Highlights from life in 2019

Hi, friends! It’s my birthday, yay (the big 3-6, folks)! And today, I’m feeling reflective, so I wanted to look back at this last year to go over some of the significant changes, happenings, highlights and learnings. Also, as always, thank you for being here and following my journey over the years.

I’m doing a giveaway at the end of this post to show my appreciation for you, so don’t miss it. By the way, this post will cover mostly the personal side, but I’m going to do a follow-up post on the business side next week.

Highlights from life in 2019

All the highlights and reflections from 2019 - by A Lady Goes West

Overview …

2019 was a pretty good year for me, with quite a few rough patches (because a year can be good overall, in spite of some turbulence). And a LOT of things changed this year for me.

For instance: At the very beginning of 2019, I had a 15-month-old son who couldn’t quite walk and was still nursing a couple times a day. Yup. How crazy is that? And now, I have a running/jumping/laughing/talking 2-year-old toddler who goes to preschool and brings his little chair up to the counter so he can stand on it and grab everything in sight, while speaking in full sentences.

In some ways, I feel like 2019 marked a year where I started to feel more like myself again. I had several years of questioning everything when I was struggling with my hormones and trying to get pregnant and pull back from fitness. Then in early 2017, I got pregnant and spent that year growing a baby and returning to working for myself after a brief stint back in the corporate world. Then in 2018, we bought a house and were getting settled, as I tried to manage being a mom to a non-sleeping baby without the help of family nearby and a husband who was gone a lot for work — like a lot a lot. But 2019 has worked out nicely in many ways (more on that below), and most of that is because of how much I love my little family …

All the highlights and reflections of 2019 - by A Lady Goes West

I definitely enjoy motherhood with a toddler more so than with a newborn, but the realities of doing such without local family is still pretty hard. In fact, there were three separate occasions this year when I was really, really sick, and I had to take care of Brady on those days, without any assistance. Dave wasn’t able to miss work events, and well, neither of my two babysitters were available. This may be a side track from the topic of the post, but those moments were low points for sure, in addition to missing my momma, because we didn’t see each other but one time this year — yuck. These “lows” are important to mention, because nothing is perfect, and I like to always bring this up, just in case you currently find yourself in a valley, rather than a peak. We all have them.  

But I wanted to break the year down with bigger highlights in my personal and family life. So here are a few things that stand out from this year …

Reflections on a few big happenings from 2019

Motherhood …

Free time: I love and need my independence. It was awesome to get a little bit of it when Brady attended summer camp and started preschool a few mornings a week.

This was huge. For the first 20 months of Brady’s life, I took care of him 24/7, and he was only ever watched by someone else if I got a babysitter for an event (that happened like three times total), if Dave and I went to out to dinner, or he was at the gym daycare and I was in the same building working out (after he was 6-months-old, of course). Wow! Honestly, Brady is a huge gift, and I love him more than anything, but I’m an independent busy-body of a person, and it was a challenge for me to be in baby-caring-mom-mode ALL the time every single day, outside of naps and nights.

I never found a suitable day-time childcare option for Brady regularly during his first 20 months, even though I could have used the extra work time for myself and for my sanity. And looking back now, I think it was fine that I did it this way. I don’t regret any of the time that I spent with him at all. But I also know that the six hours I now get most weeks while he is at preschool are so beneficial for us both.

Brady’s school year ends in May, and I’ll be sure to sign him up for a couple of summer camps again until we go back to school after Labor Day. He loves being around other kids, learning and playing with new toys too. And I love to see him grow, get his independence, learn rules from other adults and give me a chance to work on me and my stuff too. If there was ever a win-win for everyone involved, it would be this. (For Dave too, because I’m a much nicer person when I’ve had a little “me” time each week.) Not to mention, this extra time has been great for my business, but I’ll cover that more in a separate post next week.

Highlights of 2019 by A Lady Goes West

Finding my mom groove: Getting a good handle on managing my little tot of a sidekick.

You know what else is big? I feel like I’ve got a handle on all things motherhood and parenting right now. The first year, I was unsure about everything. But now, I just feel like I know what I’m doing. I’m sure things will change. And I’m no parenting pro, but we have a good groove. I LOVE hanging out with Brady right now in this adorable squishy toddler-man-hood-stage. He’s so lovable, and all I do is laugh and giggle at his cuteness (in between stopping him from hurting himself with kitchen tools and telling him no every 2 to 3 minutes).

