When Dan and Michelle Hamill introduced viewers to life with their three adorable kids — big brother Jack and twins Cate and CeCe — in February, it was little surprise that folks promptly fell head over heels for the Annapolis, MD, family, all of whom were born with achondroplasia.
Now the Hamills and their charming TLC unscripted series, Our Little Family, are back for Season 2 with a fresh batch of fun. Summer vacation has arrived for Jack, the girls are cherubic (and potty trained!) chatterboxes and new adventures await.
We caught up with Dan and Michelle last week to talk Season 2, now airing Tuesday nights at 10/9CT on TLC.
Channel Guide Magazine: Congratulations on the new season. No surprise there! Still, were there any lessons learned as you filmed Season 1 that you applied in Season 2?
Dan Hamill: There was nothing that got shown in the first season that we didn’t really like. It didn’t make us put on filters.
Michelle Hamill: We just did little things. For instance, when it came to Jack, he’d go to school all day, so we’d put a time that he had to stop shooting. They wanted him to shoot after school and he had to be done at a certain time just so he could be a kid and play or watch TV.
Dan: When school’s in there’s not much time between after school and then dinner and then homework and then bed and all that.
Michelle: We made sure that he was done at a certain time, so then that way he would still have time to do what he wants to do.
CGM: That’s exactly what I meant — if there were times that you knew the cameras were going to be a little less welcome than others.
Dan: Anything in life, I guess, is about balance. You’ll be doing some mundane family thing, and one of the girls, for example, will do something really cute. Half your brain will go, “Oh, I wish we were shooting right now.” Then the other half will go, “Oh, I’m glad we’re not, because I’m glad we get certain memories and certain things that weren’t shared.” We shared a lot; we just don’t share it all.
CGM: On the flip side, are there moments that were capture that are particular favorites from season one — things that you look back on and go, “Gosh I’m glad we had that on film”?
Dan: The kids still go back on the DVR once in a while and watch stuff, sort of like home movies. They love the Halloween episode. They probably put that on most. But it’s all, I think, really good overall. They did a really nice job. Every episode so far, there’s been one or two moments that make it for me.
CGM: At what point did you realize that people were recognizing you from the show — not just knowing you as the Hamills from around town?
Michelle: The show stopped airing the end of March, I want to say, and we went to North Carolina to visit friends. It’s an eight-hour drive, so we stopped for lunch, we stopped for gas and things like that. When you’re in a different state and you’re out of your little area and people recognize you, that’s when it became real that people knew us from the show.
Dan: People in our area, they’ll say hello or they’ll nod hello. But when you go outside of that, then people are more shocked to see us there. Then they’ll come up. It’s kind of an interesting dynamic.
CGM: Are the kids good with that?
Michelle: They like it. Well, the girls don’t really get it, but Jack knows that people know him from TV.
CGM: The girls’ antics were absolutely hilarious last season — watching them and how their personalities were emerging — and Jack was the talker. This season the girls have found their voices … and have lots to say!
Michelle: They don’t stop talking, that’s for sure. They have an opinion about everything. They have to do what Jack does, too.
Dan: They’ll just sit there and have big conversations about nothing for a while.
Michelle: One thing about the kids is that what you see for TV is the way they are every day. There’s nothing different.
CGM: We’ve already seen some fun stuff this season. So what else is in store?
Michelle: We go to New York City — that’s the last episode, which was pretty cool. That’s a lot of fun. Dan goes skydiving. The girls take a dance class. I take a cooking class.
CGM: Tell me a little bit more about your visit to Roloff Farm. That was fun to see.
Michelle: That was so much fun! When you ask Jack his favorite part of the summer, he’ll tell you going to Roloff Farms.
CGM: Did they offer you any off-camera advice on managing becoming public figures, or was it just all about the fun?
Dan: We had conversations, but no deep-down heart-to-hearts about that kind of stuff. I think the best thing the trip probably did was for Jack became so close and such buddies with Zach. Now he likes to watch Zach on TV and stuff, and it kind shows him the difference, that you can be a real person and be on TV.
Michelle: Yeah, it was pretty neat. We all had a great time. They offered a little advice, but for the most part I felt like Dan and I, when we would discuss things they would be like ‘Yes. Yes.’ We were kind of on the same page, if that makes sense.
CGM: Dan, tell me a little bit about skydiving. What was the impetus for that?
Dan: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I thought it’d be interesting. I’ve always said that I like speed. When I was young, I was willing to get my share of speeding tickets. I like speed, but I don’t like twisty-and-turny. Skydiving I was all for. It was a really, really interesting rush. I only thought of the jumping out, thrill sort of stuff. But you get that for however many seconds, and then as soon as the chute opens, it’s just this amazingly peaceful, quiet ride. You’re 5,000 feet in the air, and you get this big view, and you’re coming down slowly. Obviously I’m not a professional skydiver so I’m strapped to a guy. You can have a conversation with the guy just like you’re on a couch. It’s really amazing how it goes from this super fast adrenaline rush to a peaceful journey all in one ride.
CGM: Was it peaceful for you, Michelle, to watch him do this? Or not so much?
Michelle: He was pretty calm about it, so it made me pretty calm. We had the kids with us, too, so I felt like I had to stay calm for the kids. “Remember the plane he’s in, you’re going to see him coming from the sky…”
CGM: Speaking of thrills, we saw your adventures in potty training throughout Season 1, and now the girls appear to have mastered that. I have kids who are close in age too, so I remember the perpetual cycle of running to the potty. Is that a recurring theme throughout this season? And how’s your sanity?
Michelle: We got to the potty a lot.
Dan: We’re pretty much not giving our kids a drink anymore.
CGM: So no super-size sodas at the amusement park …?
Dan: Maybe If we were at one in the desert…
Our Little Family airs Tuesday nights at 10/9CT on TLC.