The Kennedy Christmas Letter 2015

As my Uncle Barry was officiating our wedding 11 years ago, I remember him saying that Matt was very ambitious and a dreamer. My role was going to be bring balance to the dreams, while be his biggest encourager. I didn’t really see it back then. But as years have gone by, I can’t believe how true that has become! But what has been really neat is working and dreaming as a team and seeing our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other!

CRAZY seems to be the theme to the last few years in our life! Last December, we added our sweet Sadie Belle to our family! Sadie fits into our family perfectly, however while we thought having kids in diapers was not fun, we kind of wished that we had diapers for Sadie! Although she’s much better, we are STILL working on potty training our pup!

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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 35 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 many of our weddings feeling like we are part of their family- we absolutely love it.

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This year we added on an even bigger work project – The International Academy of Wedding Photographers. We found that a well-rounded, affordable education was lacking for wedding photographers, so we partnered up with some of the BEST in the business (and some of our most treasured friends in the industry) all across Canada and the states to develop practical, solid ONLINE education giving photographers everything they need to know from business and marketing, to shooting and post production so they can be confident in their business. We have over 200 students across the globe from Australia, Germany, UK, and of course the United States and Canada. Seeing the transformation of businesses with the students has been incredibly rewarding and we are looking forward to seeing how the school grows!

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Both businesses brought on a busier travel schedule than normal travelling on a plane at least once a month. We are thankful that even though we are working on a lot of these trips, we get a much-appreciated mini getaway with just the two of us and we are even more thankful to my parents who look after the kids the majority of the time while we are away and make things fun and exciting for our kids. They don’t miss us AT ALL! We even got to bring them on a few special trips this year including a wedding in Hawaii, and a trip with friends to Disneyland!!

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Kaitlyn is eight going on 18!! She has a purse with her everywhere she goes and it is usually full or random things, as well as a good amount of candy. I feel like the TSA as I check her bag when we leave the house. She is also a self-taught gymnast. She’s taught herself to do the headstands, cross overs and the splits (ouch) and is not afraid to show you whether you are in our living room, the main street of Disneyland or even the grocery store! Katie is incredibly creative like her daddy, while also a consistent list maker and organizer like her mommy! Her room has  been transformed into everything from a spa (including a tip jar and mints for her customers) to an office with the works. This year I (Carissa) coached Kaitlyn and her friends’ softball team- The Pink Attacks! This fall she has joined hip hop! We are hoping she has moves like her daddy and not her mommy!

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Zack is coming out of his shell in grade 1. In kindergarten he would barely talk to his teacher, but this year on his report card he got the comment “chatty” which shocked and amazed us! Later we found out it was because of the little girl next to him (just like his daddy). Zack is usually found with his best buds Jacob, Kai and Oliver. He loves collecting Pokemon, playing video games, spying on the girls and playing hockey!! This year his cousin Kai moved up a level in hockey and we were able to get them on the same team! I don’t know if it is a boy thing or a middle child thing, but he’s definitely our more laid back child for which we are thankful for!

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You may already feel like you know Gracie as she usually floods our instagram feed. Gracie is a ham. She makes us laugh all the time and she is very outgoing and friendly whether we are with people she knows or complete strangers. She LOVES to dance and sing ALL the time. Yesterday while our family was over she did a dance routine and she held her pose at the end and yelled for all of us to clap! Although she has her dramatic antics and tantrums at times….so far Gracie has been an easy baby and toddler and hopefully now a “big girl”. When the kids are at school, she could pretty much entertain herself playing all day if she needed to. This fall, Gracie is in jazz class and she loves it! During the week she loves going to Honeybees Preschool and Wee College at church once a week and she definitely earns a “chatty” title.

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Although life is fun and exciting and looks great on facebook, it has come with a lot of mochas,  stress and late nights to balance everything. This year we are looking forward to striving even more to be purposeful with having down time with a renewed focus on our priorities!

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14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:14 & 15

We hope and pray that your family will be richly blessed with great health, strength and hope this year!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

xo  Matt, Carissa, Kaitlyn, Zack, Gracie & Sadie Belle

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