Monday, December 31, 2012

{Dreams with Deadlines: 2012 Overview}

Hello Everyone!!!!!

Happy New Year to you! :) I hope you are all out enjoying yourselves. I chose to stay in tonight so I can get to bed early and start 2013 with a bang!

Looking back, I am so thankful for all of the opportunities 2012 has given me.

January 2012: Gold's Gym Midwest advertisement

Gold's Gym Midwest advertisement
I started off my year with a surprise. I received a phone call from a friend and they told me I was in the new's paper. As soon as I got my hands on one I was so excited. I couldn't believe it. It was exactly what I needed to kick-start my year. Last year around this time I was kind of in a fitness slump, so seeing myself in an advertisement for the gym that I worked out in was a huge honor!

As the month went on, I saw the picture on several news papers, on website banners, and even on some Gold's Gym facebook pages from clubs in MN.

February 2012: Oppermacher athletic apparel

I was contacted by an apparel company located in WI and they made clothes to represent WI sports teams. They asked me to model for them. It was very cool receive workout clothes that I could wear and represent with honor.

Sweet clothes from Oppermacher :)

(Little did I know....they would make me my own clothing line!!! Stay tuned in 2012!!!!)

Sara Jean Fitness: INSPIRE  (Stay tuned!)

March 2012: Mizz Limbo

I had the opportunity to continue my practicum placement when I began student teaching in January. I absolutely loved everything about that experience. The students were simply amazing, and I made a true friend from my cooperating teacher Mrs. S. That school will always have a special place in my heart because I learned and grew as an educator. I can't help but smile each time I think of my 22 second graders.

My friend, mentor, and cooperating teacher, Mrs. S

To this day, some of my second graders, who are now in third grade still call me up and write me letters to see how I am doing. It makes me so happy to know that I made a difference for them.

April 2012: Showdown

I was excited for to compete in the showdown because it is always nice to see all of my friends again. A year ago I met 3 amazing women who are now very close to me. Every show I have competed in, I have taken something away from the experience. The Fox Cities Showdown always holds a special place because it is here in 2010 where I saw my brother, Josh compete for the first time, and I was motivated to change my life and pursue a passion for fitness.

1 Year Anniversary :)
 Even though I did the worse at this competition, I will never forget what it taught me, and the fire it ignited for what was to come.

Bikini Barbies <3

Post Showdown Sushi with my favorite girls!!!! :)))

May 2012: UWSP Graduation

May 2012 UWSP college graduate!!
  Woot! Woot! It took 5 years, but I did it :) I was so proud to graduate from college. I loved everything about being in Stevens Point. It was an amazing place to grow into the woman I am today. I learned so much about myself, and have come a long ways in every aspect of my life.

June 2012: MN State Championships: BIKINI B Winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bikini B Winner! Goal; Accomplished

This will always be one of my most memorable events from 2012. Ever since I started competing in the NPC, it was always a goal of mine to win my class. I was very unhappy with how I looked at the Showdown, so I knew I had to make a change. I called a good friend, Laura Gutilla, after the Showdown, and she talked to me and agreed to coach me for MN State. I was never more determined in my whole life. I worked so incredibly hard and put countless hours in, striving for perfection. My friend Lori Schopf was also an amazing support during this time. She helped me with the most important details to ensure I was ready to rock the day of the show.

Lori and Baby biggest fans and supporters

I love the feeling of being on stage. I can feel myself beaming. It is like I have finally found where I belong and what I am truly good at. That moment when I was on stage, as the announcer called out the 5 top winners, and gave out trophies one by one...I could not believe when it was down to the final two. When they said "Minnesota State Champion Bikini B Winner Sara Jean" tears filled my eyes and so many emotions ran through my body. I did it! I did it! I was so incredibly proud.

Even though I did not win the overall, it was still an amazing experience to be on that stage. That will be a goal for next year! This show was unforgettable. I am so thankful for the friends I was able to share the day with, and all of the new ones I made that special day.

July 2012: Summer

My first classroom!

