Thursday, December 13, 2018

Weston Family 2018

December 2018

Dear Friends and Family,

2018 was a year of loss and healing. Watching my father’s health steadily decline over six years while he fought for his life, was emotionally crushing. In July, he lost his battle with brain cancer. Our family is so heartbroken in the absence of such a great man. We are so grateful for the warmth, sunshine, and smiles you bring to our lives each day, giving us faith, hope, and love.

I have so many wonderful memories of my dad. Having such a good father has made all the difference in my life. He was a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work was endless and, oftentimes, thankless--tutoring me in math and chemistry late at night, assisting with science fair projects, constructing enclosures for our mini barnyard of animals, leading us on countless outdoor adventures and more! In the end, it shows in the sound, well-adjusted children he has raised. That influence carries on to grandchildren and future progeny as well. Here is a memory I shared with my dad that caused him to laugh out loud when he heard it:

Your mantra has always been “careful and persistent effort.” One of my favorite memories demonstrating your diligence and commitment to excellence is your tackling the project of using a hacksaw to extricate the finger of our little neighbor friend, Tessa, out of the bolt lock on the front door when she stuck her finger in and couldn't get it out. You calmly instructed us to comfort the tearful Tessa, try various lubricants, and keep the swelling down with ice, as you sawed away to remove a small piece of the upper bolt to allow Tessa to slide her finger out without a scratch! To this day, the bolt is missing that precious piece and occasionally catches on clothing as we breeze through the door to remind us of your ceaseless care and concern to help others in panic situations.

Years ago I read the book, Lulu Walks the Dogs by Judith Viorst, aloud to my kids. Madeline was so inspired, she wanted to start her own dog-walking business. I couldn’t fathom adding one more commitment into our lives and didn't see how we could have a dog walking business with such a busy schedule, BUT, she is my father’s grandchild. Persistent. Fast forward five years to January 2018 and with the support of Rover and Wag! apps, we have completed over 200 dog walks, trekked over 1,000 miles, earned over $5,000, and donated 10% to animal rescue organizations. We get exercise (this is our new our new “homeschool PE” program), meet amazing dogs, and do service for pets in need--what a win-win situation! At the close of this year, I realize that this surge of physical activity and animal therapy is just what we needed to continue to press forward after my dad’s death. We are so grateful to all of our clients and their furry friends for helping us, albeit unknowingly, to fill the painful void of losing such an amazing father and grandfather to our family.

We have all been blessed to be part of Dana Allen’s life. I am so grateful to reflect many of the same wonderful attributes my dad possessed: diligent, honest, committed, good-humored, imaginative, nature-enthusiast, adventurous, persistent, supportive, disciplined, service-oriented, positive, and hopeful. He lives on in me, my mom, my sister, our children, and so on. I have tremendous love for my dad, all that he was, and all that he is, as he watches over us. I am at peace knowing he lived each day of his rich life to the fullest.

May you feel the LOVE and COMFORT of the SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, in your life this time of year.


The Westons
Abe, Janine, Natalie (16), Max (14), Madeline (12), Sammy (10) & Lucy (18 mo)

P.S. Just for fun...

The Twelve Dog Walks of Christmas
DIRECTIONS: Match each dog with its breed while singing the song.

On the FIRST day of Christmas my children walked with me: a Wiggly Yellow Labrador Puppy!

On the SECOND day of Christmas my children walked with me: 2 Jack Russells and...↺

On the THIRD day of Christmas my children walked with me: 3 French Bulldogs...↺

On the FOURTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 4 Boxers...↺

On the FIFTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 5 Golden Retrievers...↺

On the SIXTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 6 Mixed-Breeds...↺

On the SEVENTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 7 Springer Spaniels...↺

On the EIGHTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 8 Pembroke Welsh Corgis...↺

On the NINTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 9 Boston Terriers...↺

On the TENTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 10 Old English Sheepdogs...↺

On the ELEVENTH day of Christmas my children walked with me: 11 Goldendoodles...↺

On the TWELFTH day of Christmas my children walked with me:
12 Great Danes
11 Goldendoodles
10 Old English Sheepdogs
9 Boston Terriers
8 Pembroke Welsh Corgis
7 Springer Spaniels
6 Mixed-Breeds
5 Golden Retrievers
4 Boxers
3 French Bulldogs
2 Jack Russells
and a Wiggly Yellow Labrador Puppy!

