Saturday, December 31, 2011

Is Today The Day?

I'm going to wake up every morning of 2012 and ask, "Is today the day that something great is going to happen in my family?"

Because good things come every three years for us.

In 2003 we got married.

In 2006 The Rock Star was born.

In 2009 The Little Buddy was born.

What does 2012 hold for us?

Only time will tell.

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye

My parents, brother, and sister-in-law left at noon.

The boys got bunk beds for Christmas and I sold the crib tonight.

It's a sad day.

It's icky living away from family. It's the ickiest on the day they leave after a great visit.

My babies are all grown up and neither of them need a crib anymore.

Goodbye family. Goodbye crib.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rock, Paper, Scissors

As we laughed over games last night, my dad suddenly said, "You know what I never learned how to do?" We stared at him waiting for his answer. "I never learned how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors."

My husband, brother, sister-in-law and I blinked back in astonishment.

"I don't know how either," my mom nonchalantly mentioned.

"What? How do you make all your major life decisions?" My sister-in-law questioned comically and we all erupted into hysterics.

I offered to quickly teach them as this clearly falls into the category of things one should have learned in grade school. My mom, apparently feeling that this is a skill she does not need to master after more than fifty years without it, declined in favor of continuing to play the game we were already engrossed in.

I fully intend to hold them captive in my home until I'm confident that they can face the world with this important skill. I may have my five-year-old teach them. After all, how on earth have they been making all their life decisions?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mini Mart Santa

It just so happened that when my husband opened his stocking gifts, the first three were as follows:

1. A small bag of Doritos.
2. A bottle of Gatorade.
3. A small bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

After the third gift he said, "I think Santa forgot about me and stopped at a mini mart along the way." And it was hilarious. The way he said it and the fact that it was entirely possible given what he'd received made the rest of us burst into laughter.

Later he went on to open a t-shirt, a book, and several other less-Quicki Martish items but I think he might be on to something. Maybe next year Santa really will stuff a stocking with only gas station items. Any ideas? What's something really good that Santa could grab at the local Chevron?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Celebrate

Merry Christmas!

May you all have a blessed day.

And the first time that You opened your eyes
Did you realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever


And I celebrate the day
That you were born to die
So one day I could pray for You to save my life


-Relient K

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sentences

"I buckil mysilf."

"Daddy home!"

"I tell Santa I want toooools."

"Tick-o me, mommy!"

"Come ah brudda, let wessil."

"Dear Jesus. Tank you mama. Tank you daddy. Tank you Gahwit. Tank you Mahew."

Matthew's nearly three-year-old voice is one of my favorite things these days. I simply can't get enough of the sweet sound. He speaks in stream of consciousness, having just walked up to me with this:

"What dat smill? A cand-o? I smill it. I go uptairs and suck my fum in my bed. Okay mommy? I want my gamma here wite now!"

I hope that when I'm old and senile I can still remember the way my baby's sounded as they began to truly conquer language.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daddy Touched the Elf

Oh these elves.

They're full of it.

Sometimes they steal the boys' toys during the night and are found playing with them the next day. Sometimes they're slurping on candy canes. Sometimes, one of them hides in a tree and Daddy turns on the lights and a certain five-year-old completely freaks out thinking that his elf is going to catch on fire.

Then Daddy touches the elf's face in an attempt to position him away from the light and all Christmas mayhem breaks loose.

Troy explained to Garrett that it was fine. He was saving the elf from certain doom. We thought he'd explained enough and that Garrett had let it go.

But then, Santa came to preschool.

When it was my son's turn, he hopped up on Santa's lap and immediately launched into what can only be described as a filibuster. Santa couldn't get a word in edgewise. After a good minute, I jumped up from my seat and said, "Garrett, you need to let Santa talk too."

"It's okay," Santa looked at me with a smile. "He's just explaining to me why his dad had to touch his elf. He wants to make sure everything is okay."

Apparently my son was harboring deep concern over what sort of punishment our family would receive for breaking the elfin rules. Santa assured him that all was well and that he was very glad that Garrett's daddy had saved his elf from permanent damage.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Church on Christmas?

