Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wedding Prep and a Lake Day

This week's new episode of Bringing Up Bates is only one day away. Scroll down for promo photos and a video clip.

Now that Tori Bates and Bobby Smith are engaged, it's time to choose a wedding date. They invite Gil and Kelly Bates out for a meal and nervously ask for their blessing to tie the knot in December, rather than waiting until after Tori's graduation in May 2018.

Tori Bates and Bobby Smith with Gil and Kelly Bates

Later, Kelly pulls out her extensive wedding planning list, and she and Erin Paine explain all the things that need to be done in order to say 'I do.' The newly engaged couple is a bit overwhelmed.

Finding a dress is one of the first items on the agenda. Kelly and Tori drive up to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, to meet with Renee Miller, a dress designer who has made wedding dresses for Jinger Duggar Vuolo, Joy-Anna Duggar Forsyth, and Kendra Caldwell Duggar.

Tori Bates and Kelly Bates with wedding dress designer Renee Miller

Tori Bates Smith and Kelly Bates

 And Nathan Bates hosts his annual, guys-only lake party.

Photos/video courtesy of UP

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Bates Blog Pinterest Page

For those of you who are on Pinterest, we wanted to let you know that we now have a Bates Family Blog page! The link is just below the blog header (the "Follow on Pinterest" icon), and you can also tap here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

An Awkward Chat with Mom and Dad

Tori Bates Smith and Bobby Smith

Tori Bates: "We were like, dead silent, scared to death because we did not know how to bring it up."
Bobby Smith: "It was intensely awkward." 

After getting engaged, Tori and Bobby decide to propose (no pun intended) the idea of tying the knot in December, rather than waiting until after Tori's graduation. So they plan a double date with Gil and Kelly, hoping they will be on board. The future Mr. and Mrs. have some pretty good arguments!

 If you enjoy this blog, be sure to visit Ellie's other blogs ( and

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Josie Bates' New Job

Josie Bates, who graduated from cosmetology school in December, is settling into her new job as a hair dresser at a local beauty salon called Ross the Boss. Yesterday, she gave haircuts to two of her favorite clients, Whitney and Kaci Lynn.

Josie cuts Kaci Lynn Bates' hair
Josie gives Kaci Lynn Bates a trim

Photo courtesy of Zach and Whitney Bates

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bates Enjoy Early Spring Weather

Spring has sprung early! The Bates are taking advantage of this week's beautifully warm weather with some outdoor activities.

Carlin Bates and Brooklyn Paine
 Carlin Bates shows Brooklyn Paine how to play tee-ball

Carlin Bates, Erin Paine, Whitney Bates
 Carlin Bates, Erin Paine, Whitney Bates
(with the film crew in the background) 

Judson Bates, Whitney Bates, Kaci Lynn Bates
 Judson Bates, Whitney Bates, Kaci Lynn Bates

Carlin Bates, Kelly Bates, Josie Bates
Carlin Bates, Kelly Bates, Josie Bates
mother-daughter bonding

Photos courtesy of, Carlin Bates

Thursday, February 22, 2018

More New Episodes?

Bringing UP Bates

Since the start of season seven, the Bates have officially filmed more than 100 episodes of Bringing Up Bates, which premiered on New Year's Day 2015. (They were also featured in a mini series, called United Bates of America, on TLC in 2012.)

We know some of you are concerned, as last week's episode was a recap of the best Bates sports moments, and tonight's episode will highlight the most viewed Bates clips. But we want to assure you that new episodes will return next Thursday.

This season will be the largest to date. The network has ordered 26 episodes, so the Bates still have plenty of exciting footage in store for viewers!

Photo courtesy of UP

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Zach and Lawson: Caption This

Lawson Bates and Zach Bates
 Zach Bates and Lawson Bates

"That's totally more James Bond than Barney Fife."
-Lawson Bates

In this clip, you'll get a look at some raw footage of oldest Bates brothers Zach and Lawson, as they come up with captions for some of their goofiest photos.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Life's Biggest Moments

 Tori Bates Smith wedding

Happy Tuesday! We came across this UP promo video and thought you might enjoy watching it. How many Bates family members can you spot?

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bates in Myrtle Beach

Gil and Kelly Bates and a handful of their kids and grandchildren traveled down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a mini vacation this weekend. The weather wasn't incredibly warm, but they enjoyed spending time together as a family. Below are a few snapshots.

Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart
 Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart

Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart
 Carlin and Evan

Trace Bates, Nathan Bates, Lawson Bates
 Trace Bates, Nathan Bates, Lawson Bates

Lawson Bates and Lexi Webster
 Lawson Bates and Lexi Mae Webster

Allie Jane Bates
 Allie Jane Webster

Ellie Bates and Brooklyn Paine
 Ellie Bates and Brooklyn Paine

Photos courtesy of,

Saturday, February 17, 2018

2 More February Birthdays

February sure is the month for Bates birthdays! On February 1st, Trace turned 21, and Jeb turned six. Yesterday, Bobby turned 23. And today, Jackson turns 16, and Addallee turns 12.

Happy birthday, Jackson and Addee!

Jackson Bates and Addallee Bates
Jackson Bates and Addallee Bates

Photo courtesy of

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bobby Turns 23

Wishing Bobby Smith a happy 23rd birthday! Today also happens to be Tori and Bobby Smith's two-month wedding anniversary.

Tori (Bates) Smith and Bobby Smith
Tori Bates and Bobby Smith Parasailing
 Tori and Bobby Parasailing

Photos courtesy of UP/

Thursday, February 15, 2018

'Bates Sports Special' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "Bates Sports Special"

Look back at the Bates’ Most Memorable “Sports Spectacular” Moments...

“I don’t think any Bates would ever make it to the Olympics,” says Tori. But did you know that one Bates made it to the qualifying rounds? Gil was a high school state champion wrestler and qualified to try out for the Olympics.

Trace is practicing for Crown College basketball tryouts with his friends, and Lawson joins in for a game. Trace and Lawson get along great, unless they’re playing sports. “When it comes to sports, the problem is, he wants to be the star, and I just want the ball any time,” says Trace.

The older guys take the little boys on a golfing outing. “Lawson and Nathan and Trace taking Jackson, Warden and Isaiah out to teach them golf makes me think of the blind leading the blind,” says Zach.

Mock Police Academy Training
The guys join Zach for a mock session of training at the police academy. “The main goal is to irritate you and make you mad and push you to the limit to see what you do under pressure,” says Lawson.

Downhill Skiing
Nathan arrives late, so Kelly shows him what she learned. “Nate, I’m going to be teaching you, but that doesn’t mean I know how to ski good, it just means that I remember facts good,” says Kelly. After a few minutes, Nathan says he’s ready to hit the slopes. According to Gil and Kelly, Nathan would have no problem going down a black diamond without a single lesson.

Ice Skating
Four days before he marries Michael, Brandon goes ice skating with his future brothers-in-law. The other guys enjoy horsing around, while Brandon takes it slow but still somehow manages to walk away with a gash in his head.

With the rest of the family watching, Lawson and Nathan each try to beat their dad at wrestling. Gil prevails, although Nathan still thinks he won.

Growing up, Gil was the quarterback of the high school football team and was consumed with sports, but he has higher hopes for his sons. “I think Gil loved sports so much, it was hard for it not to be number one,” says Mama Jane, Gil’s mom. “He didn’t want his boys to have sports as their number one. He wanted Christ first in their lives.”

Name That Bates Jr: The Best Hugs

Callie Bates, Addallee Bates, Ellie Bates
 Callie Bates, Addallee Bates, Ellie Bates

Hope you all had a LOVEly Valentine's Day. The Bates are all about showing outwards signs of affection for each other. In this clip, the little kiddos share their opinions on which family members give the best hugs.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lexi's Baby Dedication

On Sunday, Lexi Mae Webster was dedicated to the Lord during church. John Webster's parents (Congressman Daniel Webster and Sandra) and Alyssa's parents were present for the service.

Lexi Mae Webster dedication
The Websters and Bates

The visit was quick for Gil and Kelly, but they were able to make many precious memories.

Alyssa Webster and Lexi Mae Webster
 Alyssa Webster and Lexi Webster

Gil Bates and Allie Jane Webster
Gil Bates and Allie Webster

Photos courtesy of

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happily Married Couple

Tori Bates and Bobby Smith have been Mr. and Mrs. Smith for nearly two months. With Tori student teaching and Bobby working and helping out at the Bates' church, this couple has been busy. After Tori's graduation in May, they plan to move to the Nashville area, where Bobby has accepted a job.

Tori and Bobby Smith

Photo courtesy of Tori and Bobby Smith,

Greek Wedding Cake for the Bates?

"This looks like a little Shih Tzu in need of a haircut."
-Zach Bates

With all the weddings they have planned over the past four years, the Bates have sampled many different types of wedding cake. But what about Greek wedding cake? They try some in this clip, and their reactions are priceless. Have you ever tried Greek wedding cake?