I don’t think I did a bad job when Brady was a tiny baby, because I did the very best I could, but I just feel more comfortable right now. Some people love tiny babies, and yes, they are cute, but I like tiny toddlers. I like being his mom, and I feel like we’re doing really well together right now in our roles. (Fun fact: After writing this post, Brady threw a fork at my head that left a mark and just a few hours later, hit me in the eye with a toy golf club that left an even bigger mark. So even though we have our groove, we are still very much in terrible toddler mode at times, and sometimes I want to run away eheheh — just kidding — he’s my guy.) 

All the highlights of 2019 - by A Lady Goes West

Fitness …

My return to teaching BODYATTACK after 2.5 years off: It’s so good to be back to teaching it. And it’s okay to go through a rebuilding process, as humbling as it may be.

I’ve got to be honest, when I stopped teaching BODYATTACK 2.5 years ago, I was pretty certain I wouldn’t return. It’s too hard to get back into “BODYATTACK teaching shape” and it took me too long to get into it, also I gave up my classes in the best time-slots, and I knew that my body needed a break from so much high-intensity work. Then, after I got pregnant, had Brady and was getting my strength back postpartum, I still was almost positive that being a BODYATTACK instructor again was not in the cards for me. It seemed like too much. The choreography, the intensity, the class times, etc..

Well, I’m happy to say that things fell into place. And it happened before I was ready. I only had two weeks notice to prepare to return to teaching BODYATTACK, and boy — it was a whirlwind (even though I had been taking the class maybe every other week or so, but was nowhere ready to teach it). I struggled HARD during the first couple months of being back to teaching. And I continue to work at being as fit as I can to teach the class and model great technique. I’m not a natural athlete, so I have to work for my performance — it’s not just something I was gifted with. But it’s SO worthy of the work. I’m LOVING being back to BODYATTACK, even if it’s only for one 45-minute class a week. I do the whole workout with the class, while talking, so it’s no joke.

Also, one of my personal goals for 2019 was to get more regular classes on the schedule this year after starting out with only one, and I’m happy to say that I’m at four regular classes a week now, with one BODYATTACK, one BODYPUMP and two Bootybarres. It’s a good mix and just the right amount. And there’s a chance I may mix up that class line-up if I end up moving forward with POP Pilates too. (Point of clarification, the one BODYPUMP I have a week now is only a temporary thing for a few months, which just started, but I’ll take it!)

All the highlights of 2019 - by A Lady Goes West

Rituals and routine …

Adding a new habit with meditation: Beginning a daily meditation practice during the last 9 months of this year has been great for me in many ways.

I wrote a whole post about “What I learned during the first 90 days of starting a meditation practice,” but one of the big things I learned is that I CAN make changes. I’m routine-oriented and quite set in my ways, so I had always told myself I didn’t have time for new things. But I do! I love my morning meditations, even if some days my mind wanders and wanders. I like that it’s only 10 minutes, I get inspired, I reflect, I recharge, and I get grounded too. I plan to keep this up for as long as I can, and maybe increase the length of the meditation one day. We shall see.

My first 90 days of starting a meditation practice by A Lady Goes West - July 2019

Other big highlights from 2019

TRAVEL: We loved our trip to Vancouver and Whistler, marking Brady’s first time out of the country (and my first time in Canada), and the first time we took a family vacation for pleasure just because, and not for a family or work event. It was only seven days, but there were a lot of great memories made. Brady still mentions going on the “gondola with Daddy.” I was there too, but for some reason he remembers being on it with Dave only. He still asks to see some of the videos from that trip.

VISITS FROM FRIENDS: I want to go back and redo the visit from our besties Grant and Bre, in which we had the most fun ever, laughed until it hurt and did everything the Bay Area has to offer in just four days at the end of the the summer. It was THAT good. We also had a great time with our dear friends from Orlando, Jess and Amanda, when they visited us in the summer as well. They are the best! I’m SO incredibly happy we have good friends who make the trip across the country to visit us after all these years. It means a lot! Here’s our best boy band cover shot with Grant and Bre …

Mooitts at Viansa -- A Lady Goes West - August 2019

LEARNING AND WORKING OUT: I look forward to this every year! I took my fourth annual trip to the IDEA World Fitness Convention to hang with my blogging/fitness besties, learn a lot and immerse myself in the amazing world of being a coach. I get excited about this trip every single year and am going again in 2020, of course. It was the longest I had ever been away from Brady, but I was so busy, the days flew by. He was totally fine too, because Dave handled everything with the help of some babysitters, and they had a great time together.

Ashley and Heather at IDEA by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

CRAZY GIRL TIME: This was short, but awesome! I went on a 28-hour adventure to Las Vegas with my crazy momma friends to celebrate a birthday and get wild as only moms with a night away can. Sequins dresses, a glam squad, an adult show and all. No shame. We did it up. We’re talking about doing something similar next year, and I’m all for it.

