Our Inaugural Vermeulen-Family Christmas Letter

Family, friends, facebook friends,

Merry Christmas!

This is our family’s first ever Christmas letter. Woo hoo! Every year around December I start thinking, “Kyle, you should write a Christmas letter. It’s what all good grown-up Americans do!”. But I never do, mostly because it’s $2.75 postage from Australia to USA. Not that you’re all not worth it, but… $2.75 each. So here’s our Christmas letter, in digital format. You can save me $2.75 and just print this out and stick it on your fridge.

In years past, I haven’t had much to humblebrag about in a Christmas letter, but this year, our very big exciting news was the birth of our daughter Ashna. She’s now four months old. She’s a very beautiful happy baby, and we only post happy photos of her on facebook so everyone knows how happy she is.

I really thought Ashna would provide more fodder for humblebragging in this Christmas letter, but she’s not doing that much so far. No crawling. No talking. Not even a roll-over. She just likes to chew on her hand, and can stare at trees for hours. She’s healthy, adorable, and after some initial doubts, we’ve decided to keep her.

After Ash was born, we both took a few months off from work. We’ve been bouncing around different countries and cities, mostly staying at friends and family’s houses. Occasionally one of our hosts asks me “How can you afford to travel for 5 months without working?”, usually while I’m eating their groceries, drinking their beer, and living rent-free in their house. Friends, we’ve got this mooching-thing down to a science.

Richenda is still the kind, hard-working, beautiful woman you know and love. She’s fitting into the motherhood role very naturally. There’s been a lot of changes this year with Richenda, but the one I’ve paid the most attention to is her milk makers, aka “the ladies”, aka her boobs. Milk does a body good. After she started nursing, she was fitted for a new sports bra… Apparently E is a size!?! That’s like halfway through the alphabet! Of course, they’re “for Ashna”, but I do my best to make the new additions feel part of the family.

With all the luggage we’re lugging around, we kept our souvenir and Christmas shopping to a minimum. We did have a few bottles of wine from Chile, but they were heavy, so I did Richenda a favor and drank them. And as I struggled to squeeze into my Christmas sweater, it’s clear that I’ve stacked on a few pounds from our travels to bring back to Australia with me. The Dad Bod is real!

I supposed I’ve changed in a more than few ways this year. As Jay-Z says “30’s the new 20”, and in a few weeks I’ll be the big three-oh. This year I’ve learned the feeling of unconditionally loving a child, which I can’t even describe. It changed something inside me. I’ve become softer, more open, more courageous, and ever more sensitive. I cry more now, especially watching my little sister and Raymundo recite their vows.  I’ve learned to care less about things that don’t matter (like the “souvenir” pounds), and to treasure moments more—like bedtime cuddles with Ashna, and the quiet dinners with Richenda that come after baby is asleep.

This year, we’re celebrating Christmas in balmy Michigan where there’s no sign of snow, but lots of laughter and love. Wherever you are, I hope this holiday brings you rest and peace, good health, and is full of laughter and love.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.
Kyle, Richenda, and Ashna





Kyle Vermeulen

I love good stories and hot sauce. I'm a Product Manager at SitePoint, and spend my days trying to help people learn tech skills online. Right now, I'm probably looking for my keys, phone and/or wallet.

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