life in the pacific north west with steph, tim, alexander and eva


Make a shortcut to the new blog!

Hi, the tumblr blog is going well. Check it out here if you haven’t taken a look yet. It is easy for me to update and I will be using it going forwards and not using this blog anymore.

Try setting up a shortcut and adding it to your ‘bookmarks bar’ or similar.

In time, ‘’ will also take you to this new blog, but that may take a little while to sort out. Thank you for reading our posts here and please come and find us at the new blog:



New tumblr blog

Hi. Although I just posted a post a hour or so ago, it had been about five months prior to that. Obviously I’m just not getting around to it as much as I’d like. The irony is that I’m fairly active online in other ways such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. So if you use any of these platforms, find me! However, blogs still have a place so I’m trying out a new Tumblr micro blog. It’s a lot easier to post things to from my phone, which is where 95% of my pictures come from these days. Find the tumblr blog my clicking here. Please let me know what you think my liking or commenting on the tumblr blog or by emailing me or leaving a comment here.

Hey, I’m talking to you!

Eva has no problem getting a word in.

Christmas is coming…

Oh wow, June was the last post. June! This is record, and not one I’m proud of. Sorry readers, if there’s any left. This is going to be a big post, obviously. We’re coming up to Christmas so it seems the right time to do a kind of annual review, or at least half annual as the last post was half a year ago! Plus the photo highlights as well of course, they’re at the end.

So June was the month we spent back in England. It was a great time catching up with family and friends but of course never feels like enough time. It was great also to spend some time in Salcombe, a small town in Devon where my parents met and I went on holiday with my family every May half term from when I was zero to I don’t know, 20? Anyway, it was good to be back there with my mum and my sister’s growing family. My sister’s son is just one month older than Eva, so it was great to see them hang out together, although they’d be a lot more interactive now that they’re both a year old. (Not that ‘interactive is necessarily what you want with two one year olds!)

We also had a day up in London while we were back – we had to introduce Xander to some of the famous buildings and places he’d only seen in books up until that point: Trafalgar Square, changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, Natural History Museum… he fell asleep on the top of a double decker bus at one point and I had trouble getting him off. Fun times!

July was moving month. Once we got back from England we had two weeks to pack – there’s nothing like time pressure. Luckily I wasn’t working, I had taken two month’s parental leave – June and July. On July 10th we moved from our downtown Vancouver apartment that we were renting to a three bedroom townhouse that we bought in Port Moody. For those of you wondering where Port Moody is, it’s at the top of Burrard Inlet and Vancouver is at the mouth. There’s a few cities in between but they all flow into each other. Port Moody feels fairly discrete though as ts focused around the end of the inlet which isn’t a river so ends rather abruptly. Our house is literally 30 seconds from the water: if you run across a four lane road. Not that we face the road. We’re on a small cup-de-sac in a townhouse development. It’s great for meeting and hanging out with neighbours. There’s plenty of other kids around and its been a great experience so far. I get the West Coast Express commuter train into work. Its a 25 minute train ride and 45-50 minute door to door, which isn’t bad seeing as I can work on the train if needed.

At the beginning of August I thought it was probably time to get back to work, and Steph was left to fend for herself in our new town. We seen to have made friends fairly quickly, and it’s been great to get to know the people at the new church we joined, Heritage Mountain Community Church.

By the time November rolled around we were feeling a little run down with the business of life so we all got on a plane and headed off to Mexico for a week. I would highly recommend this. All inclusive, snacks for you and kids any time you want them. Various pools, including a specific kids pool, the beach was right there, although the surf was so big swimming was not recommended. We took a couple of day trips to get to know the local towns but mainly our decision each morning was whether to go to the beach or pool first; that was after the omelette lady had made me another incredible breakfast of course. Mmmm…

And then December rolled round. Eva’s birthday, Xander’s birthday, and of course, as our new pastor says, ‘you can’t stop Christmas’! Eva and Xander had a joint party – I don’t know how long we’ll get away with that, but it works for now. We rented out a place called Kinder Cafe, which has plenty of play equipment and places to set up food and cake. Perfect really and everyone had fun.