Last night I posted.

A rambling I called Church on Christmas? It was up for about six hours so chances are, a lot of you had the opportunity to read it. After a certain paragraph prompted a response (by a long time reader of this blog) in which it was clear that I caused unintentional hurt, I ended up taking it down. When I went to bed last night, I began to pray that the post would be read and interpreted the way it was intended, as a defense of my Lord and Savior. Pretty quickly it became clear to me that I should take it down. That I might ruin friendships. That it really isn't up to me to pick up my sword and attack. In the garden of Gethsemane, Christ tells Peter to put down his sword. And in Psalm 64:3 we're told, "They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows." (Granted, that second part is out of context, but the inspired Word of God calls the tongue a sword, nonetheless.) In this case, I think what my fingers type is akin to what my tongue says. I felt like God was telling me to put down my sword. So I had my husband, who hadn't yet gone to bed, take the post down for me.

It's not that I don't think my points are valid, because I do. But I wrote the post from such a place of heartbreak over the American church that my ramblings could easily have been construed as hurtful to others. So I've eliminated the ramblings and boiled my thoughts down to four points.

The bullet points of the post go a little something like this.

-I disagree with church leadership canceling church on Sunday if they are a church that meets every other Sunday of the year.

-I think Christmas is actually the second worst day to cancel church, second only to Easter.

-This isn't a commentary on the church attenders choosing to stay home. (Or have valid reasons to not attend, like travel, illness, work, etc.) It's a commentary on church leadership.

-As a member of church leadership, I disagree with the notion that leadership needs the day off. We get Christmas off six times out of seven. We don't get days off from our faith and we shouldn't want them. Celebrating with your family certainly doesn't make someone any less of a Christian, but closing the doors to a church on a day that only exists because of Christ seems like a problematic contradiction to what we should be trying to do, which is reach the world with the Gospel of Christ.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. I went on and on in last night's post. But it really isn't necessary. I'm disappointed in our nation. All around the world, believers are fighting for the chance to assemble together but the American church is canceling Christmas services--and on Christ's birthday no less.

But it isn't my fight. Our church will be open. The Lord doesn't need me to defend Him. He certainly doesn't need me to ruin relationships. I love my fellow believers and I should not stand in judgement of them. I just disagree with their choice on this particular matter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Beans and Onions

My family is coming for Christmas. Well, my parents are coming for Christmas and my brother and sister-in-law are coming two days after. Although, their visit is a surprise to my boys. A surprise I am bound and determined to ruin. I wrapped their presents and put them under the tree. "Mommy, why is Uncle Jon's present under the tree?"

"So he can open it when he gets..." I got to this point in my answer before realizing my blunder. "Uh, when he gets it from Grandma and Grandpa after they take it to him."

Later in the week he asked me why we were cleaning the office. "Um. Well. Grandma and Grandpa are coming."

"Yeah," he answered. "But they sleep in the guest room."

"But they might bring a lot of stuff and need the office too." I lied through my teeth.

Today I took my oldest son with me to two grocery stores because I don't want to go anywhere near anything with a parking lot between tomorrow and Christmas. The Little Buddy stayed home with his daddy and The Rock Star and I took off.

Halfway through our shopping trip, Garrett called his grandma. He informed her that we were shopping for things she could eat while she was here. She asked him what we had in the cart. "Beans. Another kind of beans. Another kind of beans. And an onion!" He answered.

This was the point where my mom almost blew my brother's visit by saying, "Oh, Uncle Jon will be happy." She caught herself and the secret is still safe. For now. She got on the phone with me. "So, you're feeding us beans and onions, huh?"

"Well, you know, I'm on a budget. It's just beans and onions for you."

And, just for the record, we had way more than beans and an onion in the cart. There was also taco seasoning and disposable razors.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ban on Cell Phones

A federal safety board called Tuesday for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving.
The recommendation is the most far-reaching yet by the National Transportation Safety Board, which in the past 10 years has increasingly sought to limit the use of portable electronic devices -- recommending bans for novice drivers, school bus drivers and commercial truckers. Tuesday's recommendation, if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road.

