Chippewa Herald * January 2, 2003

Kids' quotes make Christmas newsletter an easy job

by Tom Arneberg, Community Columnist

I have long been interested in desktop publishing, ever since buying the first Apple Macintosh in 1984. I was a beta tester for "Pagemaker 0.9" in 1985, and the next year I started using Quark Xpress, which I still use today.

When my wife and I settled into Oregon in 1988, our third state in our five years of marriage, we found it harder and harder to keep up correspondence with our scattered friends the old-fashioned way. While writing a newsletter seemed an obvious solution, we didn't want to write Just Another Christmas Newsletter.

Thus was born the "Arneberg Argus" -- a slightly irreverent publication meant not only to keep in touch with old friends, but also to poke a little fun at traditional Christmas form letters.

My favorite part of our Christmas newsletter is where we simply relay quotes that our kids have uttered in the past year. (I carry a piece of paper in my ever-present pocket calendar to capture those moments.) That part is best not only because it's the easiest (I just write 'em down!), but also because it often gives a unique perspective on slices of our family's life through a child's eyes.

Here, then, are a few excerpts from this year's edition:

"I think my mom likes boys." -- David (5), 01/10/02, in response to five-year-old Jessica's question about why there are so many boys in the Arneberg family.

"Who won?" -- David, 2/12/02, right after the final buzzer in Ben's team's 49-8 basketball loss in Menomonie. (Apparently, he wasn't paying super close attention to the subtle momentum of the game.)

"Mom, I think *I'm* even suspicious." -- Ben, 3/19/02, after his mother wondered aloud whether Mrs. Pedigo, his piano teacher, is suspicious of his 160 minutes of weekly practice.

"I think it's 'Math Rash'." -- Benjamin, 4/21/02, explaining the spots on his chest after a particularly grueling week of homework involving ratios and word problems.

"FIRST one out is a rotten egg!!" -- David, 4/29/02, after the Exploding Duck Egg Incident in the dining room incubator.

"Even though some kids had to, I managed to escape." -- Benjamin, 5/24/02, when asked if he had hugged his teacher goodbye on the last day of school.

"I think I would rather be at school." -- Ben, 5/28/02, having a less-than-stellar first day of summer vacation, when his mother decided to GET THE HOUSE ORGANIZED.

"Dad! Levi is still asleep!!" -- David, 6/1/02, incredulous that his 7-year-old cousin could possibly sleep this late on a campout! (It was on Scout Island, and it was already getting light at 4:55 a.m....)

"He's not very well-trained." -- Alison (10), 6/12/02, whispering to her mother how disappointed she was in her six-year-old brother who was not doing enough doggie tricks while on his leash. (Alison was VERY excited for her impending dog!)

"Do you know what I like, Daddy? I like Obi-Wan's soft strokes." -- Jasper (8), 6/16/02, after a family viewing of the original 1977 Star Wars movie, contrasting the light sabre technique then with that of the more recent episodes.

"Two." -- Simon (2), 6/26/02, when greeted with an early "Good morning, Simon, how are you?"

"She just doesn't cuddle like she used to." -- Alison, 7/15/02, lamenting the growing up of her puppy, now all of three months old.

"See, it's dusty." -- Alison, 7/17/02, explaining to Mom her reasoning for deducing that the tree frog she found had been hopping around loose in the house for a quite some time.

"I like the outsides, but the insides are SO CHEESY." -- Jasper, 8/28/02, analyzing the cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair. (What was he expecting?!)

"I wish there was a lumber store in a mall. Then when you're buying wood, I could be looking at clothes and electronics." -- Ben, 8/31/02, displaying his almost-teen tendencies.

"Wanna fight?!" -- two-and-a-half-year-old Simon, 10/09/02, to an unsuspecting shopper at the grocery store, while holding up a cucumber in each hand.

"Now we have to leave in three hours." -- Alison, 10/10/02, after Simon fell headlong into an ice cold creek during their hike at Big Falls. It wasn't immediately obvious what she meant, but Dad eventually realized that it was related to his explanation earlier that day about the "Rule of Threes" for survival: you can survive three minutes without air, three hours without warmth (hypothermia), three days without water, and three weeks without food.

"Mom, Dixie has a snow hand!" -- Simon, 10/15/02, using his pre-winter vocabulary to describe the GLOVE that the dog was chewing on.

"Here, Simon, you can have this balloon." -- Jasper, 10/26/02, displaying his selfless brotherly love as he handed over the shredded remnants of the balloon that popped during Living Room Baseball, in exchange for the still-inflated one that Simon was holding.

"I want my yeash on!" -- Simon, 11/05/02, requesting his mother to fasten the large dog leash around his waist for play time. (Alison had asked for a second leash for "playing dog" for her eleventh birthday.)

"I think Dixie's least-favorite word would be 'veterinarian.'" -- Alison, 11/19/02, looking over her weekly spelling list the day after her dog was spayed.

That's all I have room for here. Remember to write down those snippets when you hear them -- I already have three quotes for the 2003 edition of the "Arneberg Argus."

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