Hello! My name is Amy Osterhoff. Some of you may know me as the Assistant Director and Science teacher at the preschool, or as that pie lady you see every year at Thanksgiving, or maybe just as that weird, rainbow-haired lady who always seems to be at the school/church. I am all of those things, but also a wife and a mom to an amazingly smart, energetic and goofy 6 year old little girl named Cassie.
Cass and I have been in quarantine a bit longer than most. On the morning of February 28, Cassie woke up with a fever and was later diagnosed with the flu. At the time, we were just sad that she was missing the school play and hopeful that she would return to school before spring break. Little did we know that the previous day had actually been her last day of school for the year. Today, as I sit here writing this, it has been over 11 weeks since she has been to school. She is an only child and has played with other children only once in that time. My husband Jeremiah is still working around 60 hours a week, so most of the time it is just Cassie and I. 
For those that don’t know me, I’m very busy, energetic, chatty, and loud most of the time. Cassie is very much the same. We are both over-the-top extroverts and things have gotten interesting in our house. The first few weeks were spent lounging around the house watching movies and waiting for Cassie’s fever to break. Then they cancelled school and it set in that we were going to be here for a longer time than we expected. Cassie was finally feeling better and we couldn’t go anywhere. I’d like to say that we dealt with it with grace and patience and understanding. We did not…. Explaining to a six year old that they aren’t allowed to be around anyone that doesn’t live in their house and that we aren’t even allowed to go to a playground is a hard thing. We were angry, restless, and sad. That’s when the projects started. We have done more art projects and science experiments than I can count. We’ve organized the house, cleaned out cabinets, painted furniture. Cassie started coming up with wild imaginary stories we could act out. We’ve had dance parties, puppet shows, karaoke jams, baked bread, cinnamon rolls, cake, cupcakes, donuts and more (we are planning soft pretzels for this week.) We have done chalk drawings, raised butterflies, had water balloon fights, trips to the creek and surrounding woods, and read so very many books. 
While keeping busy has definitely helped alleviate some of the stress of this situation, it does not fix everything. We have certainly had days where we are done and just want to go back to normal. We are trying not to focus on that though. Instead, we have decided to focus primarily on what we can be grateful for, how we can use this time to help other people, and ways that we can work on ourselves. The goal is to come out of this whole ordeal as better, more well-rounded people. It’s important to remember that we are all in different places and having different experiences, and that we may never go back to the way things were. We are staying hopeful though and trying to focus on being mindful and present. We cannot worry about tomorrow because we have no idea what it holds and have no power to impact how it unfolds. Instead we will focus on here and now. I am so grateful for the time I have been given with my daughter. While we do butt heads at times, we have had so many amazing moments that never would have happened if not for this exact situation. One of the biggest struggles that has also been the most impactful in our house is changing our mindset. “We have to stay home” becomes “we get to be safe.” “We have to do homeschooling” becomes “we get to learn so many things together.” This small shift not only changes my view on the situation, but also makes me feel more in control. If I can control my attitude and my reaction then we can roll with anything. So, while I could tell you a million little activities, or a good cinnamon roll recipe (which I will share if anyone wants it) the most important thing I have learned these past few months is this: We will never get this time back, so you can spend it frustrated or antsy or angry, but wouldn’t that be such a waste? You can change your outlook to one of gratitude and take every opportunity to slow down and live in this moment you are in. How much life have we been missing out on? I certainly can’t say that this happens every day. Some days will always be harder than others, but every moment is an opportunity to choose differently. I hope everyone out there is staying safe and healthy.
Much love, Amy & Cassie