Dogs from top to bottom: Sadie = Great Dane; Carter = Yellow Labrador Retriever; Lucy = Jack Russell Terrier; Martha = Old English Sheepdog; Dodge = French Bulldog; Chester = Boston Terrier; Roxy = Pembroke Welsh Corgi; Peanut = Boxer; Cooper = Golden Retriever; Hero = Goldendoodle; Aubree = Mixed-breed; Bodie = Welsh Springer Spaniel.

And a BIG thank you to the two sweet pups who got us started, Summer (Maltese, Poodle & Shih Tzu) & Mochi (Maltese & Poodle)!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Weston Family 2017: POP QUIZ!

It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things, 2 Ne. 2:11.
DIRECTIONS: Match each TRIAL with its corresponding BLESSING.

  1. Due to health challenges, Abe chose to remove all inflammatory foods from his diet.
  2. We returned sweet Kiko, the puppy we co-raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind, back to headquarters in San Rafael for evaluation and further training.
  3. Barbary Grant took a sabbatical after 10 years of conducting the kids’ East Bay Homeschool Choir.
  4. Our beloved 14-year-old Labrador Retriever, Rosie, passed away.
  5. The tenants above the rental condo flooded our downstairs unit. Twice.
  6. As a family, we cumulatively logged hundreds of hours of auditions, carpooling, rehearsals, and volunteering with StarStruck Theatre.
  7. Grandpa Dana’s brain cancer returned--it was back to UCLA again for surgery followed by another long road of recovery.
  8. New Haven Unified School District denied our Charter Petition for an East Bay Connecting Waters school.
  9. Due to excessive rain and damage to trails in the spring, Madeline, Janine, and friends weren’t able to hike the 30-mile Ohlone Wilderness Trail from Livermore to Fremont.
  10. The opossums, hawks, and raccoons created losses for Little Red Hen Ranch.
  11. For 3 days, Natalie & Janine pushed handcarts over 15 miles in 90+-degree heat.
  12. Chemistry.
  13. Max attended middle school for 2 weeks of his tweenage life.
  14. We couldn’t use the heater this winter due to a mouse infestation in the ductwork.

  1. As a culmination to the semester, she arranged for the kids to record their winter show for TV at the Studio 32 MidPen Media Center in Palo Alto!
  2. We prioritized many visits to Southern California to provide support, love, and puppy kisses!
  3. We got a cozy electric fireplace to warm our hearts and souls!
  4. An aunt with a PhD in this subject ROCKS!
  5. After earning straight As, he concluded homeschooling suited him better and recommitted himself to excellence in education!
  6. Grain-free veganism is not so bad after all!
  7. Nothing like a good ol’ pioneer experience to learn gratitude for little things!
  8. With room at the inn, we traveled to New England to bring home a feisty, canine member to our family: Connemara Terrier, Lucy June!
  9. 10 months later, we were honored to attend Kiko’s Dogs 4 Diabetics graduation as Katie’s medical alert assistance dog!
  10. We had always wanted to remodel the kitchen--thank you Farmer’s Insurance!
  11. All three kids performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Natalie played Lucy) and we’re currently preparing for James and the Giant Peach!
  12. The seven savages completed the 14-hour trek on one November day instead!
  13. Alameda County chartered Connecting Waters, East Bay and we secured a site for our resource center!
  14. Despite the overhead expenses, the kids still made a profit!

They taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good, Moses 6:55.
Answers: 1=F, 2=I, 3=A, 4=H, 5=J, 6=K, 7=B, 8=M, 9=L, 10=N, 11=G, 12=D, 13=E, 14=C

2017 Photo Albums:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Weston Family Superheroes Light the World

Weston Family Superheroes Light the World

This December our super family is focusing on following Christ’s example as we serve those around us. Just like superheroes, we each have talents and abilities that help us find a unique approach to serving and loving mankind. This Christmas season, we focus on ways to #LIGHTtheWORLD.

