Good news at the Feazels.
Maddy's pink, white and black checked backpack arrived for the start of school.
"It came on Saturday," said mom Emily Feazel, 37, of Millstadt. "When they didn't have one with her initial at the store, we ordered it online from Justice. She typically gets a backpack every year."
New backpacks. Check.
New tennis shoes. Check.
School supplies. Check.
Maddy, 8, and Max, who turned 5 on July 31, (his has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme), began school Wednesday. Max started kindergarten at Millstadt Primary Center. Maddy, a third-grader, is at Millstadt Consolidated School.
Trips to the Millstadt pool, O'Fallon Splash Pad and The Magic House filled the summer. The whole family, including dad Jason, had a blast at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind., and camping at Ozark Outdoors Resort in Leasburg, Mo.
Still, Emily welcomes the return to routine.
"A week ago, we started bath time and shower time at 7:15 or 7:30," said Emily, who teaches children with autism. "Then they can watch a little TV. We try to be in bed by 8:30 or 8:45.
Summer was a different story.
"They do get to stay up later in summer. We really don't have a routine. We do a lot of camping trips. A lot of sleepovers. When they were tired, they went to bed.
"I worked three days a week. Grandmas watched them and they went to Panther Place (Millstadt's school daycare center). They had to be up and ready to go.
"Over the summer, Maddy did some reading and some math on her iPad and her Kindle."
We talked to the Feazels just before school started.
Do they bring or buy lunch? "We print up a calendar and Maddy will tell us which days she wants to buy. Max will take at first and see how everybody walks into the line."
Favorite homemade lunches? Peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese.
Favorite school lunches? "Chicken nuggets," said Maddy. "My favorite milk is chocolate milk. I also like the pizza with the square pepperonis on it, and hamburgers and cheeseburgers. I like to buy when it's French toast day."
What time do the kids get up? "About 6:20," said Emily. "6:30 is the latest. They are early risers. We don't want to start off in a huge rush. Kids need to be relaxed. I give them plenty of time. As long as we are out of the house by 7:30, we're having a good day."
What do they eat for breakfast? "Cereal or Pop-Tarts. If it's a Pop-Tart, they will have a banana. They have to have some kind of fruit."
After school? "Both are going to be at Panther Place, Millstadt's after-school program," said Emily. "I see kids also after work. Jason's schedule varies. He works for Laborers Local 100 (out of East St. Louis). Both of our parents are really helpful."
Do you cook when you get home? "I love my Crock-Pot. I like to have some kind of Crock-Pot meal going. They eat what we have unless it's something spicy. Then I might make them something different."
Homework: "We encourage her to try it by herself," said Emily. "If she has a question, then we come in and check it and go over it."
How much homework? "She had about an hour in second grade, including the time it took to go over it," said Emily. "She reads before bed, too -- 15 to 20 minutes."
Do you volunteer? "I try to if I have a day off and they do have school. (The school) welcomes it. "
What she'll miss about summer: "Swimming at the pool and going to friends' houses."
What she looks forward to: Playing soccer
Best trip: "Holiday World (in Santa Claus, Ind.) I like the waterpark. I rode two roller coasters, The Raven and The Legend. I don't really like the going-down feel that gets your belly really bad."
Favorite color: Aqua blue
Favorite subject: Reading
Is there anything hard about school? "Doing the math is kind of hard sometimes. Times tables."
"Everything is timed," said Emily. "For second grade, they have to do timed tests."
What do you do at recess? "Usually play with Olivia and my other friends. We go on the tire swing or play soccer on the field with the boys."
Do you have any advice for little brother? "I would tell him it's a big school and there's a lot of stuff (to learn). You have to be nice and be kind and you have to learn stuff even though you don't always want to. I had the same kindergarten teacher, Mrs. (Babs) Pfershy. She was really nice. We got to take a little rest."
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Pepperoni pizza because that's what the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles eat.
What will you do in kindergarten? Learn to read.