If you’d like to start at week four of my pregnancy journey, click here!

 

Happy week 23! VERY happy week 23 for me, because I spent the whole thing with my mom and nephew!

 

Remember? They flew down to Alabama to see me.

Look how cute my nephew is, waiting for his first airplane ride EVER:

Cutest thing on the face of this planet

 

He’s so cute I could just DIE.

Not only is he adorable, but he is also smart, curious, well-mannered, and kind. He’s the sweetest child I’ve ever met. How can you not love him?!

He also smells SO GOOD. The first thing I planned to do when I saw him was sniff him.

I think baby Rucker had a similar plan in mind.

 

Before we continue with my mom and nephew’s visit, let’s get the baby stuff out of the way!

 

This is the size of baby’s hand at 23 weeks:

Baby's hand size at 23 weeks!

 

And her foot:

Baby's foot size at 23 weeks!

 

Here’s a 10 week difference side-by-side belly photo for you!

This week's pregnancy update features a side-by-side comparison of my belly size with my baby bump! 13 weeks pregnant versus 23 weeks pregnant. Love it.

 

There’s a 12-pound difference between those photos. Can you tell? I can tell, but I am the one lugging this baby-cooking machine around everywhere I go.

Sometimes, I stare at myself in the mirror and I am convinced I will be this size forever.

But then I remember that, when there is no baby in my stomach, it won’t be so giant.

I love that giant baby-cooking belly of mine.

 

At 23 weeks, baby is the size of a:

Bunch of grapes

Grapefruit

Papaya

 

I can FEEL her getting bigger. At 23 weeks, I had my first experience struggling to find something to wear. I know I have a lot of maternity clothes, but I wanted to wear a NORMAL tank top.

Joke’s on me…none of them fit my boobs/belly anymore.

 

At the end of my week-long vacation with my mother and nephew, during which I ate everything in sight and mostly junk food, I was up a grand total of 3 pounds since they had arrived. Which is actually pretty good, considering I FELT like I had gained 10 pounds at the end. It was probably all of that swimming that helped counteract all of those pancakes.

What I am trying to say is that, at the end of 23 weeks, I am up a total of 21 pounds since conception. My mom figures I’ll gain 40 overall. That seems like a decent number to me. I’d be happy with that.

 

We did the math, and Baby has to grow 9-11 more inches by the time I have her.

She also has at LEAST 7 more pounds to go. She’s about 1.1 pounds now, if you ask all of the baby apps (which aren’t actually correct, since we know that THIS baby weighs more than that).

So, Baby Girl has about half an inch to grow per WEEK, and a little less than half a pound to gain per WEEK until she’s born.

(And that’s assuming I have a baby who’s 8-9 pounds. Remember – I was over 10 pounds when I came out. Odds for an 8-9 lb. baby are not in my favor.)

Either way, it’ll be a circus show of growth down here in Alabama until October 11, so come on down and check me out if you want to be entertained!!!

 

It should come as no surprise that my mother bought lots of things for Baby Girl and for me while she was here, but I am not going to post all of them because that would require me to photograph all of them, and this post is already long enough.

 

I WILL show you what she bought me at the end of week 22 (which I forgot to post in that week’s post):

Baby swing!

A baby swing!!!!!!

I LOVE it. I can’t wait to put my little gummy bear inside it.

 

So, back to my week with my mom and nephew!!!!!!!!

 

I spent ALL MORNING WAITING FOR THEM. So did Rucker, only he didn’t know he was waiting for anything, as is evidenced in this photo:

Waiting for my family!

 

After I retrieved them from the airport, I whisked them home and then we all went to the grocery store. Then we all came home and munched our faces off.

 

Family is here. <3

 

Then we snuggled with baby Rucker.

Family is here. <3

 

The next day, we went to the pool! Here I am in my one-piece suit and cover-up.

Pool day! 23 weeks.

 

My mom says that my side profile pictures don’t do my bump justice. Apparently, it’s much larger in person.

I thought it was smaller in person than it is in real life.

 

You’ll see in the upcoming beach pictures how large I REALLY am.

😉

 

My mom did all of my baby laundry when she got here. There is something about organizing baby clothes/things that is just zero fun for me and 100% overwhelming, so I love that my mom loves to organize baby clothes/things, because she happily does it for me when she’s here.

Family is here. <3

 

Isn’t she amazing?

 

After a few days in Fort Rucker, we took my nephew to see the ocean in Florida.

Specifically, we went to Panama City Beach.

Panama City Beach

 

It was A M A Z I N G.

Panama City Beach

 

Panama City Beach

 

Oh, this trip was so wonderful.

 

The water was SO WARM, like bathwater.

And the sky was somewhat cloudy, so we weren’t too hot, which is something my mother and I appreciated.

Panama City Beach

 

My nephew and I spent a LOT of time in the water.

Panama City Beach

 

Here I am, in all my Huge Pregnant Body Glory.

Panama City Beach

 

I am large and in charge, people.

