How do you take a 3 year old and a 9 month old to Sydney, Australia?

The simple answer is: you don’t. and you shouldn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. Anyone who knows me knows that the #dadlife is one of my favorite things about my entire life in general. We have two beautiful and wonderful daughters Estella and Eva, and I’m so glad I have the incredible privilege to be their dad. And to my future child, know that I love you and cherish you already.

But just because all of those things are true does not make children great companions on a 14 hour non-stop flight over the Pacific ocean and back (plus 4 more hours each way and 4-6 hour layovers in addition).

Let’s walk through the logistics.

Our youngest daughter was going to be 9 months old on this trip (first red flag). One member of our family thought it would be just fine for that child to be on the plane with us, I won’t mention who but her name is used in pop culture typically in the phrase: “Bye _____”. We also were going with Felicia’s parents who could help out on the trip and give us a little bit of a break if needed. Our oldest daughter is 3 years old and she travels pretty well, so we can really focus on the 9 month old during our trip anyways so it should work out (operating word: should). Our same 9 month old who is crawling everywhere at this time (red flag #2).

At this same time our youngest was in the phase of only liking warm bottles (red flag #3). For some reason, we never had any insulated water bottles in our household, so let me just say this; if you need warm water and you’re going on a trip, invest in some insulated water bottles. Big mistake for us, makes me feel like a rookie parent all over again.

Red flag #4 would simply be we are sharing a small, enclosed metal tube flying over an ocean for 14 hours with a child that defies everything that we did with our first one and is the most independent being I have ever met (and all the parents of multiple children wave that hanky and shout “Amen!”).

Our flight plan consisted of this: Minneapolis to LA, layover, LA to Sydney (overnight), then on the way back – Sydney to LA (morning flight), layover, LA to Minneapolis.

Minneapolis to LA is 4 hours in the air, and Minneapolis is a pretty decent airport to wait at, so our journey started pretty decent. It has been a long time since I had been to LAX, and LAX in my opinion is a TERRIBLE airport to wait at. It takes forever  to get to any sort of options for food (incredibly long hallways underground that have no air conditioning during the summer, in other words, an introduction to the place where Satan makes his home) and there is nothing kid friendly about the airport at all. Considering we were there for 6 hours from about 6 pm – Midnight (8 pm-2 am Minnesota time) was not ideal either because it is not easy for anyone to fall asleep at an airport, and our kids didn’t fall asleep until about 10:30 pm (12:30 am Minnesota). So with this long day and our kids finally crashing way past their normal bedtimes, you would think that at least they would get a full night’s sleep on the plane, right?

Wrong.

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(the most peaceful it was during our traveling was right at the beginning)

Let me just preface this part with a piece of the Bible – Matthew 7:2 – “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

The plane ride to Sydney was the warm up. Little did we know that. But as we struggled along to entertain a 9 month old after her maybe 5 hours or so of sleep, confined in our row of three with 3 people plus the baby, we thought the going was tough. There is literally only so much you can do with about 8 feet of space and 4 people at night in an airplane. I remember (which is a miracle because most of these moments are quite blurry from the hysteria) at one point we laid our child on the floor to sleep and covered her up so that:

1. she would actually sleep since she sleeps best on flat surfaces…like nearly all human beings and

2. so that no stewardess or passenger could really even see her on the floor so we could escape much judgement for leaving our child be on the floor of an airplane. You gotta do what you gotta do.

The pros, I got to complete one in flight movie. Eddie the Eagle. And I loved it. One of the greatest underdog stories and inspirational films I have ever watched.

The cons, it’s pretty mentally stressful to care for a energetic 9 month old on a plane for 14 hours in a space as large as a refrigerator box. I understand that there are aisles, but in the middle of the night when everyone else is trying to sleep would you rather be the good guy or the bad guy on the plane?

After making it through the flight, it was morning in Australia, and in order to get adjusted to our time difference (+17 hours) we stayed up and started our vacation.

Sydney is an incredibly beautiful city with much to do and see so we were very excited to start our journey. We went to the harbor by the world famous opera house and harbor bridge, walked through the botanic gardens, different neighborhoods including “The Rocks”, Darling Harbor, the Sydney Tower Eye, Madam Tussauds/Sea Life/Wild Life Zoo and so much more. We took a tour out to the rainforest and the Blue Mountains and got to go to a zoo to pet koala’s and kangaroo’s. We toured all around Sydney and the outer areas of Sydney as well as going to the world famous Bondi beach as well as the olympic village from the 2000 Summer Olympics. We also had an incredible time at the Hillsong Conference and it really was a great trip. There are so many fun things to do with the family in Sydney and the surrounding areas, and we really had the most incredible time with our family.

