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Christmas With The Murphys - Part 2

There are 8 children in the Murphy Family.
Ethan is 12, Chloe is 11, Matthew is 10, Emma is 9,
Nicholas is 8, Molly is 7, Hailey is 6, and Josh is 5

(You can listen to Christmas songs while you read the story if you'd like)



Josh was the first one to wake up on Christmas morning. Outside, there was a good foot of snow on the ground, and he could still see the faint glimmer of a crescent moon shining through his window. His spiked blond hair was flattened on both sides where he had fitfully slept on it the night before.

It was exactly 5:32 a.m. and he felt that he had waited long enough. His sleepy puppy Pepper reluctantly hopped off the toasty warm bed; but loyal to the end; followed Josh, as he quietly padded down the stairs in footed PJ’s.

When Josh entered the living room, his jaw dropped in wonder. The tree was beautifully lit up and there were mountains of colorful packages everywhere!

 

The milk and cookies that he and Hailey had helped their mother leave for Santa the night before were gone. There was not even one cookie crumb or a single sip of milk left.

The colorful stockings that hung above the fireplace had each child’s name on them. They were filled to the brim and there were dozens of smaller, brightly wrapped packages perched on the fireplace mantle above them. Josh could hardly believe his eyes.

He went over to the fireplace to check out the stocking with his name on it. Something that felt like it could be a baseball was in the bottom of the stocking. Yes!, he thought to himself, definitely a baseball!

Just as he was about to investigate further, he heard a noise, and there was Hailey, still in her nightgown and rubbing her eyes, trying to wake up properly. She was holding Clover the kitten in her arms, and her little mouth, also, was open in wonder.
Then Molly and Nicholas appeared, looking sleepy and disheveled, but also excited. Before you knew it, Emma and Matthew had arrived, also still in their PJ’s and not quite as awestruck as the younger children, but still elated.

Finally, Chloe and Ethan appeared. They were both fully dressed, and trying to act mature and nonchalant about the whole thing, but secretly they were just as jubilant as everyone else.

Ethan looked at everyone’s imploring faces and said, “Listen, kids, you know the drill, we have to wait until Mom and Dad wake up before we can open anything.”

This news did not go over very well with any of the children, and Molly wanted to know “WHY couldn’t we just PEEK into our stockings?”

Josh, however, quickly took matters into his own hands. He ran upstairs into his parent’s bedroom and began to shake them awake. His mother and father had gotten precious little sleep the night before, so, outside of a small groan from his father, both parents remained sound asleep.

Then he tried the stare tactic (this had worked in the past) but the two lumps under the blankets did not move.

Finally, he began shouting out “Merry Christmas!” and then broke into a quick rendition of “Jingle Bells!”

Well, this appeared to do the trick, as Dr. Murphy opened one bleary eye and said, “Merry Christmas to you, too, Josh.”

Mrs. Murphy peeked her head out from under the comforter, smiled at Josh and said, “Merry Christmas, darling, we’ll be down in a few minutes, OK?”

Josh kissed his mother, hugged his father, then raced downstairs tell everyone of his success.

By 7:00 a.m. all of the stockings had been thoroughly investigated. Unfortunately, Josh’s possible-baseball turned out to be an orange.

But he did get a very fancy new water pistol, several chocolate Santas and 3 candy canes, which made him quite happy.

(He also received toothpaste, dental floss and sugarless gum, which he quickly stuffed back in his stocking.)

Then it was time to open all the presents Santa had brought! Faces were flushed and cheeks glowed, as each child eagerly ripped open colorful wrapping paper to reveal the surprise inside.

There were so many toys and empty boxes scattered everywhere, that it became somewhat difficult to maneuver around.

Santa had brought the two youngest children their very first wooden sleds (the older children already had their own sleds). He also brought something for the family's pets; there was a new red collar for Pepper, and a fancy pink collar with a bell for Clover.

By the time they were done, the living room was a sea of toys, shredded wrapping paper, empty boxes, bows and ribbons. Mrs. Murphy looked at the chaos and shook her head, but Dr. Murphy was beaming.

Pepper had been barking excitedly and running back and forth from one child to another, and Clover was having the time of her life pouncing on all the crinkly Christmas wrapping paper.

Then everyone opened all the other festively wrapped presents that were found deep under the tree. These were gifts from their parents, several aunts and uncles, which (unfortunately for the boys anyway), consisted mostly of new clothes (the girls were thrilled of course, and couldn’t wait to try everything on).