  • Alias: MadDog 
  • Costume: dog hat, clogs, and bait-bag filled with treats 
  • Occupation by Day: homeschooling fifth-grader, dog-trainer, chicken-wrangler, singer, dancer, actress, artist 
  • Superpowers: training guide dog puppies for the blind 
  • Weapon: six-foot leather leash 
  • Amazing Feats of 2016: co-raising guide dog puppy, Kiko; hiking 22 miles of the Ohlone Wilderness Trail from Sunol to Del Valle in a single day; taking Sammy to his first barn hunt practice; performing in Bye, Bye Birdie, Jr.; winning “prettiest” for her prima ballerina costume in the chicken dress-up contest at Alameda County Fair; and rehearsing as a sheep and Dream Chorus member in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with StarStruck Theatre. 
  • Lights the World by...donating a box full of dog and cat toys, blankets, and supplies to Tri City Animal Shelter. 
  • Alias: Class Clown 
  • Costume: ummmm...clothes? 
  • Occupation by Day: homeschooling seventh-grader, scouter, minecrafter, drummer, singer, dancer, actor, artist 
  • Powers: uncanny ability to make people laugh; also good at killing flies 
  • Weapon: sharp wit 
  • Physical Weaknesses: hot water (makes him “ow!” like Michael Jackson) 
  • Likes: when people laugh 
  • Amazing Feats of 2016: Killing 3 flies with one swat; performing in Bye, Bye Birdie, Jr.; winning “most creative” for his Hamburg-er Helper costume in the chicken dress-up contest at Alameda County Fair; and rehearsing as a member of the Dream Chorus of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with StarStruck Theatre. 
  • Lights the World by...collecting and sorting over 100 pounds of candy for Treats for Troops. 
  • Alias: Chicken Lady 
  • Costume: chicken hat, yoga pants, and combat boots, no Cape--it scares the chickens
  • Occupation by Day: homeschooling high schooler, seminary student, artist, ukuleleist, reader, author, singer, dancer, actress, chicken hypnotist at Little Red Hen Ranch 
  • Superpowers: speaking to animals, journal-wrecking, apple-eating (3+ per day), non-stop dancing at ALL the church dances 
  • Weapons: Hypnotic singing voice, bow that shoots super pointy colored pencil arrows
  • Amazing Feats of 2016: performing in Bye, Bye Birdie, Jr.; backpacking Point Reyes with Triathamom; winning “judges’ favorite” for her French Maid costume in the chicken dress-up contest at Alameda County Fair; surviving her first semester of high school; and rehearsing as a member of the Dream Chorus of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with StarStruck Theatre. 
  • Lights the World by...collecting new shoes to donate to 
  • Alias: Triathamom 
  • Costume: spandex, sparkly skirt, & trail runners--no cape as the drag would only slow her down 
  • Occupation by Day: teacher, photographer, travel agent, taxi driver, cook, event coordinator
  • Superpowers: lightening speed spin and running workouts before the crack of dawn 
  • Power Limitations: passes out at 9pm 
  • Abilities: agile, strong, flexible, multi-tasker, organizer 
  • Weapons: yoga mat & strap
  • Physical Weaknesses: dried apricots 
  • Mental/Emotional Weaknesses: takes things too seriously 
  • Romantic Interests: The Garbageman 
  • Amazing Feats of 2016: joining forces with her truly amazing friends while backpacking Point Reyes with a herd of teenage girls; hiking Mt. Whitney in a single bound; and running the Skyline to the Sea Trail Marathon. 
  • Lights the World by...coordinating community service projects for homeschool, 4-H, and church youth--see her Facebook page for more ways she has found to #LIGHTtheWORLD this month. 
  • Alias: The Garbageman 
  • Costume: latex gloves, shield that resembles a garbage can lid--no cape 
  • Occupation by Day: trust & safety for the online community, commuter, movie-watcher, dishwasher, and garbage collector 
  • Superpowers: Walking in slow motion; sleeping while driving; getting hurt without getting hurt; multitasking while listening to audiobooks; stretching without being flexible; transferring large quantities of liquid from the break room to the urinal; sitting for extended periods of time; and telling jokes that are funny because they are not funny. 
  • Physical Weaknesses: yes 
  • Mental/Emotional Weaknesses: sweetness 
  • Romantic Interests: Triathamom 
  • Amazing Feats of 2016: Supporting our family and taking out the garbage every week. :)
  • Lights the World by...assisting job seekers with the job search and application process.
Happy Holidays
The Weston family loves Christmas because of the ways it inspires us all to show even greater love for others. We are striving to be more Christ-like this Christmas season by finding creative ways to serve others in need. We urge you to join us in taking on the challenge to continue our small acts of kindness through 2017 and beyond!


The Westons
2016 Weston Family Photos

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Westons: Love, Peace, Faith, Hope & Charity in 2015

The Westons are not ones for cross words, BUT we hope you have a few minutes this holiday season to solve our 2015 Weston Family Crossword Puzzle and find out what we've been up to this past year!

HINT: before you tackle the crossword puzzle, view photos with helpful captions in our 2015 Weston Family Album.