Ashley in sequins in Vegas by A Lady Goes West -- March 2019

REGULAR SELF-CARE: Okay, maybe this is self-care, or maybe it’s not. But I found a really good nail salon and hair salon this year, after several years of trying to find places I loved here in the East Bay. I get my nails done about once a month and my hair done every three months or so, and I am happy to have great places for them both. This stands out to me, so I wanted to mention it, silly or not. And yes, I almost always get the same bright red on my nails …

Red dip powder nails by A Lady Goes West - April 2019

ALL THE LITTLE THINGS: Although the rest of these were the bigger highlights, I think it’s important to note that a lot of the great moments from 2019 were the small ones. Quiet nights at home hanging with my boys and snuggling with Rudy. Weekend lunch outings with Dave and Brady at our favorite eatery. And even watching my brother, sister-in-law and parents play with Brady over Thanksgiving on the East Coast. Life is made up of these smaller things, and I have learned to appreciate them more and more the older I get.

Califcraft family picture by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

That should do it for now! 

A big birthday “thank you” for reading the blog giveaway!

You guys mean so much to me, so I wanted to do a giveaway to show you my appreciation. One lucky winner will get a care package with a book, some Beautycounter products, collagen powder and a few of my other favorite healthy products.

All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on this post. Any comment will do. And extra entries will be awarded if you leave a comment on my latest Instagram post too. I’ll choose a winner later this week and send off the care package next week. Thank YOU for being a part of the blog! Have a wonderful day and holiday, until we meet back here again. πŸ™‚ xoxo

P.S. Here’s last year’s A Lady Goes West year in review for 2018, if you want to look back.

Questions of the day

When’s your birthday?

How was your weekend?

What’s one big thing or change that happened in your life this past year?

What’s been the highlight of 2019 for you?

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108 Comments

  1. Love reading the blog – it’s a mix of so much good stuff and I think you do try to keep it real. I’ve never done bodypump but would love to try it!

  2. 2019 was a year of good change for my husband and I and our family. He and I both had job changes (to healthier positions and companies). We are so thankful for all the changes in 2019 even if they were a little rough while going through them. We are excited to see what 2020 brings! Also, I love your blog and how authentic you are!

    1. Hi Eryn! Wow – that’s a lot for both of you to change job, and YES, big changes can be hard during the transitions, but so worth it. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and start to 2020. Thank you for reading! πŸ™‚

  3. Happy Birthday! I love reading your blog. My favorite thing is your review of personal development books. Thank you always for your inspiration!

    1. Hi Marybeth! Yay! I’m glad you like to hear about the books I’m reading — because I like writing about them. Hope you have a wonderful holiday week! πŸ™‚ Thanks for saying hi!

  4. It’s been fun to follow along this year! I appreciate reading your honesty in how difficult motherhood can be. Also loved reading that you aren’t a natural athlete; it’s reassuring to read that an instructor can feel the same way as the rest of us in class! And happy birthday!

    1. Hi Emily! Thank YOU for reading! I feel like telling you guys the real stuff is the right thing to do hehehe — no sense in glossing over everything, or it wouldn’t help. Have a WONDERFUL holiday and start to the new year!

  5. I so relate to your feeling about the newborn phase vs toddler phase! I love newborn cuddles but I absolutely love living life through my toddler’s eyes! And trust me, it just keeps getting better as they grow!

    My birthday is September 19th

    I finished my Christmas shopping

    The biggest change this year, my first baby started kindergarten ? And still adjusting to life in Utah, living & driving in snow, and doing life without family around too!

    1. Wow, Katie! A kiddo in kindergarten seems like a huge milestone for a momma, so yay for you!! πŸ™‚ I know you can relate on the family front, and it’s not easy — but sometimes life takes us on different paths and there’s still a lot of benefits, in spite of the tough stuff. Happy holidays, my friend!

  6. Thank you for all you do! I love reading your posts because I have a toddler a few months younger so it’s fun to see what’s on our horizon. Happy birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a wonderful day!! I rarely comment but I really enjoy your blog! Happy Holidays too!

  8. I just started reading your blog regularly a few months ago, and I soooo look forward to every bi-weekly post! My favorite posts are the mom, lifestyle, day to day stuff πŸ™‚ My high points of the year are celebrating my twins first birthday, starting a meditation practice and finishing my nutrition certification.