This includes hands free devices. I just have one question for the NTSB. If the goal is less accidents, less distracted drivers, why not ban children from being in cars? Ever. I assure you that I am much more distracted by the sounds of my toddler screaming, my five-year-old talking incessantly, my toddler saying, "Yook ah me, mommy! Yook at what I doing. Yook. Mama? Mama? Hey mommy. Yook. YOOK!", my five-year-old whining because he dropped something onto the floor. 
I promise you that I am much less distracted by my cell phone than I am by my sweet little backseat crew. If we're going to ban cell phones, we really ought to ban kids. And eating. And listening to and/or adjusting the radio. We probably shouldn't have passengers in the front seat either.
I'm just saying.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elfin Fun

I grew up with an elf. He came and stayed for the month of December, moving around the house at night while I was sleeping, checking on my brother and me, making sure we were being nice and not naughty. He magically went back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve and reported to Santa. 

And you know what? I wasn't scared for life. I didn't have trouble trusting my parents once I found out that the whole experience was basically a giant trick. And, wait for it, I didn't stop believing in Jesus when I discovered the truth that Santa--and his elfin minions--weren't real. 

I was discerning enough to understand that while there wasn't really a big fat man in a red suit shimmying down chimneys in what can only be described as breaking and entering, there was a Creator because, logically, how else did we all get here? Call me smart like that but I'm fairly certain most kids have the ability to realize that there is a God-sized whole inside of them that Santa isn't designed to fill. We need God and He reveals Himself constantly to those who seek Him.

I have no problem with parents who don't do the Santa thing. None at all. We don't do the Easter bunny. And before you go calling me a hypocrite for pretending to believe in Santa but not the rabbit let me explain my reasoning. St. Nicholas was a real life dude. He delivered gifts to kids at Christmas. We can tell our children about the truth of the person of St. Nick. The bunny has absolutely nothing to do with Easter. (Although, I certainly don't have a problem with other families having a bunny leave eggs at their houses.) I understand not telling your kids about Santa because I absolutely believe in doing whatever it takes to make sure the children understand the true and only real reason for Christmas.

But we do Santa here. (Always, always, first making sure that our children are being trained up to know that Jesus, in a manger, in Bethlehem is the only thing that really matters.)

And we do the elf thing.

Our elves showed up on the porch on the 1st of December. We have two because I want to be able to send one with each boy when they grow up and have children of their own.
Last year, my oldest son named his elf (the blue eyed one) Finn Mooserider. He wanted to name him Flynn Rider because he'd just seen Tangled. We settled on a compromise and his elf got a silly name that was not based on a cartoon. Matthew wasn't even two so I named his for him. Booker T. Elfington is the dark eyed elf.

My boys absolutely think these things are alive and well and reporting to Santa. Nevermind their lack of hands and feet. Nevermind their ridiculous flannel outfits. Nevermind the frozen expressions that never change. Booker and Finn are alive with the magic of Christmas.

And they have been up to no good. They've been found eating cookies and candies. They've confiscated Garrett's pirate boats and been found doing battle. They've been caught sleeping (with their eyes open, of course) in the bathroom, in a basket, tucked in under a hand towel. They are now suspended in a small toy food basket, from the light fixture in the kitchen.

Sometimes the oldest tells the youngest, "Be good, the elves are watching." I always follow this with, You should be good all the time because Jesus is always watching.


He swears he's seen them move.

And I remember that. I remember not even believing in Santa anymore but being just certain that the elves had blinked or nodded their heads. They're not real. I would tell myself. They can't move. Still, a part of me held onto that crisp excitement that there was the smallest of chances they just might.

One year, I crept up to the elf, knowing that it wasn't real, and touched it. I remember thinking, Huh. I guess it really is fake. He's made of plastic. But this was at least a few years after I stopped believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.

I never stopped believing in Jesus.