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Skating with the Keilens

The Chicago area has been covered in a thick blanket of snow this week, with more falling this weekend. Michael and Brandon Keilen took advantage of the beautiful winter wonderland with an evening of outdoor ice skating. Do you enjoy skating? Have you been watching the Olympics?

Michael (Bates) Keilen and Brandon Keilen

Photo courtesy of

Friday, February 9, 2018

The 'New' Bates Family

Tori Bates, Carlin Bates, Josie Bates triple date

"It takes Tori, Carlin, and Josie about, probably two years to get ready." 
-Callie Bates

"They have to be perfect, and if one person wears a really, really good dress, they’re like, 'I can’t wear this, I’ll be ashamed!'"
-Addallee Bates

Callie's statement might be a bit of an exaggeration, but she's certainly not completely wrong. According to Zach, in the old days when eight Bates shared one bathroom, things were very different than they are now, with the"new family" having multiple bathrooms.

In this web exclusive clip from last night's episode, Tori, Carlin, and Josie prove Zach's point to be true, as they help each other get ready for their triple date.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Thursday, February 8, 2018

'The Best is Yet to Come' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "The Best is Yet to Come"

  • Tori, Carlin, and Josie are getting ready for a triple date with their guys. “It takes Tori, Carlin, and Josie about, probably two years to get ready,” says Callie.
  • When Bobby, Evan, and Kelton arrive, they present their ladies with flowers, and then the three couples head into downtown Knoxville. “Kelton has lived here in Knoxville for quite some time, so he kind of knows all the cool places around here, and we’ve not really gotten around as much,” says Josie.
  • Do the three couples have a chaperone? Gil and Kelly say they are chaperoning themselves and that they trust them to do the right thing. “Our goal is to help them be safe and happy in the long run, but really it’s got to be in their heart to want it as well, and I really do think it is,” says Kelly.
  • “If I didn’t trust that they all had the right heart motive about it, they probably wouldn’t be going on a triple date at all, or any date,” says Gil.
  • The guys, who are all 22 years old, take the girls to Blue Coast Grill and Bar for a meal.
  • Throughout the day, Evan and Kelton are jokingly asking when Bobby plans to propose. He laughs it off, but in all seriousness, he actually does have the ring with him. He shows it to Kelton and explains that he told the Bates to be ready in case he decides to get down on one knee during the triple date.
  • After the meal, the couples walk around the shops at Market Square, and then photographer and family-friend Taryn Yager pops out of nowhere to do a mini photoshoot. “I see Taryn, and I’m thinking, ‘Who in the world would invite a photographer unless something big was about to happen?’” says Tori.
  • Bobby ends up deciding that the setting isn’t intimate enough for a proposal.
  • Later, Bobby holds a meeting with Gil and Kelly to discuss the big day. Bobby and Kelly are ready for it to happen, while Gil jokingly says that he’s in no hurry and would be completely fine if Bobby waited another year.
  • To clear his mind, Bobby hits up the disc golf course with Kelton after the conversation.
  • Back at the house, Tori, Carlin, and Josie sit down to study, but the topic quickly turns to engagement. Carlin says she thinks Josie and Kelton could easily get married before she and Evan do. “No,” says Josie. “We’re going to take it slow. I’m so young.”
  • In an interview, Lawson, Whitney, and Zach discuss the increasing complexity of Bates proposals and the fact that the bar is always being set higher. “Some of the proposals are more proposing to the family,” says Zach. “They’re coming anyways. You’re not going to shake them free. Evan a bad proposal isn’t going to run this family off.”
  • On the day of the proposal, Bobby shows up at Crown College with his parents to surprise Tori. The surprise is successful, and Erin and Carlin pull Tori into a room to do her hair and makeup.
  • Tori, Bobby, and Bobby’s parents jump into a convertible and head across the state line into North Carolina. Meanwhile, Gil and Kelly are picking up food at Louise’s Kitchen in Black Mountain. They set up a picnic at beautiful Linville Falls and wait for everyone else to arrive.
  • After lunch, Gil and Kelly go on ahead to Wiseman’s View, where they set up rose pedals, candles, and flowers. Tori, Bobby, and Bobby’s parents arrive, and Bobby’s mom sneaks ahead to place the ring next to the flowers.
  • Tori starts seeing the rose pedals on the ground, as she and Bobby walk down the steps to the overlook. “Every step down that trail, we’re getting closer and closer, and my heart’s beating faster and faster,” says Bobby.
  • They make it to the spot of the proposal, but it takes Bobby a few moments to locate the ring. When he does, he grabs Tori’s hands and tells her how much he loves her. “Life is really short, and it goes by so fast, but I know I want to spend mine with you. Life is going to fly by, and we have so much to look forward to afterwards, but as long as we’re here on this earth, as long as God allows, I want you to be my wife. I want you to be the woman that I spend my entire life with. Tori Layne, will you marry me?”
  • “It’s so pretty,” whispers Tori when she sees the ring. “I mean, yes of course! Oh my goodness, I love you.” The two hug, and the parents cheer from a distance before coming over to congratulate the couple.
  • Tori exclaims how weird she looks with a ring, so Gil jokes that he's going to take it off and let her wait a few more years.
  • “It was an absolute perfect day, and I could not have asked for anything better,” says Tori.

