Finding Winter

Last week, just as the last dusting of snow blanketed the ground, I embarked on a new journey. It was a different kind of trip however as I was leaving and finding winter. I boarded  my first of two flights, heading south to the grassy rolling hills of Tennessee where I would be finding Winter, our brand new white fluffy puppy.

We had waited over nine months for Winter. Once we had decided to get a dog, the process took awhile to figure out exactly what kind we wanted and when the timing would be right. With our travel schedule and busy lives, it never seemed like the time was ever right. However, a window of opportunity arrived towards the end of spring and we would finally be welcoming Winter to our life.

My husband searched long and far to find the right fit for our family. We wanted a dog that would be easy to train, good with kids and loved an active life outdoors. He found a wonderful place in the Tri-State area of Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina that breeds Goldadors, a mix between a Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever. I had grown up with both Goldens and Labs so I understood their loving temperament well. A goldador seemed like the perfect fit for our family and I loved the fact that the woman who breeds them does so on an organic farm not a puppy mill.

The love and care that Kathy takes in raising her pups is amazing. Every week before the pup was born until we finally met Winter, she sent us updates. I felt like an expectant mother again. It was so exciting! Once the puppies were born, she sent us weekly photos and updates on how the puppies were doing. She even sent us a thick manual on caring for our puppy and incorporating holistic approaches for his care.

At 8 weeks, it was time to meet Winter. I used my frequent flyer miles, boarded my plane and was off. It felt strange flying somewhere to get a puppy. It is not something you do every day. I was apprehensive and excited as it has been years since I’ve owned a pet. My kids were beyond excited as they have wanted a dog for years, always enjoying Grandma and Grandpa’s Golden Retrievers. Finally they were getting their new friend.

I arrived at the airport hotel in rural Tennessee and a few hours later Kathy brought Winter. It was love at first sight!



I will not lie trying to sleep overnight in a hotel with a brand new puppy was a nightmare. I don’t think I had a single hour of sleep. But when he cuddled up to me, bit my long hair and licked my face I melted. Thank goodness he is so cute!

The next day, I boarded the plane with Winter snuggled into his little carrier where he slept peacefully under the seat. I made quite a few friends at the airport as everyone loves puppies!

Then around 4 o’clock, I finally landed home in Minneapolis. A breathed a huge sigh of relief. I made it. It wasn’t the easiest travel experience of my life but finally we found Winter. The kids could not be more overjoyed.


Although there have been many sleepless nights since I’ve been home, hopefully it will get easier soon and I will get my life back again. It is like having a newborn baby all over again. But I’m excited for what Winter brings to our life.

P.S. I know this is not my normal subject matter for my blog however a few of you were asking for pictures of the puppy so here they are!




  1. scriptedfuture

    Congrats on your new addition! It’s very life affirming when we welcome a new pet into our family. Have fun!!

  2. Awwww. You write about your life on your blog, so this to me is completely normal. Not all trips are long and this is still a trip of the heart, just as your others are.


  3. Congrats on the new family member! Having a puppy is like having a newborn- thankfully, that stage goes by quicker in puppies. I remember sleeping on the sofa with our dog for the first 2 weeks after we got her.

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad it goes faster than kids as I am so tried!!! I forgot what it was like to be sleep deprived. Hoping he sleeps through he might soon but he sure is a sweetheart.

    • Wow I didn’t know that Debbie! It is so beautiful there. I only saw the view from the plane and didn’t have a car but the rolling greens and the mountains are stunning.

  4. Aw Nicole, he’s just adorable. And I bet when he’s awake he’s an absolute bundle of energy. I hope you’re managing to get a little bit of sleep. If you’re not, just remember that puppy days don’t last forever! Before long he’ll be joining you on those long treks into the mountains and you’ll feel as though you’ve had him forever. Enjoy it all Nicole. 🙂

    • Thanks Miriam. I’m trying to adjust to all this newness and lack of sleep. I think tonight it is going to be some tough love like I did with the kids when they were babies. He was up every hour last night! I’m exhausted! 🙂 But it will get easier.

  5. Winter is so cute. I remember my Cookie when she’s was a puppy, a crasy dog who destroy everything at home. Now ? She do the same again, but we love her very much. Great shot !!!!

    • Yes, destroy the house, the yard, and keep me up all night. But I know it will get easier as he is only 8 weeks old. He is very cute thought and always gives me kisses.

  6. I recently flew from Nicaragua with one of my adult cats that we rescued from a less than optimal environment, so I do know how stressful travel with an animal is! Of course its totally worth it! We also got our aussie as a puppy and remember clearly the first night when we tried to keep him crated ( as instructed by the breeder), but of course eventually my son let him sleep in the bed with him. Both, all of us, were happier. Enjoy your new family member! So exciting! “A good dog is a tired dog!”

    • Wow that must have been an experience Peta. I am still very tired but after one week home it is getting a little better. Just like having a newborn again at night!

  7. Looking at Winter reminds me of my girls when they were that young… Time flies. One is 12 and the other 8 this year and still getting into trouble. 🙂 have fun with Winter and make lots of happy memories .

  8. He is precious!! When hubby and I first got together I wanted a dog, he wanted cats so we got both! I wanted a golden lab but none were available so we got Goldi, a golden retriever. She was the best dog! I’ve never heard of a Goldador. Interesting! btw, I don’t usually spend so much time blogging on a Monday afternoon but am loving what I’m finding on your blog! I came home at lunch from work to continue convalescing from the latest bout with my back injury. and actually I need to get back to visiting the blogs I follow which I used to do on the weekends. Back is better so back to work tomorrow. I’ll be back though. Until then, happy blogging!

    • I love Goldens too! We had them growing up. Hope your back heals soon. I’ve had lots of issues for years. Yes it is hard
      To find the time to blog and read blogs. I feel it all the time! So thank you for stopping by! Also in case you didn’t know and were interested the TBEX travel bloggers conference is coming to Minnesota this May but it is Memorial Day weekend. Always great trips.

      • hmmm, never heard of TBEX but just googled it. interesting! but we always go to the cabin that weekend. 🙁 I spose I don’t have to go to the cabin huh? I might check it out. thanks!

  9. Mike Hohmann

    Beautiful pub. Now every time I walk around Lake Harriet or Calhoun and see a cute Goldador being walked by a woman, I’ll wonder if it’s you. I have a soft spot for all labs/retrievers and derivations thereof. I’ve had a couple and they always accompanied me on hiking/backpacking adventures… they loved it! Have fun with your new pooch!

    • Thanks! I hope to get him around d the lakes this summer. He isn’t the best in a leash yet and tires easily. But I will be there as I run or walk the lake every day. 😊

  10. Aww Nicole, what a sweetheart! I hadn’t head of goldadors before, but what a perfect combination of temperament and loveability! 🙂 I know that Winter will bring your family immense joy.

    BTW, you may have noticed that things have been quiet at Gallivance. Our travels have been (temporarily) suspended because I blew out my knee and recently had to have total knee replacement surgery. Not fun, but I’m working hard on recovery. We haven’t forgotten about our friends and want things to get back to normal. James and I are looking forward to catching up with you and finding out what you’ve been up to. In the meantime, thanks for continuing to follow along.

    All the best, Terri

    • Wow Terri that is crazy about your knee. I know from my mother in law that it takes some time to heal. She had both knees replaced a year apart but now her knees are amazing. Wishing you a speedy recovery and I’m sure you will be back having fun in no time! 🙂

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