Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Our Newest Team Member, Claire Williamson!!!

I can't tell you enough how excited we are to have Claire taking over our Tallahassee region.  Never than before have I felt like the mission of Ecological Babies is going to continue to sustain itself, even without my presence (sigh!).  I anticipate Claire's customer service to outshine mine and put my complete trust that you will all welcome her with open arms to our EB community.  Some of you may already know her, as she is an active member in Tallahassee.  Below is her response to some of my questions I asked her to share with you.  I love how she's so open & honest and can relate to so many of us making stepping stones to living a more sustainable life. Serendipitously enough, I recently discovered Claire's son Grant was born only 3 days after Ecological Babies' launch date!  I can't help but wonder how much more we're connected and share similar paths. Maybe you will too....

Here's Claire in her own words...

Hi Everyone!  I am so excited to introduce myself as the newest member of the Ecological Babies team.  I know I am not the only one sad that our friend Jen is moving so far away, but I am thrilled for her family and the opportunities this move will provide for them.  I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but I look forward to the opportunity to pick up the reigns here in the Tallahassee region and carry on the mission of Ecological Babies – Simplicity, Sustainability, Community.

My husband Nathan and I moved to Tallahassee in July 2005 from Nacogdoches, TX so that I could attend graduate school at Florida State University.  I graduated in 2007 with a Master of Music degree in oboe performance.  I’ve been a musician most of my life, and enjoy many different creative outlets.  Most of my musical opportunities these days come in the form of freelance gigs around town, and the occasional out of town orchestra concert.  Locally, I play with the Tallahassee Winds, which is a non-profit community ensemble.  My husband Nathan teaches drama at Deerlake Middle School, and we are both avid volunteers at Tallahassee Little Theatre.  However, he’s the one on stage, and I’m usually behind the scenes sewing costumes or working in the box office. 

On September 25, 2008 we welcomed a precious little boy into our lives.  Our son, Grant, is the light of our lives and keeps us running from dawn till dusk!  When he was born I was working at Tallahassee Little Theatre doing marketing, and briefly entertained the idea of bringing him to work with me.  I gave it the old college try for about 6 weeks, at which point it became painfully obvious it was not going to work.  I was firmly committed to being the one to raise him, and couldn’t bear the thought of taking my constantly nursing, wanting to be held all the time little boy to someone else for the day.  We crunched numbers, pondered and prayed, and decided we could make it work, so I resigned from my full-time job at the theatre and became a full-time mom. 

One of the many ways we decided we could trim our budget was to give cloth diapers a whirl.  I had an old friend in Texas who tried them for a while, and at the time she was my only resource, and a meager one at that since her foray into cloth-diapering lasted less than a month!  When Grant was tiny I was a regular attendee at the breastfeeding support group at A Woman’s Place, where one day I had the great fortune to meet Jen Starks.  She told me about her business, and I was intrigued.  My son has always had a very active bladder.  Come to think of it, all of him is active so it shouldn’t be a surprise!  He peed all the time, and cried to be changed immediately.  We were going through two dozen diapers disposable diapers a day, and it seemed like such a waste of money to buy something, have your kid foil it up, and then toss it in the trash.  Not to mention I was getting really tired of throwing out all those bags of trash, and at the time we were living in an apartment and the trips to the dumpster were getting really old really fast.  I made an appointment with Jen to have a consultation, and she graciously let us come on a Saturday so that my husband (who was totally on board!) could come with me.

We were hooked on cloth from the get-go.  We didn’t buy them on the spot, but went home loaded with information and hemmed and hawed about what to buy.  Since we had made the decision to drop to one income, we wanted to spend wisely.  Finally we decided to go with mostly prefolds and covers, with a couple all-in-ones and pocket diapers to use when we were out.  As I mentioned, Grant peed a lot and demanded immediate changing, so getting anything super-absorbent (or fancy and expensive!) wasn’t really a draw, since even at night if he was even slightly damp he wanted changing – pronto.  The biggest issue I had to overcome was what I fondly refer to as the “poo factor.”  I was not entirely convinced that the poo would rinse out in the washing machine, and had visions of a layer of poo stuck to the drum of my washing machine that would then surely leave a layer of poo film all over all of our other clothes.  Surely we would need a separate washing machine!!!  Well, lo and behold, it really does wash out, they don’t make your washing machine gross, and wonder of wonders, they don’t even stink!   

To a mother considering making the jump into cloth-diapering, the best advice I can share is just try it!  For a relatively small investment (you can get a days worth of prefolds and a cover or two for less than the cost of two mega boxes of Huggies), you’ll have enough diapers to at least try it out.  I would almost guarantee that after giving it a week you would be hooked like I was, and like so many others have been.  When you have a baby, you deal with poop and extra laundry no matter what type of diaper you use, so why not choose one you can use over and over and save for the next tiny bottom that comes along?

The choice to cloth-diaper our son was initially done for mostly economical reasons, but little did we know that it would be the catalyst in a chain of future decisions to create a more sustainable, “green” life-style for our family.  The longer we did it, the more we noticed our thinking towards many other aspects of our life slowly changing shape.  We made small changes over time, often not even thinking about them until looking back.  For example, one day it dawned on me I hadn’t bought paper towels in over six months.  That was in 2009, and I haven’t bought any since!  We changed our eating habits and our purchasing habits, and while we have come very far we still have far to go.  The path towards sustainable, green living is an ever-changing one as more research comes available, as more green products and organic food becomes available and more affordable, and also, we must admit, as public opinion changes.  Our generation has a huge undertaking ahead of us as we work hard to counteract what was once seen as progress – the integration of chemicals and disposable products.  Taking steps toward green living and stepping away from the conventional and familiar can be intimidating, but I look forward to the opportunity to help enact such change and help parents like me see things in a new light.  


Jen & Claire

p.s. You can now reach Claire at!

Ecological Babies, llc 

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