So let me just say this, the vacation was extremely fun and enjoyable. The traveling part however…

Let’s jump to the flight home.

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(Child and non-germaphobe #2)

We departed Sydney early in the morning, which meant an earlier morning for all of us to arrive at the airport and such on time. The other thing that happens with a flight in the morning is that your kids do not want to sleep, since that’s what they’ve been doing all night…so here comes the craziness. We tried so hard to get our kids to nap, we really did. Bribes, sleep aids, comfort, hostage style negotiations. Our 3 year old was great, our 9 month old didn’t understand the concept of negotiation. We had slightly more leg room this time as we sat in the front of the back section of the plane right behind the restrooms and the galley, but it didn’t make much of a difference. This time we had 2 seats in a row of 3 (with another passenger in the window seat, poor guy), and then the 3 middle seats as well. We walked, we played, we did everything our minds could think of, but our youngest did not want any part of it. She did not want to play, or be held, or nap, or really anything, she just wanted to be done flying. As did we all. On our 14 hour plane ride home, our child napped less than she screamed.

Nap: 1 1/2 hours

Screaming: 3+ hours total (a good portion of that time was continual, and since the entire flight is a blur it very well could have been more)

Yep. That was our kid…we were that family. So I humbly apologize if you were on this Delta flight back to LA from Sydney early July of 2016.

If you were the guy next to us, the gracious, patient man who pretended we did not really exist and watched his movies in peace, thank you for not lashing out at us or our child.

Many people ask us if people gave us dirty looks or the stink eye on the flight and our honest answer is that we don’t know, because we did not look behind us. Our eyes were focused on our crazy child and our minds were focused on surviving the flight without doing something crazy ourselves.

The flight attendants were gracious and accommodating, especially with the whole warm bottle issue, but our child just literally did not like anything on that 14 hour flight home. At one point I remember sitting on the floor blocking the middle aisle way with a bag on the other side of the aisle smushed and scrunched simply to let Eva crawl in what little space she could and hopefully find a small amount of enjoyment in the time we had. We had a bassinet that hooked onto the wall that for any other kid might have worked incredibly well, but it was more of a scream cage for Eva.

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(screamed herself to her tiny nap)

You sing, you giggle, you laugh, you make funny voices, you pick her up, you put her down, you feed her, you give her anything she asks for, you pick her up again, you bounce, you dance, you walk, you put her down again, you try and make her laugh, you cover her with her blanket so that it muffles the screaming, you dream of what being at home was like, you vow never to go on vacation again, you cry tears in your soul and ask God “When will this be over?”. Wash, rinse, repeat, right?

Have you ever been to the grocery store and one of your children threw the “grocery store tantrum” and you do everything you can but this is the time that there’s no stopping the tantrum train? It was like that, but for the better part of half a day…with nowhere to go…10,000 ft in the air…surrounded by strangers. It was mostly a blur. My mind was fried after that flight and it was probably one of the hardest things I have done in my life. I tell people I’m putting it on my resume´and they think I’m joking, but I’m not. Dead serious.

“Sean Masopust

Accomplishments: Bachelor’s Degree, Grad School, Took a 9 month old on Trans-Pacific roundtrip flights from Minneapolis to Sydney Australia.”

See? Trans-Pacific makes it sound legit.

I love my kids. One of them travels extremely well. One of them does not. She marches to the beat of her own drum, and she is as loud as one too.

So how do you take children 3 and under to Sydney, Australia?

You don’t, unless you’re crazy. Like we are.

Here’s to the big roadtrip we have planned for July with a 4 year old, 1 1/2 year old, and 4 month old.

#dadlife

a three year old’s weekend.

(my awesome and wonderful wife wanted to post her recap of estella’s 3rd birthday, so here it is!)

i’m turning 30 soon. real soon (going through the dramatic thoughts of if i should be excited or depressed). Im just starting to realize what I like to do in this life. maybe it’s an identity crisis i’m having, or mayb it’s true that you find out who you are later in life?…so, i’ve come to the realization of a lot of things lately. i’ve decided i love being a mom, i love having people over to my house (i wear my husband out), i love spending money, i love my family, i love my friends, and i love decorating for events.

estella love. turning 3 years old. my heart.

i saw this quote somewhere, “i constantly go in between wanting you to stay my little baby forever, and being excited about all of the amazing things you’ll do in this life.”

how stinkin’ true.

frozen birthday party. i love love love life and of course i love celebrating. so…..my husband let me go all out.