I hope that my children understand that some things we do to experience the pure joy of childlike Christmas fun but that God and His Son reign forever. I hope that they appreciate the excitement we had in watching the delight on their faces every morning upon discovering their elves.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Need A Silent Night

The Christmas season kicked off on December 3 with our Women's Brunch. Like a snowball spinning uncontrolled down a mountain, gaining speed and size, causing, perhaps, an avalanche, it hasn't slowed down since. I have your average, every day, run of the mill Christmas duties like speaking at another church's luncheon 90 minutes north and spending numerous hours directing the youth in the annual musical. Wait? Are those not every day commitments for most people? Ah well.

On top of that, the calendar is packed with other excitements such as birthday parties, five-year-old gatherings, cookie decorating at a friend's house with my sons wearing adorable hand crafted table cloth aprons, wrapping, decorating, baking, a baby shower, etc, etc, etc.

All of this despite the fact that I wanted to make a conscious effort to slow things down this year, to enjoy hot chocolate with my boys in front of the fireplace, to watch holiday movies snuggled up to my husband, to focus on the gift that was given to us on that day so long ago and not on the gifts under the tree. Each event is special and important and I have no idea what I would have cut out.

Still, I can't help but think that next year, something's got to give. Next year I might not be able to be at Boondock's on Thursday night, a three hour rehearsal on Friday night, get up again on Saturday morning to go to a baby shower, and be back at the church in the mid afternoon to direct a performance. Next year I am going to have to figure out how to strike a better balance between Christmas fun and extreme insanity.

Because, maybe at Christmas, this song shouldn't be on an endless loop in one's mind.


Or maybe, by next Christmas, I might have forgotten all about how crazy this season was and sign myself up for even more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sleepy Hamburger

What stinks about this picture is that it's staged. It's a reenactment which doesn't even come close to being as adorable as the real thing.
(Notice his crazy car seat hair)

The last day of our Thanksgiving trip to California involved waking up at 5:45 and heading to The Happiest Place on Earth. My inlaws--who were also in San Diego--treated us to a day at the park. We needed to leave in the late afternoon because we were spending the night in the St. George area which is approximately seven hours from Anaheim. You know, with kids. Who take awhile to hoist themselves out of the car, use the bathroom, and get back in.

Needless to say, we were all pretty exhausted by the time we actually hit the road--especially the kids. All three of the boys fell asleep pretty quick into our drive--thankfully, I was driving--and so I pushed on to Baker before stopping for dinner. It was a very late meal and it was difficult to rouse The Rock Star from his slumber. We finally managed.

We filled up on gas, went to the bathroom, and bought dinner. As we drove off toward Vegas, Garrett was talking up a storm. "You need to be quiet and eat," we finally told him. Little did we know, the chatter was the only thing keeping him awake. Suddenly, it was very very quiet. I turned on the light and spun around in my seat--thankfully, Troy was now driving. My oldest son was sound asleep with his hamburger in his hand. He looked exactly like he does in the picture except that in real time his arm was bent at the elbow and he was somehow holding his hamburger up in the air. His head was also at a more uncomfortable angle.

Without having the presence of mind to take a picture, I woke him up and encouraged him to eat. He whined feebly, "I'm too tired to eat." We'd bought him onion rings--one of his favorite things--but had told him he needed to eat his burger first. Hearing the exhaustion in his voice I went back on our prior rule and asked him if he wanted the onion rings instead. He did.

Two onion rings later, he was nodding off again. I kept trying to get him to talk to me and eat a few more rings but it was mostly a futile attempt to get food into the kid. When he crashed back into sleep I think he'd had a third of a burger and about four small onion rings.

But he'd sure had a blast at Disneyland that day.

(We staged this photo after arriving at my aunt's house around midnight.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tebow Time

My status update on Facebook reads, "To the doubters and unbelievers: There is a God and Tim Tebow has found His favor.


My brother wrote about the Tebow phenomenon and he said it better than I could.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a serious San Diego Chargers fan. I have been for about the last 18 years. When it comes to the AFC West, I want the Chargers at the top every time. I despise the Raiders and the Chiefs but I used to be able to take or leave the Broncos. Obviously I wanted the Chargers to beat them when they played each other but otherwise they could win or lose. It didn't really matter to me. Then the Broncos put Cutler at the helm and I added them to my list of teams to hate. I cannot stand Cutler. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a player I dislike more although, these days, Tom Brady is a relatively close second.