I really enjoyed my summer and made the most of it. I had the opportunity to teach summer school in an amazing school district. I was so first official classroom...even if I was going to be teaching math to 5 different grade (for those of you that know we well...math is not my strong point!)

Ready for another adventure

I also took every opportunity I had to go back to Point, and visit Mrs. S. We some good miles on the kayaks. I will never forget the stories she told me, and the lessons I learned from her. She is an amazing woman, and I am so thankful to have her in my life. She will always be one of my closest friends.

Barlean's Organic Oils

I also was offered my first sponsorship, Barlean's Organic Oils chose me to be a brand ambassador for their amazing company. It is such an honor to be working with them. I love their products, and they are truly helping me on my fitness journey!

August: FitPro Milk Sponsorship

FitPro Milk
 I was so honored to accept a sponsorship with a new and growing company, FitPro. I love love love FitPro. It is gluten free and lactose free and made with all natural ingredients. I have the opportunity to do demos at the gyms in WI. It is a lot of fun promoting this amazing product. It is a phenomenal company, and big things are sure to come in 2013! Stay tuned!

September:My Little Princesses

I was not hired full time for my own classroom for fall, but that is okay. I was very thankful for all of the extra time I had to spend with my sister and nieces. I am very close with my family, and after being away at college for so many years, it was nice to have the opportunity to make an impact on their lives again.

I love my little princesses :)
I had the opportunity to volunteer in my nieces classroom, and attend one of her field trips. It was a lot of fun. I love spending time with my little princesses.

October: Mizz Limbo is back!

Halloween in 2nd Grade: Clay and Mini Clay :)

I received a phone call from Mrs. S, and she asked me to take over her classroom immediately because she had to take a leave of absence. She told me she believes in me, and if anyone can do it, its me. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go back into that classroom were so many memories were made. My former second graders were thrilled to have me back in the school, and some of my former students had siblings in my current class. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces.

{My Team}

 This was a very challenging assignment, but I am very, very proud of what I accomplished while I was with those 23 second graders.I had students that would not even open a book or stay at their seat when it was time to work, and at the end of my 6 week placement, they were writing and illustrating stories, reading chapter books, and participating in discussions. It was an amazing transformation.

<3 I'll never forget the memories that happened through those doors <3
I never thought I could become so attached to not only a classroom of students, but an entire school. Tears filled my eyes on my last day of this subbing assignment. These students will forever be in my heart.

This was a very special time for me in other aspects as well. Mrs. S and her husband invited me to live them while I taught in her class. It was so nice to have more time together to laugh and make memories. Their home will always be like a second home for me.

Home Sweet Home
For those of you that know me, you will also know the relationship I have with my college gym, and everything that makes it special. That gym built me into the strong, independent woman I am today. The people in there are some of my closest friends, and it made me so happy to see them again. Thank you for making a difference :) {You meat heads all know who you are ;) }

November: Building the Future with Miss Amelia

If you knew this little girl, you would dedicate a month to her too. She is one of my former second graders. She is the most amazing, sweetest, most down to earth little girl I have ever met. When I moved back to Point, she was so happy. She contacted me all summer long when I was back home, and asked me every week if I got a job.

Every weekend while I worked as a long term sub in my classroom, we would go on little adventures. I introduced her to sushi, and we would go hiking in the woods, and she even came to my favorite gym with me once. We can all learn a lot from little Amelia. 1. Appreciate the Little Things. 2. Smile Everyday 3. Everywhere you go, SHINE

December: Never Ending Opportunities

My new classroom for the next 16 weeks :))
I started my 16 week long term sub job in a second grade class in the same district I taught summer school in. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I am loving every minute of it. I have never worked in such a supportive, kind, encouraging work environment. It is simply amazing. I cannot wait to see where this journey takes me. I am looking forward to working with my 25 second graders these next upcoming months!

I never thought so many amazing things could happen in one year, but I truly believe 2013 is my year to shine. Many have asked what my "resolution" is for 2013. I do not believe in resolutions because they give you an option to give up, and that my friends is not an option for me. I do not have resolutions, I have dreams with deadlines, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for me next!!

