Memory Lane with Legacybox.

This post is sponsored by Legacybox.  Thanks for your continued support of Daily Garnish!

The older my kids get, the harder I find it to live so far away from family.  That doesn’t mean anything is going to change about that, but accepting it doesn’t seem to make it any easier.  We do our best to bridge the gaps with Instagram, video chats, and saving up those skymiles for trips home.  I’m so grateful to be raising kids in this era of technology that makes the miles seem a little less painful.

When I was little our grandparents lived far away, and we only saw them in the summers or occasionally for holidays.  I didn’t know any different, so it was just our normal, but my my best friend had her grandma and grandpa nearby and I always thought that seemed really cool.

But without extended family around, our family of four – and eventually five – was close and shared lots of intimate family memories.  We took amazing vacations to Disneyworld and the beach, and my mom went all out for birthdays and Halloween.

I’m sure everyone looks back on their childhood with rose colored glasses, but I think mine was pretty great.  And for as many times as I will tell you that my mom is a total nut, at the same time – these days I often find myself trying to replicate parts of my childhood that were little gifts from her.  The sentimental birthday celebrations, the ill-timed and overly ambitious home projects, and so much joy and laughter in our house growing up.  As my kids grow old enough to have lasting memories themselves, I am more and more aware of how I hope they will look back on this time in our lives and feel the same way.

And speaking of my mom and our family memories, I texted her a few weeks ago and asked if she had any old family photos she could send.  When we moved out here six years ago, I still had all my old childhood things in my mom’s basement, and they have remained there all this time.  My mom did not disappoint – a few days later a giant box appeared on my doorstep.

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And when I opened it up I was both amused and horrified to find basically every photo I’d ever taken – from middle school through college, as well as a lot of my mom’s photos from me when I was itty bitty.

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I used Legacybox last year to turn all our old family movies into digital files, and poured over those films for days and days.  I was lucky enough to get the chance to do it again – this time for my print photos!

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

  • You can preserve any format of outdated memories digitally with Legacybox – even older formats that are very hard to play today!

  • Legacybox sends you a kit that you can fill with any formats in your collection – video, photo, or audio reel – which you send back to them pre-paid.

  • In a few weeks you’ll receive your originals back along with DVDs and digital files ready to share and enjoy.

It really is as easy as that!  I know some people I’ve talked to about it felt nervous about the idea of sending their precious family memories away in a box, but I felt comforted by very prompt and thorough communication through the whole process.  I received an email when my box was shipped, received, processed, and shipped back!  (Heads up –> discount for DG readers at the end of the post!!)

Once the photos from my mom arrived, I began the hilarious process of going through hundreds and hundreds of photos and picking the favorite ones that I’d like to have access to digitally.  I narrowed it down to about two hundred.

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Once I had selected the pictures I liked most, I grouped them into sets of twenty five and put those sets into individual baggies.

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My Legacybox kit came with a sticker sheet of barcodes to ensure that none of my materials would be lost or mixed up during processing.  Each barcode represented 25 photos, so I put one sticker on each bag and set those inside the box.

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I shipped my box back to Legacybox (which is all based and processed in Tennessee!), and a few weeks later it showed back up on my doorstep!

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Inside were all my original photos in the exact condition I sent them, along with my digitized files.

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The pictures (and videos) are all preserved on both flash drive and disc formats, so you have options depending on how you’d like to view them.  I plugged my flash drive in immediately and soaked all the memories in all over again.

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And even though I know that looking at someone else’s baby photos is probably low on a lot of your lists, I actually love seeing friends and family when they were little.  I think it’s so neat to see what backgrounds people come from, and what different times were like growing up.

I’m 35 now, which at times makes me feel insanely old.  I look back at my baby photos and laugh at how different it was to be a kid (and to raise kids!) in the early 80’s.  Even just seeing the start contrast between my littlest photos compared to those of my little sister – who came along ten years later – is interesting.  So with that, here are some of my favorite pictures, as provided by my awesome mom – and digitized beautifully by Legacybox!

This newborn baby picture made me think I was switched at birth or something.  We agree there is no way this picture is of me, right?  It looks NOTHING like me.  I can’t figure it out.  I think this is a classic example of mom looking back at pictures 30+ year later and trying to guess who is who…

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But this one with the seriously chubby cheeks is definitely me.  Why did baby bonnets ever go out of style?  I think they are the cutest things ever.  I am glad, however, that they don’t make baby swings out of metal poles and tarps anymore…

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This picture makes me smile, but also makes me sad because I can see how much I really do look like my dad, and I haven’t talked to him in years.

