You may recognize Christina Schmit. From Edgemont, she moved to Rapid City shortly before getting married in 2004. She went to college in Spearfish and has raised her family in the beautiful Hills they call home.
You might also recognize her from our 2015 Inspiring Military Moms! That’s how we met Chris and her boys; and that’s how we happened to cross the path of Tick Tock Croc.
But first, get to know our Summer 2015 Cover family!
Thad (35) is in the Army National Guard and has deployed three times. His most recent deployment was with the 235th Military Police Company to Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan. He currently is with the 881st Troop Command out of Fort Meade, and holding a civilian job with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff.
Chris (38) stays home with the kids, but has a few side jobs that allow her to work around her family schedule. She is the Nursery Coordinator at Rimrock E Free Church, and also teaches a Science Class to preschoolers every Wednesday morning. She volunteers as a Bible study leader for her church and has volunteered as a Family Readiness Leader for the National Guard in the past.
Together, they have two (almost three!) children — Zeke (6) and Tate (2), with baby Schmit due May 30.
Q: How did you and Thad meet?
Thad and I met while attending Black Hills State University. We were part of a large group of friends, and sparks didn’t fly until Thad was on his first deployment at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs and I was in the area for a work related trip. We decided to catch up and go out for breakfast and I remember Thad opening the car door for me and thinking, “Wow he is hot!”
Thad stayed in Colorado for another 5 months and I went back to Spearfish. He continued to call me every other week and when he was deactivated in January 2004, he started to pursue me. We were married the following October 2004.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the Black Hills?
We love the Black Hills! I cannot imagine living anywhere else. The Black Hills is my/our HOME. As a family we love to hike, fish, and just play tourist in the hills. We have camped a few times and as our kids are older hope to camp more. The Hills are so accessible even for a morning hike so we can be back by naptime. Many times we head up to Spearfish to check out the Fish Hatchery, drive through the Canyon, cool off at Roughlock Falls, and get a coffee at the Green Bean coffee shop – just leaving town for the day feels refreshing.
Other favorite things to do is heading to Keystone and walking the strip, riding the train, and getting taffy at the taffy shop. In Hill City, we head to the Alpine Inn and checking out Granite Sports. In Custer, Outlaw Ranch has been a personal retreat for me to get away from the family and come back refreshed. I could go on and on about local spots that have been very memorable to us as a family.
Q: How do you retain your sense of fun?
As a couple, we feel it is incredibly important to maintain date night as least 2 to 3 times monthly. So, our favorite dates include heading downtown. After Thad’s last deployment we headed to the Independent Ale house weekly to transition well as a couple. Other favorite downtown [Rapid City] venues include: the Rocky Mt. Chocolate factory for a yummy desert, lounging in the chairs in the Main Street Square, artichoke dip and dark ale at the Firehouse, fish tacos at Qué Pasa, shopping at Roaming Around, etc. Many times we head to the Elks for a movie, they do military discount and tickets are only $3!
Q: What’s your best advice for parents in the Black Hills?
I haven’t mastered these things, but these are goals of mine:
Enjoy your family and build memories together.
Enjoy the little years.
Be gentle with your spouse.
Put your kids above a clean house.
Make your kids your priority, and not your job.
So, what’s the story of the 6-foot crocodile?
“…well his name is Tick Tock Croc. He travels with us just about everywhere we go– which makes packing the car a little tight. My mom–Grandma Betty–comes to town often to spend time with our family. We were all in the Who’s Toy House, the toy store downtown, and my husband and I left to go next door to Roaming Around. 10 minutes later we come back to my son Zeke holding his new best friend–a very large crocodile. The stuffed animal was expensive and we told my mom she did not have to buy Zeke such an extravagant gift…but she just smiled and said, “I don’t always get to spoil my grandkids.”
In the summer we spend time heading to the Outdoor Campus with the boys. We live one block from the entrance and in warm weather we walk the trails daily. We walk up to the top of the lookout tower to check out the ducks. We cross the streams and cool our feet off in the summer months. We look for flowers and any activity of animals. One particular time while Thad was deployed to Afghanistan for his second tour….Zeke was 4 and Tate was 5 months old we were hiking on the trails and Zeke found a stick and asked if he could have it. I replied with, “Well if you can carry it home, you can have it.” The stick was 20 feet long. He drug the stick the whole way home and did not ask for any help. What normally would take 10 minutes to walk….took 45 minutes. When we arrived at home we battled about where the stick should live. Zeke named the stick Phil and I refused to let Phil live in the house with us. So he resided right next to our front door for the entire year Daddy was gone. Several times throughout that year, Zeke’s balls and Frisbees would get stuck in our neighbor’s tree. Phil the stick would come to the rescue and free up the miscellaneous toys held captive by the Walnut tree next door. Phil the stick has since disappeared; I think Daddy was tired of tripping over the stick.