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we did crafts, games (yes, even an adult game for the parents), so much food (if you don’t know, food is my love language), painted nails like elsa, and presents.

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ELSA CAME TO VISIT! you know how much your friend loves you when she’ll take off work early and dress up like a princess to make your three year old’s dream come true!

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i’m surrounded by great friends. they make me laugh so hard, and gut wrenching laughter is my favorite kind, and i definitely laugh a lot when i’m with them. so many of them came to estella’s party, they treasure my babies, make memories with my family, and love life as much as i do.

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happy birthday estella love. you are treasured by many.

love,

your momma

#momlife

Dragons Love Tacos, and other things.

It has been a long while since I have blogged the #dadlife! Since I have last blogged we have added a child in the mix! We are also going to Disney World next week!!! So if anyone has any great advice on having two children under the age of 3 at Disney World with you, I’ll gladly receive it!

I wanted to post today because I wanted to give parents a look at some of my favorite things recently as a parent. Here’s the story:

I was walking in Target, getting a few things my wife had asked me to pick up (of course I forgot stuff, because I always forget), and I’m also a chronic browser. So browsing around, I stopped by the children’s book section and made one of the greatest discoveries of my parenting career:

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Yes, that’s right. The book is called “Dragons Love Tacos”.

It’s a New York Times Bestseller, it’s somewhat expensive for a children’s book ($16ish I believe, but only $10 on amazon!), but it intrigued me. So naturally I stopped what I was doing and I read the book in Target.

Hands down one of the most clever, creative, and funny children’s books I’ve read. I literally laughed out loud in Target.

Maybe it’s just because if I wrote a kids book it would be something like this, but it’s just hysterical! If you’re a serious parent who has no fun in life, you won’t like it. But if you’re immature, child-like, and still getting a hang of this parenting thing (not to mention if you love dragons and tacos), you’ll love this book and thoroughly enjoy reading this book to your children. I won’t spoil it for you, so you’ll just have to saunter up to Target and read it and laugh out loud yourself. You might also look foolish, but at this point in my life that’s about all I do, haha.

I have also just found this compilation album online of Disney songs sung by current artists, and I love this entire album. From Tori Kelly killing “Colors of the Wind” (a song I desperately dislike), to Neyo belting out an Aladdin classic in “Friend Like Me”, this album is crack for all Disney lovers out there. Don’t believe me? Take a listen:

Don’t spotify? Watch here:

Not to mention Aladdin just released on Blu-ray a week or two ago. Yeah we’ve already bought and watched it.

What are your favorite things as a parent at the moment? Got any suggestions?

Comment! Love! Like! and always live the #dadlife

sean

Dance on.

Sorry it has been a while! So much has happened since I last blogged, but I’m back into the swing of things as much as summer will let me!

For those of you who have not seen, we are having another girl! Felicia and I are so excited for our second child! Having a girl is way more fun than I thought it would be. God has blessed us with one of the funniest, most incredible personalities to raise in Estella Love. She makes us laugh all the time, and is as stubborn as any only child toddler in existence. She is the reason I fell in love with my journey of being a father, and helps me grow every day as I watch her grow up as well.

We have a lot of things we love to do together. Whether going on trips to the zoo, playing in the pool, or riding rides, there are so many things I love doing with my daughter. One of the things that tops most of them though, is dancing.

We love to dance. All the time.

A good groove, a good beat, loud. We will dance.

Here’s a video of our latest jives, we are trying to nail down the whip and the nae-nae:

What do you love to do with your kids?

living the #dadlife

sean

Extended Parenthood

I wanted to share about an opportunity my wife and I have taken recently to extend our parenting and love in a different way.

I believe wholeheartedly that at the core foundation of love is sacrifice. Selflessness. This is not an idea that our culture faces very well. We have extreme amounts of blessing and wealth, and all we seem to want as a whole is more.

My wife and I took a team of our youth leaders to Dallas last week for a youth leaders conference. Many of our friends from all over the country were there, many people who are heroes and influences in our lives, just an incredible time. I knew God was doing some crazy things in my life and really changing my heart about many things, but an opportunity presented itself during a service and I knew God was leading in that moment to be sacrificial. Not just a one time thing, but something beyond ourselves. So when Compassion International was brought up and the opportunity to sponsor a child was presented, I knew it was something I needed to do.

