Meet a Mom: Taylor Morrell of The Wichita Moms Network! - Rye & Rye Brook Moms

family with two blond kids and mom and dad

This week’s Meet a Mom is one of the newest team members of The Local Moms Network! Taylor Morrell is a mom of two (she has a six-year-old son named Rhys and a 4-year-old daughter named Evelyn) and lives in West Wichita, Kansas, where she runs The Wichita Moms Network. Here’s a bit more about Taylor, why she joined The Local Moms Network, local favorites and more.

Can you please describe your area?
Wichita is known as the air capital of the nation. A few decades back, there used to be many aviation companies that worked out of Wichita. For now, it is known as the biggest city in Kansas and has over 50 museums and art galleries! We moved here in September 2020. My husband received an amazing job offer as a statistical analyst with a local outdoor power equipment manufacturer. We love our city already. It’s the perfect mixture of country life and city. Five minutes to the west are cornfields and farms. Ten minutes to the east, I’m downtown in the middle of the city.

Sounds like the best of both worlds! Why did you join The Local Moms Network?
Before we lived in Wichita, I was the local editor for a different local mom online resource company. But, when we moved to Wichita, I decided to switch over to The Local Moms Network. I love being a resource and finding out all the fun local activities for families. One thing we were told when we first moved here is how there is nothing to do in Wichita. I know for an absolute fact that is completely the opposite! There is so much in Wichita for kids, teens, and parents. And I am so excited to be able to share the knowledge!

What is your favorite part of being part of TLMN?
I have two favorite things: 1) the connections I make with small local business owners. It’s so fun to bolster each other up and support any win in the business. 2) becoming entrenched in my community and falling deeply in love with my city, it’s history, it’s people, it’s character.

Love those points! What is your best “working mom” tip?
Chunk your work. Use block scheduling. I have three different paper calendars I use to organize my life. This allows me to know exactly what I need to do and when and have tangible goals. By working in chunks, I’m able to take periodic breaks and be present with my kids. I also have a timer on my phone daily at 8:30pm  – no working past then. One of the biggest thing that I try to work on and still continue to try and improve is not telling my children, “Hold on.” If they have a question, I answer it then. If they want to read a book, I can take 10 minutes and read them a book. They will remember these moments that I prioritize them over my work.

What has been the hardest part of quarantine for you and how have you dealt with it?
Well, I laugh and joke that my glasses have been the hardest part of quarantine. I have astigmatism in both of my eyes, so I can’t wear contacts. My glasses ALWAYS fog up if I don’t have them perched at the very tip of my nose. It’s so annoying, and yes, I’ve tried all the defogging tips. But seriously, the hardest part was moving. We were so excited to move because it was a great opportunity and allowed us to actually purchase our very first home. But, it’s been very hard to make friends, especially since our church congregation is just barely getting back to in-person meetings. But, that’s another reason I love The Local Moms Network – because it’s a venue to create real and lasting friendships with other girl bosses and mom-prenuers in the area.

How has school gone for your kids this year—were they in-person or remote? What are your plans for next year?
Thankfully, my son has been going full-time in-person most of the school year (with an exception from November to the new year). That is still the plan. My daughter is at a local preschool. They are both very socially active children and need that interaction. Plus, my son goes to speech therapy in school, and it’s so much better to do speech therapy in person. I’m thankful that we have a smaller school district that has an amazing support system and organization throughout this school year.

What’s one thing most people don’t realize about your area?
Just how much there is to do with your kids here. From museums to gymnastics to all the outdoor and river/lake activities you could think of, to farmers markets and pumpkin patches, to exploring downtown, to the zoo, to childrens’ theatre, to arcades, to bowling to sports, to over 100 playgrounds and parks, to a ton of annual local festivals, Wichita is full to bursting with activity!

What’s your favorite quarantine activity?
We have really loved exploring new trails, parks, and playgrounds as a family. It’s hard during the week with my husband’s commute and my son’s school hours. But, we make it a point every Sunday to explore a new trail or playground. We’ve also loved supporting local restaurants with take-out or delivery every other week.

Anything else you’d like people in your area to know about your site?
I’m obsessed with books, so I’ve started a book club! Also, I do a series that curates seasonal books for all ages and reading levels and links each individual book to local library catalog search pages. I also have a series of reviewing different playgrounds, listing their amenities, pros, and cons.

We love supporting local businesses. Can you please share your fave places in your area to:

Go to dinner as a family: Spangles! This is a Kansas-based fast food restaurant. The quality and size of meals are great and their desserts are great too! The service is always wonderful!

Have date night: We don’t have a favorite place. We love trying new restaurants every date and exploring a new part of Wichita like a local shop or walk or dessert place.

Have fun as a family outdoors: We love Sedgwick County Park. It’s huge, has plenty of playgrounds, including a large all-abilities playground. There are plenty of trails for running, an art walk, and many ponds for fishing. We also love exploring the trails of Swanson Park.

Go shopping (for kids, yourself and gifts): I love heading over to Bradley Fair and Towne East Square. They both have a great mixture of can’t-live-without chains and unique local boutiques and shops.

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