    Happy Birthday!! (from a fellow 36 year old momma)

    1. You made it through a year with twins, so you are amazing! hahah! Yay for that! Thank you SO much for reading and saying hi, Aubrey! Happy holidays!! πŸ™‚

  9. Thanks for sharing highs and lows!! Its nice to know we all go through tough times πŸ™‚

    Happy Holidays!

  10. Happy Birthday Ashley! I hope it is fantastic! I love reading your blog every AM – it is soo relateable and your awesome personalty shines through in every post!

  11. Happy Birthday! Looks like you had a great year πŸ™‚ I think it’s so important to look back and review what we did, it’s too easy to forget all the awesome (big & little) things we did. We had a very chill weekend, just what I needed. I made some hot cocoa cookies with marshmallows and we’ve finished them all… whoops!

    1. Hi Jessie!! It’s really good to look back and having a blog makes that pretty easy hahaha. But seriously, if you don’t reflect, you may not realize how far you’ve come. πŸ™‚ Happy holidays, my friend!

  12. Happy birthday Ashley!! Looks like 2019 was a great year for you and I’m excited to see what the coming years have in store for you and your family πŸ™‚

    Love that you always make a point to recognize and celebrate the little highs in addition to the big ones.

    1. Thanks for that, Liz!! I appreciate you reading and saying hi too. It’s always good to recognize the little things — they make up most of life for us. πŸ™‚ Happy holidays!

  13. Happy Birthday! I’ve enjoyed hearing about your son because my daughter was born in Oct. 2017, so we have very similar struggles and triumphs as a mom.

    1. Hi Michelle! Oh wow, yes our kiddos are quite close. I hope you’ve been enjoying the toddlerhood too — in spite of the tantrums, right? Thank you so much for reading and happy holidays! πŸ™‚

  14. What a year 2019 has been. For me, I got married and I am now halfway through my MBA program. Wonderful big leaps but I also feel it was my most stressful year. I am thinking about adding some daily meditation in 2020.

    1. Alicia! That is a LOT of stuff in one year — so I can imagine you’ve been stressed. But congrats to you for your marriage and for working on your MBA. I would highly recommend a little meditating hehe even on your busiest days, you’ll find you need it most. Happy holidays!

  15. Happy Birthday- I really love reading your blog, mostly for the reason that it is so evident how much care and thought you put into each post!!

  16. Happy birthday! I have a one year old and I feel like things with him have gotten harder but also more fun the older he gets. I’ve had full time childcare since returning to work at 8 weeks postpartum so we’ve had very different experiences and I will say that being a working mom is quite difficult – although I sometimes feel like work is a break away from motherhood and I come home refreshed and ready to tackle my few hours of momming in the evenings. But then other times I come home exhausted and ready to sink into the couch which definitely isn’t an option! Okay I will stop rambling now…! Happy birthday and happy holidays!

    1. Hi Julie! Ohhhh motherhood — I’m sure your situation is super tough being gone all day and getting ready in the morning with a little one around haaha! The beauty is that we only know what we know and we do our best with what we have. I sometimes think it would be easier to have full-time care to go off to work each day, but then I remember that things are ALWAYS harder when you are in them ahhaa. Keep up the great work, and feel free to ramble here as much as you want, my friend! πŸ™‚ Happy holidays!

  17. Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas! Both my kids bdays are right around now, too so it’s super crazy!
    Love your blog?

  18. Happy Birthday!! By the way, what’s the nail salon you mentioned finding? I live in Contra Costa too so just curious πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kim! I have been going to Lynn at Puffin Nails (near Trader Joe’s in Oak Grove Plaza) for about a year and LOVE her. The best powder dip nails. Tell her I sent ya hahhaa — I send everyone to her!

  19. My birthday is coming up in a couple weeks and this post is a great reminder to give myself some grace – and some me time. Long days with toddlers can feel overwhelming and thankless at times, but it really is the small moments through the weeks that make the memories. I’m also comforted by what you said about not loving every stage of parenting. As moms we try to tell ourselves that we need to enjoy it all and soak it all in, but it’s also okay to say, you know what, I love my kid, but this stage is just not my favorite.

    1. Hi Beth! Ohhhh yes, my friend, it’s totally okay to have feelings about certain stages and to have opinions on what you like and don’t like about being a mom. It’s not all perfect and rosy, and I get it! Thank YOU for saying hi and for reading. Keep up the great work, and YES, give yourself some grace. xoxo

  20. Happy birthday! Motherhood is an adventure, that is for sure! So glad to hear there were more peaks than valleys this past year!

