I only took one picture today, but it sums up what we were working on: the ice castle. It is the project that never ends. We worked for about an hour and a half in the morning, and then another two hours in the afternoon. In the morning, there was grumbling and kids wanting to stay inside. At lunch, we had a talk. I reminded them of our enthusiasm for the ice castle building during the weeks that we were collecting cartons and the first few days of building. It’s true that we’ve been working at it for a long time now, often morning and afternoon building sessions, and I’m also losing steam. But I asked them what the alternative was. We give up? And forfeit all that work that we’ve already put into it?

We only have a couple more weeks of winter left—if we’re lucky, a few more weeks to enjoy the ice castle before it melts. They wanted to do other things, namely go swimming. But in addition to the lesson of perseverance and seeing your project through to the end, there was also the lesson of everything in its time. Soon enough, we will have nothing but hot, sunny days to go swimming. But now it’s winter, and our time to enjoy the pleasures of this season is coming to a close. Not to mention, it was a gorgeous winter day, mild and sunny, a day that begged kids and adults alike to be outside and breathe in the fresh air.

So we went back out after lunch. I had invited a few families over to help us this afternoon; so every time we heard a car door slam or footsteps in the snow, the kids raced to the front yard. Unfortunately, false alarms every time. But we kept at it, the four of us, and then the three of us after Leila went inside and put herself for a nap. We set ourselves a goal of putting up all the ice blocks that were on sleds under the Tempo, and we did it. There was a lot of singing, a lot of laughing, tipping into delirium before we finally called it quits and went inside. Rosy cheeks and hearty appetites. Wet mittens and boots in slushy puddles. Steamy tea and toothy smiles. February as it should be.

And in case you’re wondering—no, we’re not done yet. But we made a lot of progress, and I have real hope that we’ll wrap this project up this weekend.