Other fun pre Christmas activities have been Alexander and I heading into Vancouver last Saturday on a special ‘Santa’ version of my commuter train. It was nice for him to ride on the train I get every day. Then, once in Vancouver I took him to his first trip to the cinema to see Frozen. Apparently it is ‘super, super scary’. He wanted to leave several times but I managed to keep him there until the end. He claims he enjoyed it! The CP Holiday Train rolled into Port Moody on Monday evening complete with flashy neon lights and a ‘stage car’ which Steph and her friend Bec managed to perfectly line themselves and the kids up for so that when the side of the car came down to reveal the stage, we literally had front row seats.

So just a week left to Christmas now. We’re nearly ready. I’m really excited to play with Xander’s new toys – he reached that age, hurrah!

Check out the gallery below for a few photo highlights from the year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

More England Photos

Here’s a link to our Flickr photos set for England:
Flickr Photos of England
It will only show up with a few non personal ones unless your a ‘friend’ or ‘family’ on Flickr. Me me know if you’d like to become one!

We’re in England!

We’re half way through a month long trip to the uk. So far we’ve been to Salcombe with my family, Southampton, to see Steph’s brother and some of our friends, Wells to see Steph’s sister and family and now we’ve reached Dover to spend a week with Steph’s parents. Photos are going on Flickr. If anyone out there uses Flickr let me know and you can become a ‘friend and family’ to see all our photos. Here’s one of them, on the ferry at Salcombe.

I will also try to find a link so readers of this blog can see all the private Flickr photos.

Alexander and the Balloon

Alexander has had a significant haircut since you readers of last saw him. So here are a few photos from this weekend. The two of him with a balloon are both taken on Granville Island yesterday, where we went to the annual Ocean Cement Factory Open Day – fun for the whole family! The blossom photo was today, after church.

By the way, a lot of photos that I take on my iphone find their way onto instagram, which I often share with my twitter account. My twitter feed is shown at the bottom of the blog, but if you’re into twitter yourself, you can follow me @timcbarton.

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Quick update

So it’s been a while. Again. Sorry about that. Life has been hectic. Work has been super busy and Alexander and Eva keep Steph moving during the day.

Alexander is going to pre school Tuesday and Thursday mornings and has now just started going to a friends, who has a nanny, on a Friday. That gives Steph a much needed break for the whole day.

Anyway, I’m waiting for my pizzas to take home for dinner (sorry, cheating this evening) so had better go. I’ll sign off with a photo of Alexander at the Aquarium from last Sunday.


Hanging in There

I see that our last update was last year, and its already February. Obviously having two children to look after leaves even less time for blog updating!

Thank you very much to everyone who sent us things for Baby Eva (that’s literally what she gets called!). We do have thank you notes printed and will write and send them out soon, we promise. Everything was so much appreciated and the clothes prevent Eva from looking like her brother did at the same age most of the time.

My mum came out to visit in January, followed by Steph’s parents, whose visit was sadly cut short due to the passing of Steph’s Nan back in Dover.

For the last week we all seem to have been ill at various stages. Now it’s just mainly Steph and I. I think we must have had a strain of flu as its much worse than just a cold. I also have an ear infection for which I’m on anti-biotics (never ideal).

Hopefully we’ll all be better soon, and able to get out into the wilds. Alexander and I managed some snow shoeing with my mum while she was here and were itching to go again, once we’re all up to it.

Until next time…




2012 Family Newsletter

Happy Christmas! This blog entry is our version of an annual family newsletter and takes the place of sending out Christmas cards this year (sorry about that). However, I have a bad memory, so I’m likely going to miss out all sorts of details and get things in the wrong order. But anyway, no one wants to hear about EVERYTHING we’ve done this year. Not even me. So, here are a few highlights with a photo gallery at the bottom:

1. the Birth of Our Daughter, Eva

That’s right, in case you missed it, Eva Brooke Barton was born on 5th December 2012, weighing 3,111 grams and measuring 51cm long. She was 11 days earlier than her due date. We had the baby at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver and everything went pretty much as straight forward as you can expect. Luckily she has been feeding much better than Alexander did at a similar stage. She is a relatively low maintenance baby so far, which is good news, as Alexander is definitely NOT a low maintenance three year old! That’s right…