This is just what my body looks like when I’m pregnant, so I let it all hang out.

Besides, I’ve got a gigantic belly to partially explain the rest of my gigantic-ness, so all’s well in Brooke’s universe.

 

Panama City Beach

 

And the pregnancy boobs. I’ve got those HUGE boobs.

Panama City Beach

 

Panama City Beach

 

Nephew had so much fun in that ocean.

Panama City Beach

 

He and I had the ideal marine experience while in Florida, because we swam with multiple sea creatures.

First, there were these little hand-length fish the color of sand that kept nibbling on us.

We called them “nosy” because they kept following us around and pressing their faces/bodies on us. It was a little alarming at first.

 

Then, my nephew found these little clams in the sand. Can you see the little antennae sticking out of the yellow one?

Panama City Beach

We kept putting those clams on the surface of the sand and watching them burrow back in. It was hilarious. Little scuttles. I have never seen anything like it. I posted a cool video on Instagram of those burrowing clams, if you want to see them in action (click here).

 

Guess what else we saw?

Two sting rays. One swam by us, and the other did a flip in the air 15 feet away.

We also watched a horseshoe crab scuttle by us. I’d say he was 10 feet away.

And guess what else we saw?

 

SHARK.

Yeah!

 

He was 30 feet away.

I was like, “Nephew! Look! A shark!”

 

I was only 30% alarmed because of the shark’s distance from us and apparent path away from us.

If I had to guess, I would say he was at least 4-5′ long.

He was dark on top and light on the bottom.

I did see his eyes on the side of his head, if you’re wondering just how close he was.

 

He slithered (seriously, sharks move like big snakes) away from us and swam between a group of people and the shore, and this group of people was totally oblivious to his presence.

Eventually they all came to, and much like the family closer to shore, they vacated that water STAT.

 

I can’t BELIEVE we swam next to a shark. I told my nephew that we would probably never have that experience again.

 

Can you believe that?

SO COOL.

 

While we were in Florida, we feasted on the largest pancakes ever known to man. The restaurant was called “The Pancakery,” and I don’t know how anyone in their right mind could resist such an alluring name.

Panama City Beach

 

Panama City Beach

 

This is how far each of us made it through our gigantic ‘cakes:

Panama City Beach

 

I also got bacon and eggs with mine because, you know, protein.

The Pancakery

 

Here’s a fun view for you – my view at 23 weeks:

Panama City Beach

 

We had a wonderful, wonderful time in Florida, and when we returned home, baby Rucker was SO happy to see us that he climbed in the car and refused to get out.

Baby Rucker

 

Don’t worry, nephew played with him until he was back to his joyful, bouncy, prancy puppy self.

Baby Rucker

Baby Rucker

 

Just in case all of the puppy treats and snuggles and play times weren’t enough, we took Rucker to TJ Maxx so he could pick out some new puppy toys.

He used my nephew’s head as a seat on the way there.

baby Rucker

 

Can you believe they let you take your dog in TJ Maxx in Alabama? It’s like a boiling hot free-for-all down here.

Baby Rucker

 

Baby Rucker is so spoiled with love. He loves right back, though. Especially my nephew and my mom.

Baby Rucker

 

Baby Rucker

 

During our week 23 vacation, we also visited the Air Museum on base. It was really cool. Filled to the brim with aircraft of various shapes and forms.

My mom insisted I heave my giant pregnant body inside this thing:

air museum

 

We also got to walk inside a Chinook.

air museum

 

air museum

 

That bump!!!!!!!!

 

After the air museum, we went to Taco Bell, because baby needed it and everyone agreed.

Taco Bell!

 

Father’s Day passed during week 23, so we got ourselves Husband a cake to celebrate. Isn’t he cute?

Husband

 

My mom also purchased these to-die-for things for Baby Girl, because her dad is a Black Hawk pilot:

Husband

 

Unfortunately, after all of our fun, it was time to send my mom and nephew home.

 

Rucker and I drove them to the airport, and when we got home, I found him like this:

Baby Rucker

Baby Rucker

 

Isn’t he SAD?

It was like he was waiting for them to come back.

*sob*

 

I am sure you’re wondering how I felt after they left, seeing as how I had a total emotional meltdown after my mom left the last time she visited.

Well, I am happy to tell you that I wasn’t too sad.

 

Why? You ask.

 

I will tell you why!

 

Truth be told, I started out the morning of their departure in an increasingly anxious pit of despair, knowing they were leaving.

As the hours passed and their plane ride drew closer, I got sadder and sadder.

I teared up a few times.

I started to get so so so so sad that they were leaving!!! I started to just be SO SAD.

And THEN my mom told me that it wasn’t five weeks until I would see her next (for my baby shower), but actually, it was seven weeks.

 

And I just started to panic.

Because I hardly lasted seven weeks without seeing her last time. Remember? I was losing my Alabama mind just days before she showed up again.

 

So you know what that mother of mine and I did?