When I watched the draft in 2010 (if I hadn't already alienated 90% of my readers in the first few sentences of this post, I'm fairly certain I just did. I mean, really, you come here to read stories of my dirty boys. I regale you with vignettes about fecal matter and vomit. On occasion, perhaps, if I'm lucky, I challenge you to dig deeper into your faith. But sports. You draw the line at knowing that I watched the draft. I'm sorry. Please come back tomorrow.) I audibly cried out, "NO!" when the Denver Broncos drafted Tim Tebow. Why? Because I really like Tebow. And I had grown quite accustomed to hating the Broncos under Cutler. Even when Cutler was traded I still detested Denver simply for the fact that they had, at one time, employed him. I just knew that I couldn't hate the Broncos if Tebow was their starting QB.

In the past few weeks, I've watched this very scenario unfold. I needed the Broncos to lose today to bring my Chargers within one game of the lead in the division. For this reason, I was pulling for the Bears but when I saw the same overtime situation playing out once again, I couldn't help but know exactly how it was going to end.

God is using Tim Tebow. Do I think they'll win the Superbowl, not really. Do I think God is showing favor upon this man who takes every opportunity to shout the name of his Savior across the air waves? Yes. Yes I do.

Next week the Broncos play the Patriots. I need the Patriots to win if there is to be any hope at all of my Chargers making the playoffs (a ridiculous long shot at this point). But you know what, in all likelihood I am going to cheer for Tebow's team. Today, Tom Brady screamed at his offensive coordinator. He let the expletives fly as he sat looking like a spoiled brat. Tim Tebow praised the Lord that we both worship. As I grow up I realize that it's all about furthering the kingdom of heaven. Deep down, it is rarely all about the Chargers.

So next Sunday I'm a Broncos fan.

Go Tebow!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Speaking

I don't know where this speaking thing is going. I don't know if God will cultivate it into a full blown speaking schedule someday or if I'll never again have another church ask me to share. But I know that I am so thankful for the opportunities I've been given so far.

Today I had the chance to share the word of God at a church in Brigham City. I spoke mainly on Philippians 2:1-8 about making connections and how Christ came down and humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross. I talked about David and Jonathan and their incredible friendship. I talked about the baby Savior in a manger. And I plugged in Christmas lights and made an example out of them. Even though all these things sound like they're all over the place, I'm pretty sure it's what God wanted me to say. I'm pretty sure He blessed it. I'm pretty sure it worked.

I love (read: LOVE) the opportunity to meet and fellowship with like-minded, Jesus loving believers. I love the preparation that goes into a session and the journey the Lord takes me on while I'm writing, rewriting, practicing, and praying. I love to share my passion for my Savior.

I am so thankful that God led me to an event at a little church in Brigham City this morning and (hopefully) spoke through me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Birthday For Jesus

I wrapped the gifts we bought for the boys and placed them under the tree. "Don't you think Matthew will open them all before Christmas?" Troy asked.

I hadn't really thought about that but I shrugged, "I hope not. I'll tell him not to in the morning and hope he listens." I then proceeded to strategically place the gifts so that he would have to go through all of his own before he got to his brother's. I figured that I'd hear the crinkling paper before he got all of Garrett's presents opened prematurely.

Neither boy really paid any attention to the gifts. At one point, Garrett did inform me that there were presents under the tree but they didn't even look closely at them. Last night, when I turned on the lights on the tree, Matthew followed me. He gently put his hands on one of the presents and started to pick it up.

I asked him to put it down. Then I dropped to my knees and pulled my youngest boy close. "Matthew, please don't open any of these presents until I tell you it's okay. Do you understand?"

He smiled sweetly and then put his mouth next to my ear. Whispering, he told me, "Mommy, doze burtday presins for Jesus." (Mommy, those birthday presents for Jesus.)

