*wipes the dust off the monitor* Hola! Its been awhile. Like ..a WHILE. If youre old like me, you may remember a few TRs from several years ago detailing much drinking of cocktails amidst playing of nerd games. You know, like Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne and Agricola and oh, wait, maybe you dont know. Better left unsaid, I guess. Since 2008 or so, however, Ive been mostly absent. Why? Because of THIS: Oh sure, shes cute and all. But she sucks up free time as if it were a pack of fruit snacks. Berry flavored. So Ill back up just a moment. I am Erica. 37-year-old self-professed geek. Occupational therapist by day. Occasionally employed (and sometimes even paid) freelance writer. Mom. Which feels strange to say even now, nearly three years in. My hubby is Lionel, a 40-year-old technology teacher who sucked me into his world of geek about 12 years ago. We were set up by mutual friends, and have pretty much been inseparable since. I used to be a nice, mostly normal girl. And then he introduced me to board games, sarcasm and the art of the cocktail. Weve been married for 8 years. About three years ago, we were blessed with our little geek-in-training. Isabelle, known to most as Izzy. Like Daddy she is tall and loves to talk. Like Mommy, she is detail oriented (she lines up her magnets on the fridge, and likes to organize her crayons by size .shell graduate to color-coded excel spreadsheets before her 4th birthday). Weve been exposing her to Disney since before she was born. In fact, her first trip to the Magic Kingdom took place about two months before she was born. She doesnt play favorites she has equal love for princesses, fairies, Pixar and Mickey and pals. The three of us at Magic Kingdom last month: Our first cruise was in 2005, and weve been cruising yearly ever since. Izzys first cruise was in 2010, when she was just 10 months old. This trip to Alaska will be number 9 for Lionel, 8 for me (I was too pregnant to attend a friends wedding on the Wonder in 2009, Lionel subbed for me as a bridesmaid. True story) and 4 for Izzy. A word about me: like many on the DIS, I am a crazy over-planner. At the same time, however, I am not a person who books up the entire vacation or follows a strict fun schedule. I describe it like this: if Im spending money on the vacation of a lifetime, I want to do so with no regrets. Therefore, I will research every potential excursion, complete recon on all of the ports and leave no stone unturned when it comes to making the most of our time in Vancouver and Alaska. I try not to go too crazy when plans change at the last minute. Which, lets face it, ALWAYS seems to happen. If youve made it this far, be warned: you are about to embark upon 10 months of crazy. During this time, I will post color-coded spreadsheets, bargain bin finds, packing lists (and possibly diagrams more on that later) and probably a few crises which will be in no way TRUE crises, and more like decisions over formalwear and possibly my daughter outgrowing the perfect shoes. We cruise June 17, 2013. Supporting cast: Mom and Dad. My parents are coming! Dad turns 60 in 2013, and Alaska is on his bucket list. After seeing our pics from 2011 he thrilled us by choosing the Wonder as his means of transportation. They have been on the Wonder once before, in 2010, for Isabelles first cruise. Karissa, Brian and Liam. Weve known Karissa and Brian since we went through puppy class with our practice children together back in 2005. Weve since discovered that disciplining human children is shockingly similar. Liam will be almost two when we sail. We cruised together on our mini Dream vacation earlier this year (their first Disney cruise) and they enjoyed it so much, they joined us at the Alaska booking desk. Stefanie, Jason and Paige. Paige is Izzys little buddy from preschool, and we are fortunate to not only like her parents, but to also have similar senses of humor and interests. We regularly hit the Disney parks together as a family (and sometimes sans kids), and after some minor coercion tactics they agreed to join us as well. This will be their first Disney cruise. So now we get to celebrate my Dads milestone birthday in style, hang with some of our best buddies, and my parents get to see what life would be like if they had two extra grandkids. Because theyre not getting more from us anytime soon. Next up: 50 pound limit my hiney! You try taking a 3-year old to Alaska for a week!