Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve 2014

I’m sitting in my dining room, still a little shaky from an ill-advised juice cleanse. So in between trips to the rest room I have a chance to reflect on this year.

Me? Gained a great new job. Lost a great mom. I tried to be a good dad and a good father. I think I succeeded more than I failed. Or maybe it was even. But I’ll take even.

I have a few resolutions for the new year. Consume less everything. Yell less. Never do a juice cleanse ever again.

What about the rest of the family? Well, in maudlin HamannEggs tradition, I write everybody a little note that they can read in 2030.

Dear Eli,

You got funny this year. Something clicked in your that made you even more hilarious. Remember your wiener drawing? Remember your “Where goes a hamburger come from? Greece.” Joke? You still love being you and you love everyone and everything. I’ve said it before, but I’ll fight to the death to make sure you always feel that way.

I love you more than anyone.

Dear Luca,

You got brave this year. You somehow managed to shed that Hamann panicky gene that plagued you. You run headlong into anything and everything. You eat, drink, play and imagine with such gusto.  And yet, my favorite moments of 2014 are when you quietly walk up and hold my hand in a crowd.  You have so much love in you, buddy. It simply breaks my heart.

I love you more than anyone.

Dear Diana,

You got feisty this year. Whether it be taking down Eli’s bully, or taking down city hall, or taking down a crappy pre-school teacher, you fight for this family.  You are, and always will be, the one who holds this insanity together. I pity the person who tries to pull it apart. I’m so honored to be your husband. And as always, the reason I do all this is for you.

I love you more than anyone.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Sometimes I just sit and look at Elijah and think, “My Lord is that child beautiful. He’s like an angel.”

And then he opens his mouth.

Yeesh that place is a horror show. It’s a crazy jigsaw puzzle of baby teeth fighting to the death with his adult teeth. 

A few weeks ago Diana took the boys to the dentist and he informed us that one of Eli’s new front teeth was coming in behind his baby tooth, so we had to work a little harder to wiggle the old one out.

As the weeks progressed, the old tooth moved around his face, desperately trying to hang on. It protruded from his gums in a horrifying angle. And he began to take on a distinct rabbit/”Deliverance” appearance.

I begged him to let me yank it out, but he would scream and run from the room.

I would grab him and say, “I love you Eli! I LOVE you!” And then I’d hug him roughly, burying his face into my stomach in an attempt to dislodge the tooth. But my fat gut was too forgiving.

Over Christmas, I asked my oral surgeon brother to do the deed. His eyes lit up and he grabbed some rusty tools from his doctor bag with a maniacal laugh. Eli managed to stay on the other side of the house from him for the entire celebration.

But why ask an uncle to do the job of a little brother? In the end, it was Luca’s elbow that knocked the tooth out in a blaze of bloody glory.

Unlike Costa Rica, where the Tooth Fairy left $20 because she messed up the currency conversion, he got $4. 

Which he immediately spent on candy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

A few weeks ago, Elijah caught Diana unawares with the following question:

“Mommy, is Santa real?”

She panicked. She has a no lying policy with our sons. But she also has a no ruining childhoods policy with our sons.

She caved and said Santa was not real. I was pissed. I snidely said, “Why didn’t you tell him he’ll never achieve all of his dreams too, while you are at it?”

In retaliation, Diana decided to give the boys the greatest Christmas ever.  Our tree was so filled with presents that Eli and Luca got present fatigue half way through Christmas morning. I actually had to say, “Come on, guys. You’ve got a lot more presents to open. Don’t quit on me now.”

She also bought me the single greatest Christmas present ever: A giant furry Chewbacca robe. Even looking at it makes you begin to sweat under your pits.

For my part, I cooked a massive Christmas standing rib roast dinner, the bones of which Grover got to eat and then immediately turn into diarrhea.

I also wrote a highly personalized letter from Santa. It mentioned a recent joke Eli told at dinner and called out specific nice activities that only a fat man with 24 hour monitoring at his disposal.

It was a last ditch effort to convince Eli that maybe when Diana told him there was no Santa that maybe there WAS really a Santa and when she said otherwise it was part of an elaborate mind game that he will never truly understand.

Last night I was laying down in Luca’s bunk in an effort to calm him down from 30 thousand cookies.

Eli popped his head down from the top bunk and said, “Dad, is Santa real?”

I said, “Yes. Yes he is.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wonderfest Lost

Last Saturday, I felt guilty because all I wanted to do was sit in front of the TV like a vegetable.” So I yelled at Luca and Elijah, “All you two want to do is sit in front of the TV like a couple of vegetables.”

I gathered them and their cousins up and drove to Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest: a nondenominational celebration of Christmas and PNC Bank. No one else had this idea except for three million other families. Thankfully, Winter Wonderfest was conveniently located a mile from our parking spot.

I paid the $5 entry fee for everyone because I was feeling un-Scroogey. Once we entered, we realized you needed the $25 ticket to ride any of the rides. Which made me feel extra Scroogey.  But I could not deny these children the joy of experiencing the season’s most special tradition of jumping in bouncy houses.

After riding the Holiday Train through the land of spooky teddy bears, the kids were split on whether to stay and stand in line for the Standing In Line ride or head home and watch TV. Steve and I swung the vote to home by dragging them by their coat hoods towards the door.

I turned to the group and announced that everyone must go pee pee before we got in the car. That means you, Luca.

Where’s Luca?

I spun around counting children. Where’s Luca?

I sprung into action. My solution to finding my lost son was to stand in place shouting, “WHERE’S LUCA?” over and over again in increasingly shrill, womanly ways.

He was out of my sight for maybe 10 seconds, but I was overcome with a terror I’ve never felt in my life. The walls closed in on me, echoing my screams of “Where’s Luca?”

Thankfully, cousin Finn is a man of action. While his uncle screamed, he walked in concentric circles until he found Luca, crying near the North Pole direction sign.

Luca was understandably freaked out. When Finn delivered him to me his expression was exactly what I felt in my heart at that moment. I hugged him hard and told him, “I got you. I got you.”

We drove home and he seemed to be ok. But I needed some alone time in front of the TV.

Monday, December 15, 2014


I took the redeye home from Los Angeles this week so I could guarantee I’d be a grouchy jerk all weekend to my sons.

After a fantastic fifteen minutes of sleep, I awoke to Luca screaming down the hallway, “Alert! Alert! Huge mess in the kitchen! Caution! Huge mess in the kitchen!”

I stumbled into the room and discovered both Elijah and Luca were naked. They were both using their pajamas to mop up a massive pool of green liquid from the floor.

Eli looked up at me and said, “We are making Jell-O.” I nodded to them without a word and went back to bed.

A few hours later I went back to the kitchen. The Jell-O making had been officially abandoned, as well as the mess.

There were tiny ponds of colorful liquid all over the floor. As well as the countertop, which they shared with. every bowl we owned. That is not an exaggeration. Our entire inventory of bowls was accounted for. Each with a teaspoon or two of red, orange and lime liquid.

The scene looked like a meth lab making a vague attempt at “Breaking Bad’s” signature product. I also got the impression that this must be what a hoarder’s house must look like.

As I stepped into the kitchen, I felt the crunch of Jell-O crystals under my feet. A sensation I would grow to know very well over the course of the day. As these tiny sugary diamonds would find their way into every corner of hour house.

Instead of cleaning up, I took the boys to the big Christmas thing at Navy Pier. Where I had one of the most terrifying moments of my life.

But more on that later.