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Eventually I grew hair and it came in these beautiful long curls.  Come back, curls!

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Rocking that left hand like a boss from the early years.  Sadly neither of my boys appear to be left handed – such a shame!

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I died when I saw this picture, and told Casey I was doomed from the start.  THOSE THIGHS!!  Baby thighs are always amazing and squishy, but those are the real deal.  Hilarious.

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This was my first kitty kat ever, Samantha.  She showed up on our doorstep as a kitten with a broken leg during my second birthday party.  She lived to be twenty five years old, and was the most amazing cat ever.  I still miss her.  And my mom still can’t talk about her without crying.

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We seemed to do a lot of posed family portraits, and our outfits never disappointed.  Lots of big bows and patterns!  Have to love the 80’s.

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And then just like that my adorable curly ponytails turned into the classic 1984 bowl cut.

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My mom left me with a babysitter when I was around three or four, and I found scissors and CUT one of my ponytails clear off.  My mom came home and found me rocking one ponytail and with tufts of hair left on the other side.  Amazing.  I got the bowl cut the next day.

The ponytails grew back eventually, but I also lit my bangs on fire “just to see what would happen,” which you can see the remnants of below.  I guess I’m lucky my kids haven’t tried anything quite like this yet!

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I embraced all things 80’s and lived in puffy paint, acid washed denim, accessories galore, and the palm tree hairstyle.

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And like every other kid that year, woke up to a Punky Brewster doll under the Christmas tree.

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This is what playground equipment looked like in 1986.  Literally every playground had one.  We even had a smaller version in our backyard!

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And while of course I love seeing all the old trends and times in the photos, the greatest gift is seeing people who aren’t here anymore.  We spent every summer of my life for fifteen years at the beach with my great-grandmother in New Jersey, and every morning we ran down the stairs and gave her a big hug.  I’d love to give her one more.

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And this picture so perfectly captures my relationship with my dad’s mom.  She was so elegant and formal, and I was so fascinated by and yet terrified of her.  I saw this and was immediately shocked that anyone let me sit on her chair sideways like that.  I’m sure my mom was cringing.

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And while my grandfather is still here and living in Chicago, he’s very old and I don’t get to see him very often.  I’d love for the boys to get to see him more.

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I love this picture of me and my mom for a lot of reasons.  First, the cat on the bench.  She was such a sweetheart.  Also, I loved that part of our house. It was the front hall when you first walked in, and it was the perfect place for a piano.  I have spent many hours staring at our walls trying to figure out where I can recreate this magical space in my current house.

And of course, there is my mom.  Always paying attention, always taking time out of whatever else was happening.  Dinner was probably burning on the stove, but she was playing with me because I’d asked her to.

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There was our second puppy, Tasha, all passed out from an exhausting day.  And you can see my mom’s pregnant belly in the corner.  And her favorite Sam & Libby bow shoes – she had them in every color. Also, why on earth did my parents get a puppy when my mom was pregnant??

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I’m not sure I had ever seen this picture before, but it’s the first time I met my baby sister.  I remember going to school that morning and telling my teacher that she was born!  And on the side table is a book that I know was my mom’s.  Who takes a book to read to the hospital when they are having a baby?  Hilarious, and so sweet.

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So many pictures of me and sweet baby Sarah that I had to stop at the baby years, or else I’d have to post hundreds.  When I imagine having another baby when my kids are 10 and 13, I think my parents must have been insane.  But now we could never imagine life without her – what a gift she was, and has been since.

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Things got awkward as Rebecca and I got older, and my mom insisted in continuing to coordinate us with our baby sister.  Sigh.

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And then came the high school years, which were so painful and horrid that I decided to spare you all.  The only picture I chose from that era was this one.  When I was a senior my school started a new gymnastics team.  I hadn’t done gymnastics in four years at that point, but decided to go for it anyway.  Looking back at that, I am really proud of myself for having that confidence and going majorly out of my comfort zone.  I had a blast that year.

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So there you go, just a glimpse of the hundreds of photos we had turned into digital memories through Legacybox.  I am so grateful we were able to preserve our photos and videos in such an everlasting way.

And now you can too!  Legacybox has offered a discount to Daily Garnish readers – First 25 people to enter the code GRACE at checkout receive 40% off their order! Offer expires 11/15.

It’s such a great gift to yourself or to family as we head toward this holiday season.  Memories certainly never go out of style.