Photo of the Day: Arlington Window

One of the things I love about living in a high-rise apartment building is the play of the light across the cityscape. On this day, the shifting clouds gave us an ethereal little light show whose pattern may never be replicated. But seeing it once was special, and I’m grateful to have had the chance.

Exploring Georgetown

On Sunday, I took Caleb and Joshua to explore Georgetown. I promised magical staircases and secret doorways, and Georgetown delivered beautifully. We descended the stairs made famous in the end of the Exorcist (a story I omitted to tell the little boys), explored the campus of Georgetown University, and spent a lot of time walking along the riverfront.

There were a few too many people to be comfortable during a pandemic, but we kept our masks on and kept to ourselves.

The highlight for the boys was finding a labyrinth in the park. A labyrinth is supposed to be an Irish tool for spiritual reflection, but the boys had enormous fun playing with it as a maze. We even encountered a breakdancer who danced for us in the middle for a few moments.

At the end of the day, though, all the boys wanted to do was find a playground. We stopped at an empty playground by a church on the way home, and they were perfectly content.

The whole day reminded me that small adventures are still adventures.

The 3rd Battle of Winchester

Sometimes, Mom needs some quarantine quiet to get a little work done. What’s a housebound dad with few connections to do in the middle of a pandemic in rural Virginia? Take the kids to see Civil War battlefields, of course! I found the location of the 3rd Battle of Winchester and took the kids to see it this evening. It was good exercise, good time together, good to honor our past, good to connect with nature, good to slow down.

New pictures of Liam and Clara!

They’re both growing so fast! Here are some pictures of our little walking girl and our little playful boy.

Liam is so playful these days, and is starting to see play as a worthy activity in itself, instead of something you do out of curiosity.  That’s really fun, until play time is over.

Clara is getting more fun all the time!  She loves to eat, and she really likes clothes.  She loves to put on shoes, hats and jackets.  Here are a few pictures from our most recent studio session with them!


Daddy (Andrew)

All Clara, All the Time!

So, our blog used to be the Andrew and Lisa blog. (Hence the url,*) Then it turned into the All Liam, All the Time blog. I guess Liam still makes the occasional cameo, but now we’re into All Clara, All the Time mode!

Today’s special feature on Clara includes the ADORABLE christening gown Grandma Mitzi made for her dedication this Sunday. Lisa and I had lots of fun taking these pictures while Clara jabbered at us and threatened to fall off her various perches.

Enjoy the pictures,

*Incidentally, you can also reach us at, if you prefer.

Thanksgiving 2009

We’ve had a nice Thanksgiving this year. We have a lot to be thankful for: close family, clients who are willing to keep supporting our photography habit, (mostly) healthy kids, and 4 good years with Maggie before she passed away. I realized when I was going through her pictures that I haven’t been taking nearly as many personal pictures lately as I did before. Here’s part of my attempt to rectify that.

Liam had a Thanksgiving feast at Chapter One on Wednesday. I took a little time off work to go over and be with him. They dressed the kids up as little Indians and Pilgrims and fed them a nice Turkey-Stuffing-etc. meal. Liam, dressed in a cute little Indian headdress, ate his cranberry sauce and a roll, and that was pretty much it. He didn’t discover until Thursday how good mashed potatoes can be, and veered away from anything that looked like meat. When the pumpkin pie was served, he just ate the whipped cream (with his fingers, I might add!). I stuck around and took a few pictures of him playing on the playground. He’s so imaginative these days! He walked over to a little girl who was playing store and placed an order, went through the whole transaction, and picked up his item (whatever it was). He’s very fun, and his imagination reminds me to have fun and play once in a while.

That evening we went to Papa and (Mayor) Oma Fast’s house for Zwiebach and faspa(sp?). Below are a few pictures of us playing at their house.

Thursday we went to Gail and Larry Harder’s house for a Fast-side Thanksgiving meal. I had to take the kids home for their naps right away, but we still had time for a little eating and came back after nap time for more fellowship. The pictures from Gail and Larry’s house are all of Clara, who happened to be sitting by the window where the light was good.

I hope Thanksgiving was great for all of you, Shinn-fans! Enjoy the photos.

Clara at 11 Months

She’s growing so fast! Our little Clara is getting to a really fun age. She’s much more interactive – talking, laughing, and giggling a lot. She can say both ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’ now, and she’s clear on which one of us she wants at any given time. She’s still a pretty easy-going little girl, and not much rattles her. It turns out this is a very good quality for a second child to have! Her brother Liam loves to play with her, talk to her, climb into her crib in the morning, and generally play round. He’s one of her favorite people, but he is a little bit rough with her at times. We’ve tried teaching her sign language, but she hasn’t used anything but ‘please’ yet. She’s modified this sign to fit her preferences, and she does this sign with a circular motion of her hand up on top of her head instead of on her chest. Her hair sticks up on top of her head, which is cute and a little funny-looking. She goes to bed pretty easily. All we have to do is lay her in her crib with a pacifier and a blanket, and she puts herself to sleep. Liam STILL hasn’t mastered this art, though he’s getting better. Clara has two cute little teeth on the bottom of her mouth, which she uses to chew cheerios and anything else we give her. She does’t like to be fed, but will eat without hesitation (or notice, apparently) if she has something in her hands to work on or play with. We’re enjoying every stage, and especially this one. Enjoy the picture below, taken by Lisa and Rachel in the studio last week.

Break Time

Yesterday morning we went on a walk down the street–Liam on his scooter (with his helmet, of course), Clara in the front seat of the carriage and Maggie running alongside sniffing at smells that wafted her direction. It was quite a long even though we only went to the end of the street and back. By the time we got home, it was time to cool off and have a break. Liam wanted to take a break with his sippy cup of milk and his sandals close by. He also really wanted to be in the picture with Clara. He is a funny boy!

The picture of Clara by herself is the first time she held the sippy cup by herself. She was so proud of herself.

Her little personality is developing and it’s fun to watch the things she gets excited about, the places she randomly decides to stop and play, and her reactions to Liam. She’s learning to be patient with him when he takes the thing she’s playing with and Liam is learning how to have a toy ready to trade when he wants to take one away from her. Oh, the bumps and happy times of learning how to share!