Everyone had received most of the things on their wish lists EXCEPT for 9 year old Emma. She had asked for a cell phone so she could keep in constant touch with all her friends at school, but her parents put the kibosh on that.

“You talk enough on our house phone as it is,” 8 year old Nicholas complained.

Anyway, her parents said she was too young to have a cell phone and she would just have to wait until she was older.

Then Mrs. Murphy went into the kitchen with Chloe and they began making a big brunch, which consisted of pancakes shaped like Christmas trees, along with Canadian bacon and country sausage.
There was maple syrup and whipped cream for the pancakes, and Chloe had made deviled eggs with little sprigs of mint and a sprinkling of red paprika on each one, so they looked quite festive.

Just then, the doorbell rang, and it was Olivia with her mother and father. They had been invited over to share Christmas brunch, and everyone looked forward to enjoying their nice combination breakfast and lunch at the big table.

Olivia had brought her doll stroller filled with all new toys from Santa and couldn’t wait to show them to Molly.

A few minutes later, the doorbell rang again, and this time it was Matthew’s best friend Justin with his parents. They had also been invited as guests for Christmas brunch.

Justin, too, had brought along a couple of his favorite gifts from Santa. He was very excited and wanted to show them to Matthew as soon as possible.

Justin had eaten an early breakfast before he came, but found that he was still able to consume 4 pancakes with whipped cream and syrup, 3 sausages and 2 deviled eggs.

"After that, the boys wanted to go sledding and have a good old fashioned snowball fight, so they all pulled on their winter gear and ran outside."

The girls decided to stay inside, as they wanted to stay dry, try on all their new clothes and see what Santa had brought Olivia.

All the girls, that is, except for Hailey.

She wanted to play with her new dolls and toys and put Clover’s pretty pink collar on her.

(I really cannot blame her for this, can you?).

In the calm after the storm, six very tired parents sat together at the table and drank their coffee in blessed silence and peace. They all smiled at each other in exhausted contentment.

In a little while the three families would pile into their cars to take new, unwrapped toys and small thoughtful gifts for seniors, each present topped with big colorful bows, to the hospital where Dr. Murphy worked.

This was a tradition amongst both the Murphy family and their friends. The Murphy children, accompanied by Olivia and Justin, especially enjoyed spending time visiting and handing out toys and gifts to all of the less fortunate children who had to spend their holidays in the hospital.

Dr. Murphy raised his cup in a toast.

“Merry Christmas, dear friends, and may God bless us All!” he said, and everyone around that table raised their cups and heartily agreed.


THE END


Christmas With The Murphys - Part 2, by Susan Knight
Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved


VOCABULARY:

Awestruck- (aww-struck) Surprised, astonished, stunned, amazed, flabbergasted, overwhelmed.

Beaming- (bee-ming) This word has multiple meanings. As used in this story, it means that Dr. Murphy was so pleased that you could almost feel his happiness traveling all the way across the room. So beaming, in this instance, means Dr. Murphy expressed how he felt by means of a radiant (or sunny) smile. There are other meanings for Beam. Like "Beam me up Scotty", on Star Trek, and there are the kind of Beams that hold up a roof or a floor on a building. There are also sunbeams and moonbeams, and flashlight Beams.

B
leary-(bleer-ee) This means that you and your eyes are so tired that your vision is a little blurry. If you've just woken up, your eyes might be a little bleary. Also, if you've been crying your eyes might also be a little bleary. So bleary means that your vision is a bit blurred, or fuzzy, or hazy. Dr. Murphy has been up late helping to wrap presents, so when he opened his eyes they were still a little bleary.

Brunch- (rhymes with lunch) A single meal eaten between breakfast and lunch, as a substitute for both these meals.

Chaos-
(kay-oss) A state of utter confusion, a total lack of organization or order, a big mess.

Consisted-(con-siss-ted) To be made up of, be comprised of, be a part of, or have as a main feature. The children's gifts from their parents and relatives consisted mainly of clothes. Your school's playground might consist mostly of swing sets, with only a single sliding board. A chocolate cake consists mainly of flour, eggs, sugar and cocoa.

Contentment- (con-TENT-ment) As used in this story, it means completely happy and totally at peace.