Tori's Engagement Tonight

Tonight's new episode starts in just one hour! Catch a first glimpse in the video below, and come back to the blog after the show airs for our recap.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Triple Bates Date

Tori Bates, Carlin Bates, Josie Bates

Tomorrow's one-hour special of Bringing Up Bates is all about Tori and Bobby.

The engagement ring is burning a hole in Bobby's pocket, but he still hasn't come up with the perfect proposal plan, so he turns to Gil and Kelly for advice. Later, the three newest Bates couples (Tori Bates and Bobby Smith; Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart; and Josie Bates and Kelton Balka) head out on the town for a triple date.

Tori and Bobby, Josie and Kelton, Carlin and Evan Bates couples

Photographer friend Taryn Yager joins the couples for a photo shoot.

Tori Bates and Bobby Smith

Tori Bates and Bobby Smith

But that's not all. As we saw in the preview clip earlier today, Bobby has another surprise up his sleeve. A little while later, Bobby surprises Tori during the school day and takes her on a special adventure that might just end with a ring!

Photos courtesy of UP,

Proposal Day is Here!

Tori Bates

The day that Tori Bates has been waiting for since boyfriend Bobby Smith moved to Tennessee has finally arrived! Bobby surprises his girl during the school day, when she least expects it. Erin Paine and Carlin Bates are standing by to do Tori's hair and makeup before the future Mr. and Mrs. embark on an adventure that ends with a beautiful, diamond ring!

You won't want to miss this hour-long episode. Tune in to UP tomorrow at 9pm ET/8pm CT.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Meet Kelton Balka

Josie Bates courtship with Kelton Balka

As most of you know, Josie Bates recently entered into a courtship with Kelton Balka. The courtship "proposal," which will be aired on an upcoming episode of Bringing Up Bates, came at the end of an eventful day spent with Josie and Kelton's parents (Gil, Kelly, and Kelton's father). The group went ice skating, among other activities.

The big moment took place at Emerts Covered Bridge in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Kelton and Josie met a few years ago at Kelton's sister's piano recital, as Erin Paine was the instructor. (Erin the matchmaker was also involved in setting up Carlin and Evan.)

A 2017 college graduate, Kelton has a degree in finance from Pensacola Christian College and is also a certified plumber. He works in his uncle's plumbing business in his hometown of Knoxville and is the oldest of five siblings (three boys and two girls). His mother tragically passed away nine years ago, soon after giving birth to the youngest.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, February 5, 2018

'Somebody's In Trouble'

Kelly Bates and Tori Bates

"Whoever found this picture...they did not get brownie points here. Somebody's in trouble."
-Kelly Bates

In this clip, Kelly Bates and Tori (Bates) Smith scroll through several candid photos of themselves and come up with captions. One photo in particular makes Kelly cringe.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Bates' Classmate Missing in Knoxville

We hope you all had a fantastic weekend, whether you watched the Super Bowl or spent your Sunday doing other things. Yesterday, we received troubling news about a student at Crown College, the school that many of the Bates siblings either attend or have attended. We ask you to join us in earnet prayer.

Blake Smith, a 20-year-old student at Crown, has been missing since Saturday afternoon, when he was last seen leaving work. From there, he returned to his dorm room for a short time and then headed out to Admiral Farragut Park, where his parents say he was likely taking a hike. Blake posted a photo of the Tennessee River to his social media page, making that his last known location.

Later, his car, cell phone, and some of his belongings were found at a construction site in Blount County, where Zach Bates attended the police training academy.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Blake's family suspects foul play. A missing persons Facebook page has been created to provide updates. Those with any information should contact the Knoxville police at 865-215-7000.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Growing Old Together

This weekend, the entire Bates family gathered at Bates Headquarters (aka Gil and Kelly's house) for their annual I Love You Day celebration. Valentine's Day is still more than a week away, but when you're coordinating the schedules of three dozen people, it isn't always possible to get everyone together on the actual holiday.