2. Alexander is Three Years Old.

We can’t believe the time goes so quickly. It’s hard to believe he’s not a little baby anymore, but then I guess every parent goes through that. However, it is equally amazing to watch him grow and learn new things. His vocabulary has come along a lot in the last few months, although he still sometimes needs encouragement to use it rather than just pointing at things! His three year birthday was a joint one with a friend, at a community centre, and landed up being three days after Eva was born. Amazingly, both Steph and Eva made it to the party, so all was well. Alexander also got a balance bike earlier this year, which he absolutely loves. He’s very confident on it and can ‘balance’ for long periods of time. He also appears to be destined to be a mountain biker as when he’s out on his bike he’s always seeking out the ‘bumpy bits’ as he calls them. i.e. rocks, roots, curbs, puddles, anything but the easiest path.

3. Our Summer Trip to England, Belgium and Germany

In August we headed back to England to catch up with family and friends. It was a good time, and although it involves a lot of driving around the country, at least everyone is in the south! After the tour of southern England it was time to head over to Germany to attend my cousin’s wedding. But how should we get there? Well, we drove of course. But, we took a couple of road bikes as well and my brother in law (Iain) and I cycled across Belgium (literally) on our way to the wedding. It was a fantastic two days, covering 120km per day, mainly on designated cycle paths, including along a lot of canals. Northern Belgium has a fantastic bicycle network and its very well marked. With only a list of numbers (node points) scrawled on our arms we only went wrong two or three times. And the reward at the end was an amazing wedding hosted by amazing people that I am proud to say are now part of my family – congratulations again to Charles and Kerstin!

4. Steph’s Parents Visit in March

Janet and Jonathan came to pay us a visit in March and we headed over to Vancouver Island with them, staying in a wonderful B&B just south of Courtenay. The highlight was probably snow shoeing on Mount Washington. Fantastic conditions and Alexander kept going for over an hour. A true winter wonderland.

5. Las Vegas in May

My company flew everyone and their spouses out to Las Vegas in May. I had one day shut in a windowless conference room and one day to explore! Steph and Alexander explored The Strip while I was inside but on our day together we got out of the city and checked out Red Rock Canyon and the Hoover Dam. Both fantastic places, and so close to downtown Vegas. We’re glad we’ve been there but we’re not sure we need to go again. However, if you haven’t been before, it has to be seen to be believed. They make you use an escalator to cross the street – really!

6. Summer Camping

This summer was the summer we decided we were going to become real Canadians and go camping. So during Spring we got ourselves kitted out with everything from a tent to a special box to put your eggs in. The result was we camped for three weekends over the summer and had a great time. Cultus Lake was our first attempt and the furthest away, which, on a Friday night after work, resulted in us putting up our tent for the first time in the dark. The village of Cultus Lake is a VERY popular spot, and you can see why. We had fun having picnics, canoeing and hanging out in the parks. Plus, back at the camp site, grilling burgers and enjoying a bottle of beer – maybe it was just me that enjoyed that part. Oh, and of course chopping up wood with an axe and having a camp fire, although Alexander understandably wanted to help a little too much with that one. We also went to Golden Ears Provincial  Park and camped on Thetis Island with our church small group. Thetis Island is always a highlight, every year.

And 2013…

And finally, what does the coming year hold for us? Well, firstly, my mum is coming out in early January for a couple of weeks, followed by Steph’s parents after that. I’m sure they’re all looking forward to being a great deal of help, especially looking after Alexander while I’m at work and Steph’s with Eva. After that, most of the year will be spent getting used to being a four person family. We will also likely make time for a visit back to England at some point. My sister had a baby a month before Eva, so the cousins need to meet, and everyone else needs to meet Eva! Apart from that, we will start looking for a house in a new year. We’re currently in a two bedroom apartment, downtown. We’ve always lived downtown while we’ve been here, but we think 2013 may be the year to not only leave downtown, but to buy somewhere rather than rent. We’re looking at three bedroom townhouses on the North Shore at the moment. We’ll keep you posted…

A Few Photos

Below is a photo gallery with a some highlights from the year – 57 in fact! Click on one of them to be taken to a larger slideshow view. For even more photos, have a look back through some previous blog posts, especially Eva, Charles and Kerstin Wedding Photos, Vegas Baby and April Update.