Crescent moon-
(kress-ent) Crescent is a curved shape. When we say crescent moon, we are describing what appears to be the shape of the moon during one of its phases. All parts of the Moon are lit in turn by the Sun. From earth we can only see one side of the moon. A shadow of the earth (when the earth temporarily passes between the sun and the moon) is what causes the moon to appear only partly lit up. The location of the shadow is what we know as the phases of the Moon. The Moon changes from a thin crescent to a full moon and back again to a crescent in one month (actually 29 days, which is a lunar month. Take a look at this picture to see photos of a crescent shaped moon. If you'd like to learn more about the moon and the planets, there's a good site at http://www.planetsforkids.org/

Deviled eggs-
(DEV-uld) These are pretty good. First you hard boil the eggs (the same thing you do when you make Easter eggs), then, once they've cooled, you peel the shells off and cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Next you take the yolks (the yellow part) out, mash them up in a bowl with some dijon mustard, mayonnaise, a little finely chopped up onion, a smootch of Tabasco sauce, Salt, Pepper and Paprika. Then you spoon the mixture back into the eggs, sprinkle a little red colored Paprika spice on top, and chill the eggs in the refrigerator. Here are pictures and a good recipe.

Disheveled-
(dis-shev-veld) A person who looks like a bit of a mess, with clothes wrinkled, dirty, or untidy, and hair all uncombed and out of place. You might end up looking disheveled if you've been doing a bunch of somersaults on the grass. You might also look disheveled if you've been sound asleep and you just woke up, with your pajamas or nightgown a little wrinkled and your hair all mussed up.

Elated-
(ee-LATE-ted) Full of high spirits, or feeling wildly happy about someething.

Exhausted- (ex-AWE-sted) Feeling so incredibly tired that all you want to do is lie down and rest

Festive / Festively-
(FES-tiv, FES-tiv-lee) Cheerful, joyful, such as during a celebration. You've been to a Festival, right? Festivals are usually fun. Christmas is considered a festive occasion, where people often gather together and enjoy one another's company while celebrating the holiday. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Fourth of July are some other occasions which are also considered festive. This story mentions festively wrapped presents. In other words, cheerful, colorfully wrapped packages.

Fitfully-
(fit-full-lee) Josh had slept fitfully on Christmas eve, which means that he was not able to sleep soundly, the way he regularly does. He would sleep only a little then wake up. Sometimes, on a cloudy day, we might also say that the sun was shining fitfully, because clouds keep preventing us from seeing the sunshine. So fitfully means something that occurs irregularly, coming in short bursts of fits and starts.

Jubilant- (joo-bill-ent) Showing great excitement, happiness, joy, satisfaction, triumph, or rejoicing. The children were tremendously excited and happy about the surprises that they were about to find inside those pretty packages, so you could say that they were jubilant.

Kibosh-
(KYE-bosh, also sometimes pronounced KYE-bosk) It means to put an immediate stop to something. 9 year old Emma wanted her very own cellphone but her parents put the kibosh (an immediate stop) to her idea, saying that she was still too young.

Maneuver-
(muh-noo-ver) Maneuver means to perform a movement or series of moves requiring skill and care. Here's an example; If you were trying to walk across your bedroom floor but there were a whole bunch of sleeping puppies everywhere, you would have to maneuver very carefully through the room to keep from stepping on somebody's little toes or tails.

Mature-
(ma-choor) Having reached full natural growth or development, or acting like a grown-up.

Nonchalant-
(non-sha-LAHNT) If you were acting nonchalant, you would appear to be casually calm and relaxed and unconcerned.

Red Paprika-
(PAP-ree-kah) Paprika is a spice made from ground bell pepper or chili pepper or a combination of peppers. The flavor can range from mild to hot, but nowadays the flavor is generally sweet and hot at the same time. The color is reddish orange and it is sprinkled the same way salt and pepper are sprinkled on food. It is often sprinkled on top of deviled eggs.

Rendition-
(ren-DISH-un) As used in this story, 5 year old Josh was trying to wake up his parents so he delivered his rendition (his version, or his performance) of the song Jingle Bells. Which was very very loud and not particularly in tune. But it worked.


About the Author: Susan Knight holds a B.S. from The University of Connecticut and an M.S. from Western Connecticut State University. After working in the Clinical Research field for many years, she recently left the corporate world to open her own Pet Care business. She also does volunteer work for a local animal shelter and in her spare time enjoys writing humorous short stories for adults as well as fun short stories for children. She lives in Danbury, Connecticut with her two cats, Oreo and Mystic. You may contact Susan Knight at: KnightSue28@yahoo.com
This author has more wonderful stories online. Find them listed next to her name in the Author section.


Interim Illustrations: Courtesy of Bedtime Story

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