The theme of the party was "Growing Old Together." As you'll see in the photos below, the Bates had a ball, and some of them went all out. The film crew was present, so rest assured, you'll see plenty of hilarious footage soon.

Bates family I Love You Day growing old together
 Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart

Bates family I Love You Day growing old together

Bates family I Love You Day growing old together
Erin and Chad Paine

Photos courtesy of Bates,

Friday, February 2, 2018

Whitney the Working Mom

Last night on Bringing Up Bates, we watched Whitney Bates meet with Justin, her boss at Bailey & Co. Real Estate. She is excited about her new career but needs some guidance in order to get started. In the web exclusive clip below, she pays another visit to Justin to learn how to start her first listing.

Photo courtesy of Zach and Whitney Bates; video courtesy of UP

Thursday, February 1, 2018

'Erin's Surprise Takes the Cake' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "Erin's Surprise Takes the Cake"
  • Erin finds out she’s pregnant and is thrilled but very surprised. That evening, while company is over, one of the guests presents Chad with a cake that has the message written on it. He is shocked.
  • Later, Addallee, Ellie, and Callie come over to Erin’s to help bake a cake. “When we go to Erin’s house and we make something to eat, she literally lets all of us kids do it all,” says Addallee.
  • While Erin and the girls are decorating the cake with strawberries, Erin breaks the news, and the girls are thrilled, especially because they are the first Bates family members, aside from Kelly, who had accompanied Erin to a doctor’s appointment, to hear the big news.
  • Erin allows the girls to call the rest of the family and share the announcement. Kelly says she knows Erin is excited to be a mom again but certainly not looking forward to the intense morning sickness or the health complications.
  • “I really always envisioned myself with at least three kids because I know me and my siblings had so much fun together, and I love the fact that we were close in age because we did everything together,” says Erin.
  • Whitney has officially joined the Bailey and Co. Real Estate team as a REALTOR®! She has taken the three-week class, passed the licensing exam, and is ready to get to work. She brings Bradley and Kaci Lynn over to the family's house so she can go into the office, where she meets with her boss, Justin, to receive pointers for kicking off her real estate career.
  • “I worked my way through college, and I was just kind of praying, ‘Should I go back to work? What options are there out there?’ Because I want to be with my babies, but I still would like to do something that helps people and gets out in the community. Real estate was brought up, and the Lord just kind of worked out every little detail.”
  • Whitney’s schedule is very flexible, and she is able to do the bulk of her work from home or at the office on the days Zach is off. If she happens to have a meeting while Zach is working, both sets of parents live ten minutes away and love to babysit.
  • “It’s like a daycare play care center,” says Zach of his parents' house. “You’ve got five little boys Bradley’s age and two or three little girls…all throwing toys and fighting and having fun. I am so excited for Whitney and so proud of Whitney for all the work that she’s put into this real estate license.”
  • Trace is trying out for the Crown College basketball team, and a couple of his friends are over at the house teaching him basic drills. “Most of the kids have been doing it for ten, fifteen years…and Trace is walking in kind of cold turkey,” says Gil.
  • One of the guys tells Trace that Trace's biggest obstacle is his negative mental attitude. He makes Trace do ten pushups for every negative remark, and before long, Trace's mental attitude has improved.

Trace and Jeb Celebrate Birthdays

Wishing Trace and Jeb a very happy birthday! Trace Whitfield, the 8th oldest Bates child, is turning 21, while Jeb, number 19, is 6 years old.

Trace Bates and Jeb Bates
Trace Bates and Jeb Bates

Photo courtesy of UP

New Job, Tryouts, and a Big Surprise

new episode of Bringing Up Bates

It's Thursday, and you know what that means! An all-new episode of Bringing Up Bates is coming your way at 9pm ET/9pm CT on UP. What do the Bates have in store for viewers tonight?

It’s a sweet surprise, as Erin Bates Paine reveals some very unexpected news to Chad. She bakes a cake with her younger sisters and lets them in on the secret. How will the girls react when they realize they’re the first Bates family members to know that Erin is expecting?

Baking with Erin Bates Paine

Baking with Erin Bates paine

Whitney Bates balances motherhood with her new career as a Realtor. At the office, she gets advice from her new boss and walks away with a parting gift that puts a smile on her face.

Whitney Bates and Kaci Bates

Trace Bates practices basketball drills with his college buddies. Will a negative attitude halt his chances of making a spot on the college basketball team, or will his friends come up with a solution?

Trace Bates basketball tryouts

Trace Bates basketball tryouts

Here's a sneak peek video for you:

Photos/video courtesy of UP