Hello 2017. Our Kennedy Family New Years Letter!

“Learn to say NO to the GOOD, so you can say YES to the BEST” – John C. Maxwell

This quote has really struck a chord with us over this last year. We like to help wherever we can and are motivated to help our businesses and the other things we are involved in, so we often jump in with two feet, but that can also lead to us being stretched and, at times, missing out on even more important opportunities. It seems like a never-ending juggling act to be more purposeful with our time!

Matt & I are side by side ALL. THE. TIME. Which is both amazing and maybe a little bit challenging at times! We photograph weddings together, we run an online photography school together, we lead the music at our church together, we watch almost all TV shows together and lead our family together. It is very evident to us that our strengths and weaknesses balance each other like a puzzle and we work best when we’re together! There is no one I enjoy hanging out with more! We ended out our wedding season with a wedding in Cancun (I know, it was tough)….so thankful that we get to squeeze in some fun by ourselves on these getaways! I’m thankful for this guy who balances out my conservative (stay on the beach) personality and carries me towards adventure (and a soaking wet, sandy dress)!

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This was the second year of The International Academy of Wedding Photographers and we now have well over 700 students taking individual courses and the full certificate program. One of the best decisions we made this year was hiring a full time student manager and marketing director, Sara O’Hara, to keep the day to day of the school running effectively. I almost cry when I think about how much she has done for us this year as she has allowed us to spend more time with our family while we continue to grow the school. The instructors that represent this school are also some of our dearest friends and we are so thankful to have these people “get us” and this crazy world of photography. What is the most rewarding of all of this is being able to see other photographers go through the courses and transform their businesses. It is quite amazing to see how God has used our education and business backgrounds to do something completely different than we thought we would use it for! The school is all online and although the online community we have is amazing, it was definitely a highlight of ours to meet a lot of the students face to face at WPPI and the United conferences.

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We had a year full of amazing weddings!! We are so thankful to have the exciting responsibility of capturing such an important day for these couples we adore! Who would have thought two people could enjoy hearing wedding speeches and watching first dances every weekend!! But we walk away from our weddings feeling like we are part of their family- we absolutely love it. We have been fortunate to have quite a few weddings in the Okanagan this year, which has turned into mini getaways for us – sometimes business and pleasure mix well!

We are very fortunate that my parents are building a home nearby and they have been living in our suite, which has been very convenient when we go away! They have sacrificed so much to allow us to pursue things that we normally wouldn’t be able to consistently, and we are so thankful! We are incredibly blessed to have TWO SETS of grandparents that go over and above to love on us and make memories with our kids!! During our busiest seasons we even had Matt’s Mom come in a couple times a week to help with the kids and things around the house. It’s SO nice having an awesome meal prepared for you during your work day! We need to do THAT more!

Kaitlyn is quickly taking over my role as the organizer and planner (aka: the boss) of the family! She has lists for EVERYTHING and always likes to know everything going on. Surprisingly, she has become a neat freak and her room has been absolutely spotless this whole year. She grudgingly played softball this year on team Dynamite. Matt & I had an absolutely blast coaching this team and the team brought home two hard-fought silver medals! Kaitlyn more enjoyed the hanging out with her friends and coming up with cheers, however, she did give back-catching a try and did really well. This just in…..for Christmas, Kaitlyn sent my mom and I on a scavenger hunt with the big surprise being that she was going to play softball this year!!!! We screamed in excitement!… She is also in jazz dance this year and loves it! Kaitlyn is also very musical and has been taking piano lessons with Ryan May and has become a great singer and did a great job singing a solo on Christmas Eve!

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Zack is really good at numbers and figuring out puzzles like his rubik’s cubes. He loves playing hockey and is excited to have Matt as one of his coaches. This year Zack has started drum lessons and can play along very naturally to songs. We weren’t too sure by his “harmony-like” singing that he was going to be musical, but his drumming skills are looking very promising! Zach even joined the school choir this year! … for 2 weeks… that was enough for him 🙂

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Gracie started Kindergarten this year and had no problem at all starting this new adventure! She did realize though that school wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be and usually doesn’t want to go anymore 🙂 Gracie is a performer and enjoys singing, dancing and making us laugh! She also does ballet and goes to wee college at our church every week! Gracie still has a cute little squeaky kid voice and loves to cuddle…..we will hold onto that as long as we can! Gracie loves Shopkins, dolls, drawing and spelling (we are at THAT FUN STAGE where she asks us to spell every word).

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We are thankful for a good 2016. We are thankful for family, friends and God’s direction. We pray that, no matter what your 2016 was like, that your 2017 you would be filled with JOY, PEACE and lots of days sleeping in! Let’s say YES to the BEST!!

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