Friday, June 14, 2013

Keeping the Peace

our last sailing trip

     My family? I couldn't love one thing more. They're the only family I'd ever want and I consider each one of them my best friend in different ways, but we're part Italian and nearly 100% feisty. If we were a pack of dogs, we'd probably be terriers (except Scott, he'd probably be a lab). Being on a 40 foot boat for two weeks, spending every waking minute together is going to be awesome, but it is also going to be a test in patience and love. To prepare for the long voyage (and this test), I sent everyone an email with a few little prompts so we can get our little quirks and needs out in the open before we pull up the anchor. I decided to share it here in case any of you might find it useful. ~

Hello family, 

I'm getting so freaking excited for the trip! I really think this is going to be one of the best ones yet and I can't wait to spend time with you all as a group and individually. I've been thinking a lot lately about things we can do to avoid family fights and creating tension on the trip. I thought it might be a good idea for each of us to fill out this little questionnaire so we can gain more insight and understanding about each other and the things that push our buttons before we set sail. You don't have to do it, but it might help! Don't be afraid to be really honest. And feel free to add any other questions and notes.

Here's Mine:

Things That Will Bother Me:

+ Dad and Scott leaving me out of boating activities. I'm happy with my position as second mate, but I like to be involved in the experience of sailing, learning what I don't know and being a part of the boating team. Don't forget about me! 

If I am in a bad mood...

+ Joke about it or give me space (or food). Criticize me in the moment, and I'm likely to turn on you or not hear what you have to say. I know I should "let it go", "keep little things little" and so on and I like being given credit for knowing these things. I will move on in time, but please try not to point out how annoying it is that I'm feeling however I'm feeling. There's a good chance I already know it's not cool and if you don't think I know, let's talk about it when you can tell I'm more clearheaded. 

My Love language: Time 

The Love Language(s) that Speaks to Me: Words of Affirmation / Time


+ I like being given little jobs. I think it is important that during clean up time, sailing, etc. we give people little tasks that are theirs so no one feels lost, left out or blamed for being idle.

+ I think, in general, it's a good idea not to label each other as "cranky", "lazy", "mean" etc.

What I Want to Get Out of the Trip:

+ I want to feel like dad had the time of his life. He earned it and he deserves it. I want us to work as a team. I want to learn things I don't know about each of you. I want to see things I've never seen before. I want to relax and read a lot. I want to swim, surf and explore a lot. I want to try new foods and help in the kitchen. I want to shop a little. I want to see animals!

My family's response:

Scott: You're so low maintenance. 

Dad: I guess we know who's going overboard first.

Danielle: I want to see animals too! LOL!


At least everyone knows what to do to avoid pissing me off! After talking to a friend about this whole thing and specifically how it's a good idea to warn those around you when you're not in the best mood, I said "It's kind of like a rattle snake shaking its tail, advising potential victims to beware." She said "You should do that! You should bring rattles so when people are not in a mood to be bothered they can shake their rattle and let other people know. It'd be kind of funny!" 
Well guess what? I'm going to do exactly that!

What do you do to keep the peace in your family? During vacations or otherwise?


  1. Family dynamics are so hard! I love my family, too, and treasure when we get to spend extended amounts of time together. But after a few days of all of us being on our best behavior, we're tired and that's usually when something happens. It's always small stupid stuff, but then we're all so sensitive we internalize it and think that we've ruined the whole trip. During this past Christmas we were all at my parent's house. My sister was visiting with her husband and daughter. Since we don't get to see each other all the time, we feel it's necessary to spend every waking moment together to maximize our time. When I found a figurine from my childhood, my sister gave it to my neice to hold. She was only 1, and I knew she would break it. My sister had about 15 of these things, but I only had the one (since I'm the 3rd child). I asked her to give it to me, but then she didn't and guess what? The kid broke it! I'm ashamed to say I cried over it. More so just because I was tired and wasn't feeling heard. I'm a pretty easy going person, but when I don't get some alone time I'll freak out. So I've found that I usually excuse myself and say I have to go to the bathroom. Then I sneak off and watch TV. They find me a laugh about it, but you have to get some you time so that you can be happy around everyone else. As much as I'd love to be in a good mood all the time, I'm not, and that's ok. I love your idea about the rattle! A warning is perfect:) Everybody being well fed and stocked up on sleep helps, too. Have the best time!

  2. Good luck with the trip, Devon. It can be so difficult to spend such a huge amount of time with anyone, let alone family, who you are legally obliged to love. Unfortunatley, I don't have any handy trips on ensuring everyone makes it out alive; I think I'd either throw him overboard or jump overboard myself if I was forced to spend so much time (in close quaters) with my dad - I'm not sure we were designed to live together (despite 23 years to the contray). So, I applaud you for giving the trip a go, and for nominating yourself as peace-keeper, lol. I hope you have a blast; I'm looking forward to the pics and stories already :) xx

  3. That's such a good idea, I might need to do something similar. I just let things get to me and then I snap... and then I regret it/get in trouble lol. Enjoy your trip!

  4. Sounds super exciting!!
    2 weeks on a boat?
    um, I'd be in heaven if there were no bugs out in the middle of the ocean.
    No bugs, right?
    When dealing with being around family for a while, flaws most definitely come out in everyone - what not with y'all being all up close and personal.
    I think its important to have an open mind and attitude, knowing not everyone reacts to things the same way.
    Easier said than done, huh?

  5. Hilarious! I can tell you have a pretty fun family and I think it's sweet you're making efforts to keep the peace. I think I'll do the rattle thing, too. Why not? It's funny

  6. What a lovely note to your family. And your dad's response made me laugh out loud. My oldest son and I butt heads sometimes, and neither of us can just walk away, so things can escalate quite quickly. He seems to know how to make me cross. I am still working out how to deal with these moments, but trying to stay calm is definitely top of the list! Hope you all get along beautifully. I think the rattle thing could be the source of a lot of amusement.

  7. You are adorable. So smart of you to be proactive in thinking through your trip to make it amazing! I can't wait to hear all about it!! And I hope you see lots of animals. :)

  8. I love that you did this and um, I'm not sure that I would survive for 2 weeks with my family in such close quarters. We rented a house on Cape Cod one year for a week and that nearly did us in. Then again, I was about 8 months pregnant at the time and it was HOT. Probably not at my most tolerant. haha. Regardless, you are going to have an amazing time!

  9. Your family look so cool to hang around, I'm quite jealous! My sister and I bicker constantly when together so we should totally do this next time we go on holiday together!!

  10. I really like the idea of ground rules and check-ins. I know that not everyone likes to vocalize how they're feeling, but sometimes even saying that can be helpful to those who do need that kind of communication. Kudos to you for thinking of ways to make sure everyone gets along on what should be an amazing adventure!


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