Leaving a Legacy.

If you know me well, you know that I am incredibly sentimental.  I blame my mom for this.  Although while she hangs onto every stuffed animal, strawberry shortcake doll, and even our baby teeth (no, I’m not joking), I don’t find myself drawn to hold onto objects or things.  For me, it’s all about the photos and videos. 

When Cullen was born, I found myself taking pictures and videos of him every single day.  And it wasn’t that I was so into the idea of having all these pictures of him per say, it was that I couldn’t help but want to capture all of his amazing moments – and then share them with our friends and family who are all way too far away.  Even now when he is only four, I find myself looking back at those early videos and I am so grateful that we captured it, as I barely remember him like that anymore.

Believe it or not, as this space has grown and adapted to current blogging trends, I’ve been very careful to maintain this as a space with integrity and focus.  And because of that, I’ve carefully selected all my brand partnerships to make sure they are applicable and relevant to both my life and my blog.  And so when Legacybox first approached me with a partnership, I thought perhaps it didn’t apply.  After all, the mission of the company is to preserve and digitize your memories!  But all of my family’s memories are already digital, since my kids were born in such an exciting, modern time.

Until I dug a little deeper.  I realized that we had stacks of camcorder tapes at my mom’s house back in Ohio – tiny little videos that we have no means to play back and watch anymore.  And even the VHS tapes we saved have been gathering dust for years, as we finally convinced my mom to ditch the VCR a few years ago.

Obviously when I was a kid, capturing photos and videos was a much different process.  There was no quick snap of a cellphone, or even click of a camera.  There was tangled up film, overexposing when you accidentally opened it before the roll was finished, and video cameras were an anomaly.  When my little sister was born in 1991, my parents finally invested in a camcorder video camera.  It was a HUGE deal!  It was the big family Christmas gift that year, and many of my sister’s first milestones were captured that way. 

I knew there was talk of some infamous home video footage of Casey too – things like recitals, talent shows, and even home performances with his brother and dad.  Before I accepted the partnership, I reached out to my mom and my mother-in-law.  I asked if they had any old movies laying around that they’d be willing to send me, as long as I promised to return them unharmed.  One week later, I had stacks of home movies arrive on my doorstep, just waiting to be brought back to life for us to enjoy. 

2015-11-03 003 (640x427)

2015-11-03 008 (640x427)

2015-11-03 013 (640x427)

My Legacybox arrived a few days later, and I got to work! 

2015-11-03 020 (640x427)

If you haven’t heard of Legacybox before, here is the basic idea:

  • You can preserve any format of outdated memories, from VHS tapes to Super 8 film, digitally with Legacybox so you can relive them, again and again.
  • Legacybox will send you a kit – complete with boxes, labels, and instructions – that you fill with any memories you want to digitize.  Round-trip shipping is included!
  • In a few weeks you’ll receive your original photos and videos back along with DVDs and digital files ready to share and enjoy.

2015-11-03 023 (640x427)

The packaging was beautiful and so inviting, and the instructions were very clear.  I was given a sheet of barcodes with stickers to attach to each video or film reel, to ensure that everything was tracked throughout the process, and nothing would be lost. 

2015-11-03 025 (640x427)

Casey’s mom sent this old film reel that had unwound from a VHS tape, and without digitizing there was no way we’d every see Casey’s saxophone recital again – the horrors!  All joking aside, it’s pretty incredible that we were able to take these memories that are twenty plus years old, and turn them into quick links on our computer.

2015-11-03 055 (640x427)

I labeled and packed up all the tapes, and shipped them back to Legacybox headquarters.  I received email updates through every leg of the process – when my box arrived, when processing started, and when it was shipped back to me – so I never had to worry about our precious memories. 

2015-11-03 059 (640x427)

A few weeks later (after getting a shipping notice that it was on the way) – the box came back!

2015-12-16 001 (640x427)

And inside, all my tapes and reels were carefully packaged in their original condition, along with a set of DVD’s and a thumb drive (which is an optional add-on). 

2015-12-16 006 (640x427)

I literally could not wait to plug this baby in and start watching. 

2015-12-16 011 (640x427)

2015-12-16 012 (640x427)

We ended up with over TEN HOURS of footage, and I watched every single minute of it.  I have spent the past week pouring over movies, crying with laughter, and piecing together the moments that I wanted to share with all of you.  It has been a labor of love, but more than worth it.

There is so much I want to say about this video, and yet I feel like the images probably speak for themselves.  Judging from the videos we got back from our families, it’s clear that 1989 was the year to buy a video camera.  Both of our home video archives are limited to the range of 1989 to around 1993 (when we became awkward teenagers and our parents gave up trying).

In Casey’s case, this was a fun novelty for the family, and I discovered to much hilarity (picture me weeping at my computer screen) that he and his brother and dad used to be quite the performers!  They lived in Connecticut and Indiana during these years, and 90% of the time they were shirtless.

In my case, we got our camera when my little sister was born, so most of our footage revolves around Baby Sarah.  I have always insisted that I raised my sister starting around age eleven, and I’m pretty sure these videos prove just that (sorry mom!).  We spent our summers at the beach in New Jersey and Hilton Head, and 90% of the time we were in bathing suits.  I could spend hours listening to the voices and conversations of grandparents and great-grandparents who are in the videos, but no longer here today.  What a gift. 

Obviously the videos also features lots of other friends and family from way back when, but in the interest of privacy (and only embarrassing ourselves) I did my best to trim the footage to our most immediate family.  It is such a treat to watch old images of me and Casey, and to think about what different lives and worlds we lived in back then, and how by some way or another – we made our way to each other.  And I love seeing the parallels between these clips, and the ones we film of our own kids – digging sandcastles, splashing in the ocean, dancing around the living room at home, and someday – little league games!

And so with that – here is my video.  Bits and pieces of Emily and Casey when we were both somewhere in the range of ages ten and twelve.  I know it’s not as exciting to watch other people’s home movies, but I hope you enjoy seeing a glimpse of us as goofy kids. 

If you are interested in trying Legacybox yourself, they are offering a 40% discount if you click here and use the code GARNISH at checkout!

I can’t wait to upload the full films to share with our family and friends this weekend!  Many thanks to Legacybox for bringing our memories back to life, and for allowing me to see my husband dancing shirtless around the living room as an awkward teenager. 

Have a great weekend!

This post is sponsored by Legacybox.  Thanks for your continued support of Daily Garnish and our family!  ‘Tis the season for advertising, and I appreciate your understanding that frequency of partnerships will ebb and flow.  This is the last sponsored post planned for this year.