Pete and Tyson watch the helicopter ascend from the parking lot where we parked on surgery day outside of University Hospital in Denver. This was their last moment together before splitting up and heading into different operating rooms - before they would be joined for the rest of their lives by this miraculous kidney transplant.

Ah, the sweet smell of zero degrees. It kind of makes your nostrils stick together when you inhale quickly- even more so at negative 20, which is about where things were at when we rolled into our favorite state (yes, we’re biased). The thermometer had dropped, but at least the wind wasn’t blowing!

Our main objective in coming back to the Centennial State was to help out where we could when my brother Pete and his son checked into University Hospital and Children’s Hospital, respectively, to undergo a kidney transplant. Tyson has had the short end of the stick since before he joined us here under the sun’s golden rays- his kidney issues were known and surgically addressed in utero. Now, he was set to receive the greatest gift his own Father could give- a part of himself. The surgeries went better than expected. The carefully timed surgeries allowed Peter to be almost done before Tyson closed his eyes, and ended a few hours later with the Urologists announcement that the kidney was making pee before it was completely hooked up! Good news continued to come to University (where we stayed with Pete) from across the parking lot at Children’s: lab values falling into place; Tyson tolerating pain, watching Bob the Builder; up and walking; etc etc etc. Pete also did his share of good by following Doctors and brothers orders and not doing much for himself except walking. I don’t recall talking so much about pooping since we had our first child. Of course it was comfortable for me, since poop is a popular vocab word for RVers…. But it was strange encouraging the surgery patient to do the business that meant things were running normally. Aaron (youngest of 3 of my brothers) and I alternated staying the night and day in the hospital with Pete. His wife had her hands full with Tyson across the street and it gave us a good excuse to have hours of quiet, or meaningless/invaluable chit chat with Pete. They both were released on schedule and headed home for recovery in their mountain home. After a few days the family let us go home and began the rest of their lives with a spunky, lively, bright eyed, weight gaining playful 2 year old (and recovering father). I’d say the procedure exceeded my expectations for Tysons outcome- and was clearly an outcome in the grace of Gods supervision. Thanks for the prayers.

Everyone in the family pitched in- from watching Grace to hustling firewood, to playing with Tyson on the floor or watching Bob one more time or making dinner, or saying a prayer before bed. 

Bussie is not allowed to be parked for more than a week without exercise. This trip took us up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a peek at the windswept Continental Divide and Longs Peak.  AH! It feels good to be driving the bus.

So why are we still here? Taxes, scouts, cold weather, busy work around the house. The washer and dryer that conked out as we departed in August? Replaced. Taxes for 2 businesses and a big family? ALMOST done. Scout merit badge coming up Monday; minor repairs and home organization are about wrapped up- and we’ll be underway next week. We hope to stop in Denver on our way South & East to say Hello to our Florida cousins- just before heading for Florida!

Kelly made a good point when she commented that we'd tried things in every state and city that we visited- but here we are in Colorado- and some of the kids have never skied! We visited Eldora Mountain Resort and took advantage of a perfect, short sleeves type of winter day for lessons and pain. The pain you see, came during the course of a snowboarding lesson for old men. Oh my gosh I'll never be the same.

School shall not be interrupted any worse than usual- and during a break from Trevor and Laurens Biology dissection- the little kids took a look at the inside of the 12" earthworm. Makes them want to be in science!

The excitement is building- as we prepare to tackle the next leg of ourBigtrip as experienced, comfortable and efficient RV travelers. (ha!) Shooting for a Tuesday start; time will tell all.