish fries and church gatherings, and wonderful Christmases.

John and I had our wedding reception here at this house. In the backyard and it was perfect.

My son Jacob had his first birthday party here.


I remember the one defining day in my life while living in this house… my dad took me to a garage sale in the neighborhood

and bought me my first camera.  It was a turning point for me, I had something to focus on (no pun intended).

It had all these fancy lenses, long, short, wide angle.  I had no clue what to do with it or that it would have such a huge impact on my life today.

I was wild… but creative…so I played with that camera….after my dad passed I went to school for graphic arts and photography then got married

and majored in a husband and two kids

but years later I am still holding a camera in my hand. I think my daddy would be proud.

Wow talk about then and now.

Home Again-5

The bride on the left was my VERY first bridal portrait.  I took it for her announcement in the paper (yep that’s where they went before FB or Blogs 🙂 )…her name is Kandi.

It was all done on film and in a dark room.

She is the wife of the boy that lived next door to us in the trailer park that I mentioned earlier.  They are still together to this day.

The bride on the right is Sam.

Her bridal portrait was one of the finalist in a world wide contest of 110,000+ images submitted from artist around the world.

In going through my old files to find Kandy’s photo for this post I found some of my earlier work from my film and dark room days.

Home Again-6

Isn’t it funny how you start on one journey just to grab a photo for a bride because of a name change of her granddaddy’s church


All of this comes flowing out.

I don’t now if I wrote this for me…or for my kids….or for anyone who wants to know me better and what makes me tick…

but it had to be written.  It’s been on my mind for a long time. I just had not had the nerve to go there for some reason.

I could fill in this blog with so many other stories from the church, the trailer park and Rittman Road… some good some bad. but I won’t. This blog has turned out far to long already. Sorry, but thanks for hang in in there.

 The point is

You CAN go back home…and sometimes you need to…it’s good to….to remind you of your journey and what brought you to where you are today and

all of the friends and family you still have today because of a time long ago.

Thanks for coming along.



  • David Bradford - April 7, 2015 - 10:50 PM

    Hey girl I loved this. I’m man enough to admit I got tears in my eyes reliving my past along with you. I’m blessed to have great memories of all the laughs I had with your family and it makes it hurt less to think of the sad times . Thanks for including Kandi in your blog,she is still the love of my life and Kevin drove her to the church in a limousine and Bruce was my Groomsmen. Just shows how much church and family shapes lives. Thanks for the trip down memory lane,a few tears a lot of laughs and ending with a smile on my face. Love you, DaveReplyCancel

  • David A Bradford - April 7, 2016 - 12:03 PM

    I reposted your blog again today can’t believe another year has passed. Love to all.ReplyCancel

The wonder of learning something new everyday….with touch, smell, sight, sound, taste. May we never lose the wonder of learning, growing and seeing ordinary things in a new way. Amelia is teaching me every day this truth.

Her smallest accomplishments of learning to say bye bye saying please, smelling a candle, dancing to music are so precious and full of excitement of accomplishment with smiles and applauds.

I think one of God’s reasons for continuing to bring new life into the world through babies is an attempt to continue to teach us these small truths through the lives of these little wonders….because we grow up and take them for granted…so he reminds us anew through the eyes of a child.