Thank you everyone for your never ending support!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
<3 SJ xo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

{Inner Strength}

Hello Everyone!!

It has been a long time since I have written, and I apologize. Life has been a bit crazy, and I am finally overcoming my struggles. The last time I wrote, it was the end of summer, and I did not get hired for the school year to have my own classroom. Even though that was unfortunate, I am really enjoying all of the opportunities I have experienced while subbing. It was really great to go back to Point for a while, and teach in the second grade room I completed my student teaching assignment in. I was given responsibility of 23 second graders for 6 weeks. Those kids were great, and I really miss them. It was amazing where they started, and how far they came in the time I was their teacher. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. That school will always have a special place in my heart, because it is where I was able to learn and grow as an educator. Being in Point will always have a sentimental value to me as well. There is just something about that town, the gym, and the people there that always make me happy. It is, and always will be a second home for me.

I am back home now, and I have been subbing in a great district here. I am going to begin another long term assignment any day now. I am going to start any day now...just waiting for the teacher to have her baby. I have met the students a few times, and I am so excited to have 12 weeks with this group of 28 second graders. I am sure I will have lots of stories to share :) In the mean time, I have had the opportunity to sub in a wide range of grades in a few other schools in the district. My fingers are crossed that it turns into a full time job for fall :))) Please keep your fingers crossed as well!!! Thanks!!

The reason I have been MIA for a while is due to some obstacles I  have overcome. Now I am not trying to be the Taylor Swift of my blog, but I was seriously in the worse relationship of my life. I have never met anyone so controlling, manipulative, and emotionally abusive. I am not saying this to bash that specific person, or to ask for sympathy, but I am really blown away knowing how many women are in relationships like these, and suffer the same wrath. It is really unfortunate. No one should be telling you how to live your life. It is YOUR life. You only get one...make it amazing.If you are in a relationship like this, walk away, and never look back. It is seriously the biggest weight off your shoulders, and it feels amazing to be able to breath again. I was literally forced to do everything under his command...and if I did not was not good. I was controlled in every aspect of my life from who I talked to, to if I was allowed to do cardio after my workout, to the food I ate. It was absolutely ridiculous. I cannot believe I put up with it for as long as did, but I honestly felt trapt. It was the worse feeling ever. Never let someone control you. Never let someone abuse you in any form. It is completely 100% unacceptable for anyone to treat another person that way. Most people see me as being positive and happy every day for for the first time in a long time, I walked around with a giant cloud over my head and could not get past it.

I am still trying to rebuild myself. Every day gets better, and I am feeling better about life. Now that I don't have someone holding me back, I am giving 110% in the gym, and leaving satisfied every time. I really focus every movement and isolate my muscles. I feel like I have really taken my training to a whole new level ever since I competed at MN State. I feel so much more connected to everything I am doing. I feel like when I first started training, I loved it regardless, but I didn't really take full advantage of what could be accomplished during a workout. I am really proud of how far I have come, and looking forward to the changes I can make for the 2013 season.

 I started doing cardio post workout back in October to help keep my "off season" under control. I was doing incline on the treadmill or intervals on the stairs. I decided (perfect timing now that its freezing and there is ice and snow ha) but I decided to start running outside again. It feels so amazing to do it. I forgot how much I love that free feeling I get when I am out there. I throw on my hoodie and head out in the dark. At first it is hard to breath because the cold air chokes you, but then I just get use to it by the time the first mile passes.  It is the second best feeling to being in the gym. I love being alone with the pavement in the dark. The snow reflects light and guides me every step of the way. I decided every day I am going to go outside and run, and if it snows, and the sidewalks and roads are covered, well then I will just shovel my heart out :) I owe this to myself. I deserve to be healthy and to take every opportunity I get to capitalize on it.
I am really looking forward to the opportunities 2013 has for me. Every year on my journey, life gets better and better. I cannot wait to see what in store for me next :)

Thanks again for all of the support, and remember, you deserve the BEST.

Have a great night-
SJ xo