We came up with a plan.

 

And guess what?

 

That plan means I don’t have to wait SEVEN weeks to see my mom again.

 

I ONLY HAVE TO WAIT THREE AND A HALF.

 

YUP!!!!!!

 

After my New Orleans/Panama City Beach road trip with my girlies (in two weeks), I am going to caravan myself, my dog, my car, and one of those friends BACK to Michigan to stay for a whole week.

 

Which means that in 3.5 weeks, I will finally be able to pet those cute kitties at my mom’s house and squeeze my actual family members and smell the Michigan air once again.

And after that week in Michigan, my mother will accompany Rucker and me back down to Alabama.

 

IT’S PERFECT.

 

It’s even more perfect, because almost two weeks after that, I fly back home for my baby shower.

 

UGH I AM SO RELIEVED.

 

I am too far away from my mom and too pregnant to be happy without seeing her more frequently. Two months apart is just not okay. It just isn’t. I am not okay spending all my time alone down here knowing my mom is so far away.

 

But now I won’t have to wait that long!!!!

 

So, when I hugged her goodbye at the airport, I only had to stifle one teensy sob, because I knew I would be seeing her THREE POINT FIVE WEEKS from that very moment, and that is nothing compared to seven.

NOTHING.

 

AHHHHH I AM SO HAPPY.

 

And relieved.

The mom-is-leaving panic is real.

 

Husband even said he likes it when she’s down here with me, because then I have someone to hang out with.

I think he worded it more like “because then Brooke doesn’t bug me all the time,” but the message was the same to me: go home.

I don’t even care if that’s not what he meant, because I took the reigns and steered myself home for a week!!!!!!

And Husband approved.

 

Husband will actually like it, because he is always complaining that I am always here.

I don’t blame him! I AM always here. He can’t get away from me!! Good thing I am so cute and fun.

When he complains nicely about my constant presence, I ask him, “Well…where else am I supposed to go…?”

 

(TO MICHIGAN.)

 

He might be sad during my week in Michigan because I won’t be here saying cute things to him and being adorable, but I know he will LOOOOOOVE having an empty house all to himself.

Plus I’ll have Rucker, so while Husband might miss the puppy, he won’t have to worry about getting home on his lunch/ASAP after work to tend to the puppy.

He will have to worry about those things when I fly home for my baby shower in August, but at least he will have the house to himself before then.

 

I had the most wonderful, enriching, fulfilling time with my mom and nephew during week 23, and I am unbelievably thankful they came to visit me.

 

I was running on lonely fumes there before they showed up.

And now, my Emotion Tank is full, and I can go another two weeks before all of my best friends show up and we head out on our road trips.

And that week will FLY by, and when it ends, I’ll be heading home to see my mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Yay!!!!!!!

 

So, that was my fabulous week with my family. Both my nephew and my mom were able to feel the baby kick, which was a relief for me, because sometimes she is finicky in there. My mom said that those baby kicks might have been her favorite part of the whole vacation.

My mom constantly had her mama paws on my baby belly. I loved it. So did she.

 

And now, I will sit in Alabama and CONTINUE to grow until I can see that wonderful mother of mine again.

 

On a quick and alarming side note…guess what I discovered during week 23?

STRETCH MARKS ON MY LOVE HANDLES.

*sob*

stretch marks

 

Don’t believe that crappy picture – they are totally obvious in person.

Oh well. We knew this day would come.

 

Can you believe I only have 16 weeks left in this pregnancy?

I feel like I’m already the size of a blimp.

I grunt whenever I have to elevate/lower myself.

Shaving has slowly evolved into a guessing game in the shower.

All physical activity is more difficult. I huff and puff no matter what I’m doing.

Speaking of huffing and puffing, did you know that it’s even harder to breathe while swimming when you’re pregnant?

The pressure of the water has cut my breath-holding capacity in HALF.

I already have pregnancy-induced limited lung space, and being in water just makes it worse.

I still love swimming, though, and after a week in our community pools, I’ve decided that it’s my new favorite form of exercise.

I will be returning again and again.

I want to invest in a cheap one-piece suit to wear in the chlorine. Because my cute ruched pink one must last forever.

I just need to find that cheap suit in size XXXXXXXXXL so it fits my huge belly when I’m 40 weeks pregnant.

 

Seriously, this belly is hard as a rock and getting bigger and heavier.

I am going to continue to stay as active as I possibly can, just so I can continue to exist while being an increasingly larger balloon.

 

To help minimize my expansion, I am going to return to healthy foods, now that mom and nephew are gone.

And I will go back to working out every day.

*sigh*

The exercise break was nice while it lasted.

Baby and I need to sweat, though.

And Rucker is looking forward to resuming his walks, I just know it.

baby rucker

 

Now that you’ve made it through billions of BIG BABY bump/body (and family vacation) pictures, I shall bid you adieu!

 

Stay tuned for next week’s post, because I have another OB appointment during week 24!

 

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