Louise and Anthony McFaulds were loving being able to spend more time with Leo, eight, and Samuel, four, with the boys climbing trees and gates and playing on haystacks in the countryside.
Anthony, 46, was furloughed from his job as a sales engineer and the family were enjoying being out in Elgin, Moray, where they moved when Louise, 40, got a job as a primary school teacher.
But in May 2020 both their kids became seriously ill with what they thought was a stomach bug - which turned out to be E.coli and caused Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) - resulting in anaemia and kidney failure.
They feared they would lose both their sons who were transferred for specialist care in the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) and began suffering organ failure.
Mum-of-two Louise donated a kidney to Leo in February after it became clear dialysis, which had helped Samuel recover, was not working.
Nearly a year after the horrific spiral began they have permanently moved down to Cumbernauld, South Lanarkshire, as Leo will need ongoing renal treatment.
The brave little boy went back to school on Tuesday on a part-time basis.
Dad-of-two Anthony said it felt like ten years' of events rolled into one as he warned parents to be aware of the killer bug which can be prevalent at petting zoos and farms.
Anthony said: "We had a picture postcard lifestyle and it just changed in a moment, what we thought was just a tummy bug ravaged them.
"We were really enjoying the first lockdown, I was furloughed for a month or two and the boys were off school, the pressures weren't there.