I didn’t do it as a feel good thing, although it’s an incredible opportunity. But it really is a chance to give and support those maybe cannot themselves, and all over the world. It’s a chance to teach my daughter about love, even for people we may not know. It’s a way to extend our family, and see God move through us and the lives that we can be a part of all over the world. It’s incredible to be a part of this organization and I know it may not be much, but it can be enough to make a difference in the life of Samson.

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I love this video Compassion put out for Easter in showing the heart of love in their vision.

https://vimeo.com/123101463

I just wanted to post this to encourage, if God is calling you to obedience, do it! Obedience to God no matter what it might be is an incredible opportunity to teach and influence your own families and the people around you.  Don’t miss out on those moments!

#dadlife

Miracles.

Sorry it has been a while, but as many of you have heard or seen, it is true. My wife is pregnant!!!!!

As significant as that is in and of itself, many people don’t understand how much of a miracle this truly is for us.

Many people have heard the story, but many of you may have missed a lot of it, so I wanted to take a few moments and explain the significance of this event.

My wife and I have been trying to have another baby for well over a year. We thought that it was just one of those things that had been taking time, but after a while we decided to go the doctor’s to see if anything was the matter or if anything could be helped. It had turned out that it could have been this, that, or everything in between that was the matter. Sometimes its the most frustrating thing when the only thing you might know for sure is that nothing is for sure. The tests they ran made the doctors conclude something was wrong, but the only thing that we knew for sure from the doctor is we were told we would not be able to have a baby without fertility treatments.

There are 3 levels of treatments and the first two are very small chances of increasing fertility. The third level is incredibly expensive and not guaranteed effective either. So we have had a lot of decision making and stress over the last year facing what has seemed like an insurmountable challenge. As many people have faced lengthy trials in their own lives, you may know that it only gets harder the longer it goes. As hardships drag, it weighs on you. And if it affects your family it feels even worse. There have been many tears shed, many frustrated conversations, heartaches and breaks and moments where it felt we may never have another child. Many of our family and friends have lifted us up in prayer (which is the most encouraging thing to know that you have people around you who love you enough to pray), but there have been so many times myself as a dad and husband and a pastor, that I have felt lost in this process.

How do you console your wife when you yourself can’t see the hope in a situation?

How do you preach faithfulness to your church when it’s a battle within your own mind?

How do you maintain the attitude that God wants greater things for us, when it seems everything is trending downwards?

As my wife and I have wrestled these very real questions in our own lives, and as we have both prayed for the best and feared the worst, the silver bullet that I had been searching for to make everything better was never found.

The only thing I could ever continue was my trust in a God who has called me to be the best husband and father I can be through Him. In the moments where I felt extreme loneliness, frustration, and heartache for myself and my wife, I also saw God move. Where there may not have been growth in this specific area of my life, I found other things growing in Christ. Whether it was my marriage, our love and increasing burden for my church and community (#iheartanchor whoop whoop), and my own faith.

There are so many things I haven’t been able to comprehend about this situation.

How can I feel hopeful in the midst of news that doesn’t seem great?

How do I have a peace when storms in my life toss me around?

I can’t tell you anything, any secret formula, magic method, breathing exercises, anything that helped us…

…but loving Jesus more.

It’s inexplicable. But incredible.

We had to monitor my wife’s ovulation to take the 2nd step for fertility treatments so we could know when to go have the procedure done. We had a ray of hope when we thought there was a positive result on the ovulation test and my wife called the doctor to try and set everything up. Lo and behold the result we thought was positive was not close to the result we needed. We actually missed the moments we were supposed to be monitoring and looking for. Those are the kind of moments that knock the wind out of you. We would have to wait another month to start over and monitor and try this again.

And then for some reason my wife took a pregnancy test a few days later.

And another because she didn’t believe the first one.

I’m not a licensed counselor, or tele-counselor, Oprah wannabe, professional advice giver, etc. But when the trials in life grow and become more than you can handle there’s two things I’ve learned not to take for granted: incredible people to surround yourself with and be supported by, and a God who is faithful even if the script is not written the way we thought it should have been.

Thanks to those that are with us in the journey of life and parenting and love. You mean a lot to us.

And thanks to God for everything from the ones who deserve nothing. Who has made our current child and our child in waiting both miracles. I can’t thank Him enough.

Sean

#dadlife

ps: in case you missed our social media announcement picture – captioned “Looks like Estella learned how to read!”

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pps. my positivity jam:

Keep on keeping on.