While I don't know that Jesus wants a pair of fuzzy Dinosaur Train crocs or a size 6 snow jacket, I was so happy that my youngest son, my not quite three-year-old, knows that Christmas is about Jesus's birthday. It actually warms my heart that he doesn't yet realize he gets gifts on the Savior's special day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thankful

Head over to Givin' In A Fishbowl and enter the contest for a free $25 Sam's Club card and a big box of Chex cereal!
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I am thankful that 9 years ago my husband and I went on our first date.

I am thankful that 6 years ago I first knew that my oldest son and I were both cohabitating in my body.

I am thankful for the joy that both of them have brought me.

I am thankful to the Lord for giving them to me.

And I am thankful for my youngest son who has nothing to do with December 7 but who I love just as much as the two boys that do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Then & Now

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at www.familyfishbowl2.blogspot.com. Only four more days to enter. Lots of ways to win!
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My friend sent me a link to her sister's youtube page.

I can't believe this was Garrett just two years ago.


Although, I can't believe that this is Garrett now, either. I mean, six years ago tomorrow, I found out I was pregnant with him. He was the size of a pea for heaven's sake. He was nothing but a gray blob on the ultrasound with a tiny heart beating in the center. And now he recites poems.
video
He learned that for preschool. The assignment was to memorize a poem to get a button for their bags. These buttons are prized possessions. I found the poem online and read it to Troy. He chuckled and said, "That might be a little long for him since he wants to do it tomorrow." Garrett had it mostly memorized Sunday night and got it down pat Monday morning. When I picked him up from school, his teacher gave me the thumbs up.

"His poem was great!"

Six years ago, teeny little embryo. Today...well, today he's a big boy.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Appyboneteet

Today at church, I let The Rock Star have a donut. He chose a particularly chocolaty one, lifted it to his mouth and smiled, "Appy Bone Teet!"

I laughed, "Do you mean bon appetit?"

"Oh. Sure. Bone appy teet! And yum."



Sorry! I accidentally posted my giveaway here. Whoops. I moved it over to the place it belongs. So head over to Givin' In A Fishbowl and enter already! (I think I moved all the comments as well, but you might want to check to be sure.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Giveaway

Guess what?

I've got a giveaway going on over at Givin' In A Fishbowl.

Who doesn't like free cereal and gift cards?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Peter

It seems like forever ago that Garrett started begging for a pet.

"You have a dog and a cat," I told him.

"But I really want my own pet that I take care of," he'd replied.

We kept saying no.

Over the summer, Garrett started going through a really annoying phase of sleeping in his room for a few hours and then sneaking into our room and finishing the night on the floor. It didn't matter what we did, we could not get him to stay in his own bed.

We treated the situation as tenderly as we could since both Troy and I were afraid of our own rooms at one point or another when we were kids. Still, it was something we wanted to try to curb.

We implemented a system where he would earn points by staying in his bed. For each point he got to put a sticker on that date on the calendar. When he reached a certain number he would get the reward he was working for.

The first reward was for three nights of staying in his bed. He earned a candy pop that he'd been eyeing.

After that he had to go ten days but the prize was a trip to Leatherby's for ice cream.

Then he asked for a pet. A fish to be exact. I was pretty thrilled that all he asked for was a fish. He didn't ask for a three-toed sloth or a python or a wildebeest, thankfully. Troy and I talked about it and decided that if he could stay in his bed forever or, like, two months, he could earn a fish.

With about two weeks left, I bought the bowl, the rocks, a net and the plant (for $8) and set them up. He just had to wait for the fish to be in it. When we got home from our recent trip we went to the pet store.

For twelve dollars we purchased the fish, the water drops, the food, and a small thermometer. All in all a pretty cheap pet since the food and water drops will last longer than the fish. (Although my betta in college, a one Moby Dick, lived forever so who knows...)

Meet Garrett's very own fish, Peter the Betta.
How did he come up with the name Peter for a fish, you might be wondering. "Well, Peter was a fisherman. And he also sunk into the water, just like a fish," Garrett informed me.

And of course Peter the Betta is a male. Of course he is. Because if anything else with estrogen came into our house, there's no telling what might happen.