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you so much for reading, and yes, motherhood is an adventure to say the least. I’m glad to be on it. Happy holidays to you!! xoxo

  21. Happy Birthday, Ashley! I’m right behind ya and will be the big 3-6 in March! March 18th to be exact. πŸ™‚

    This year, my biggest and most exciting event was one in the same. Earlier in the fall, we finally moved into the home we’ve been building for 22 months! It was lots of blood, sweat, tears, and money, lol, but it was worth it.

    And fun fact, I always have a bright red pedi, I have bright red nails 50% of the time (white the rest). My only exception is when I do black for the month of October, and a baby blue mani every July for my little man’s birthday. It’s a tradition – what can I say!

    Hope your day was fabulous and your year ahead is your best one yet. Cheers to you!

    1. Hi Lindsay! Congrats on your dream house — how cool. And I LOVE that you have nail traditions. I’m bound to copy that hahah. But usually, red is best. Happy holidays to you, my friend! Thank you for saying hi and for reading!!

  22. I love this post! My son is a few weeks older than Brady, and while he’s my second, so many of your feelings about the first 2 years resonate with me! Happy Birthday!!

  23. Happy birthday!!

    I agree with youβ€”toddlerhood is more fun than the newborn stage (and also more frustrating). I’m living in both stages right how with a 2-year-old and 6-week-old.

    1. Hi Marissa! Oh wow, yes you are definitely in both worlds. I can’t imagine a 2-year-old being too much help with the newborn, right? πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading and saying hi! Happy holidays!

  24. A big change/best thing that has happened this year has been the birth of my second daughter in March. Like you did with Brady, I had to go through the process of recovering from HA in order to get pregnant, which was incredibly hard but incredibly rewarding (your ebook was a huge help in my recovery!). Being a momma of two little girls is definitely a challenge but I couldn’t feel more lucky that I get to be their momma?

    1. Hi Erin!! Sooo happy that you healed your body and gave birth to a sweet little angel — all the props to you for making the changes to make that happen. I bet you are an amazing momma to your girls. Happy holidays and thank you for reading! xxoxo

  25. I turned 36 on 12/2! The highlight of my year was a surprise pregnancy (found out at 17 weeks!!) and then delivering our baby at home. Hearing my husband say, β€œIt’s a boy!” Will forever be etched in my mind as the most perfect declaration after that kind August day ?

    1. Hi Jenny! What a surprise that would be hahaha! Wow! That’s amazing that you delivered at home and your hubby got to tell you what the gender was — an event to remember. Congratulations to your fam!! πŸ™‚

  26. Happy (belated) birthday! It’s always fun reading your recaps because you’re months ahead of me (my little one’s 10mo) and it’s encouraging to hear that it only gets better! Like you, I’m doing it without family help, no consistent babysitter, a baby that doesn’t like sleep, and a husband that works long hours! Hope 2020 is another year of growth and positivity for you!

    1. Hi Kalena! I realllly believe that it gets better as they get older, even as new challenges occur. Sending you a LOT of love for doing this momma thing with less in-person support than you’d like. The good news is that all this does is make us stronger. Happy holidays, my friend. Thank YOU for reading!! πŸ™‚

  27. Happiest of birthdays Ashley! Loved this highlights recap and your unwavering commitment to keeping it real by also mentioning some of the lows. Thanks for all you do!!!

    1. Hi Tracy! heheh! You should totally write a blog, you don’t even have to make it public and can look back to reminisce! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

  28. Happy (belated) birthday!!! I love reading your blog and really appreciate how open and honest you are about the challenges that come up — while still being optimistic and super positive! It’s not always an easy balance to strike, and you do it beautifully!

  29. Happy birthday, Ashley!! I’ve appreciated you this year as I navigated motherhood. Thanks for always being an email away!

  30. Happy Birthday Ashley. I enjoy your blog, especially your sweet family. I am looking forward to being a grammy in early 2020. My first grandchild.
    Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family.

  31. Happy belated birthday, Ashley! I love hearing how you fit your passions into your life! I love teaching BODYPUMP too, and do a lot of writing (but as an engineering professor instead of health and fitness). I feel great that this year I came closer to figuring out how to better prioritize my life. I think it will be a constantly changing puzzle but at least this year was a good one. (Hope you’ll be able to keep up with the twice a week blogging. I always look forward to them!)

    1. Hi Molly! You hit the nail on the head that life is “a constantly changing puzzle” — don’t we all feel that way? πŸ™‚ I hope you get that puzzle put together in a better way if you need it, knowing it may need to be reorganized again depending on the season of your life. Also, yay for a fellow BODYPUMP instructor!! πŸ™‚ How do you like release 112?

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