Friday, August 17, 2018

Josie and Kelton's Love Story

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka
Josie Bates and Kelton Balka are counting down the days until their October 5th wedding. Kelton has also just written out their love story and posted it to their wedding website.
Did you know that Josie and Kelton met in summer 2014, during a piano recital at which both Josie and Kelton's sister were performing? But it wasn't until summer 2015 that they had their first extended conversation and exchanged phone numbers.

After they spent time getting to know each other for a few months, Kelton left for college (Pensacola Christian, where he was Bobby Smith's roommate). As was shared on a recent episode of Bringing Up Bates, Josie then put the relationship on hold after her parents expressed that they believed she was too young. Kelton shares his reaction on the wedding website:

I was crushed. I had never met a girl like Josie, and I couldn't understand what God was doing or why Josie had ended what was just beginning. 
But during that year, wise words from his father gave Kelton a renewed purpose, and he focused his attention on his relationship with the Lord, his studies, and working out. During fall break 2016, Kelton was invited to the Bates' beach rental to celebrate with Tori and Bobby, who had just entered a courtship, and the rest of the family (do you remember that episode?). From that day, Josie and Kelton's friendship was rekindled, mostly via long distance, but they did not consider themselves a couple until around the time of Kelton's graduation (with a finance degree) in May 2017. 

From there, you know the rest of the story. Josie and Kelton entered an official courtship in January 2018 and were engaged on June 19th during a trip out West.

Photo courtesy of Josie Bates

Bates Fan File 730

Last night's episode of Bringing Up Bates was all about chaperones and chaperoned dates. My favorite quote comes from Zach, when he is asked by his parents to show the younger kids how to interact with a young woman on a date. With his witty sense of humor, he turns the tables on them: "What did y’all do on dates? Y’all show us what y’all did on dates. We’d love to learn from y’all. I mean, y’alls’ love has lasted through 19 kids. What did y’all do?"

For more details on the episode, take a look at my recap, and watch my Fan File segment below.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Thursday, August 16, 2018

'Chaperoning Dos and Don'ts' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "Chaperoning Dos and Don'ts"

  • Having recently realized that their younger kids don’t know much about chaperoning, Gil and Kelly host a Chaperoning 101 class. “We noticed our chaperones are getting younger and younger and younger,” says Kelly. “And some of these little guys think that chaperoning means getting a free meal.
  • When the parents ask Zach and Whitney to demonstrate how a courting couple should act on a date, Zach jokingly turns the tables. “What did y’all do on dates?” he questions. “Y’all show us what y’all did on dates. We’d love to learn from y’all. I mean, y’alls’ love has lasted through 19 kids. What did y’all do?” Everyone busts out laughing.
  • While they do believe in chaperones, Gil and Kelly also encourage those chaperoning to let the couple have chances to talk privately, as long as they are in a public place. For example, they might get a private table at a restaurant.
  • Speaking of chaperones, Katie accompanies Josie to Kelton’s house to eat with him and his family. “I think we’ve kind of agreed that when we first get married, we’re probably going to cook together since I’m not a very good cook yet,” admits Josie. Kelton’s youngest sister, Kerstin, shows off the bunnies that she got for her birthday. They end the day with ice cream at Cruze Farm Dairy.
  • About a month before they move, Tori and Bobby drive to Hendersonville (near Nashville) to meet with Greg Mutsch, senior pastor at the church, Bible Baptist, that has hired Bobby as its youth pastor.
  • They also tour some beautiful, two-bedroom apartments in the area. “If it doesn’t smell bad, I’m happy,” laughs Tori.
  • While in Hendersonville, Tori and Bobby go on a double date at a bowling alley with Carlin and Evan. “This is totally going to be our future, like every weekend, as much as we can,” says Tori.
  • Lawson stops by to join in on the fun and jokingly accuses them of discriminating against single people when they don’t allow him in their couples’ picture.
  • Back in Rocky Top, Bradley helps Zach build a dog house for Boomer. “One thing Zach’s great at is building,” says Lawson. “He just needs to make it big enough so he can fit in it,” adds Carlin, smiling.

Couples Plus Lawson

Evan Stewart, Carlin Bates, Tori Smith, Bobby Smith

"We have this perfect little double date picture of what our future is going to look like, and then there was also the reminder of another part of our future, which is the fact that Lawson's always in Nashville."
-Bobby Smith

While the Smiths are on a bowling date with Carlin and Evan, Lawson makes a surprise appearance. But when he wants to jump in their couples' photo, his sisters make it very clear that he must do one thing before he can join them: get a date. Check out this preview of tonight's new episode:

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Keilens Celebrate 3 Years

Michael Bates and Brandon Keilen wedding

Do you remember watching Michael Bates marry Brandon Keilen on a past episode of Bringing Up Bates? It may feel like their wedding was yesterday, but they have been husband and wife for three years now. Happy anniversary to the Keilens! To see their wedding photo shoot, watch the video below.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Prayers for Zach and Whitney

Zach Bates, Whitney Bates, Bradley Bates, Kaci Bates

In mid-June, we shared news of Zach and Whitney Bates' vow renewal. On that day, Bradley Bates and Kaci Bates announced to family and friends that their mommy was pregnant. But soon after, the expectant parents were told at an obstetrics appointment that their baby had stopped growing. We know they would appreciate your prayers, as they still hope to grow their family.

Photo courtesy of Zach and Whitney Bates

Monday, August 13, 2018

Daddy and Daughters

What a cute photo of John and his girls! The Websters love putting their daughters in matching clothes.

 Lexi Webster, John Webster, Zoey Webster, Allie Webster

Photo courtesy of Alyssa and John Webster

Court Like a Bates

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka
Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

This week on Bringing Up Bates, hear the Bates family discuss courtship. We think you'll find this video preview to be fresh and entertaining..and perhaps a bit awkward.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Friday, August 10, 2018

An October Bates Bride

Another Bates wedding is in the works! And in true Bates fashion, the engagement will be only a few months long. Josie Bates and Kelton Balka are planning an October wedding, so Josie will be an autumn bride.

Photo courtesy of Josie Bates/

Bates Fan File 729

Another week, another beautiful Bates baby born (try saying that five times fast)! Did you enjoy watching Everly Paine's debut? It sure was a dramatic but emotional delivery. For more on the episode, check out my Fan File segment below.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Thursday, August 9, 2018

'Labor Paines' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "Labor Paines"

  • “My last week of pregnancy, I’m always so uncomfortable,” admits Erin. “I’m anxious, I’m worried about how the birth experience is going to be.”
  • Erin hits up a local nail salon with Tori, Carlin, Katie, and Whitney to relax before labor and delivery. “Every time I look down at this big thing in my belly and realize that it’s got to come out, it’s disturbing,” laughs the expectant mama.
  • Chad stops by the nail salon after work. He enjoys learning all about the process, and he loves the comfy chairs.
  • Kelly and Erin take the kids for a walk at Norris Dam, hoping that it will jump start labor. Kelly is looking forward to welcoming another grandbaby.
  • At 9:05pm, Erin is having strong contractions and is really nervous. Carlin comes over to the Paine house to start filming. “I’m really excited to be a part of all of it,” says Carlin. They leave for the hospital, which is 30 minutes away, around 9:45.
  • During the drive, labor starts to pick up. “And when Erin goes to the kneeling position, I’m like, ‘Oh boy, we are in trouble,’” says Chad.
  • Erin tries to convince her husband to run a red light, but Chad says there are too many cars around. But when he speeds up on the highway, she tells him to slow down. Go figure. When they finally arrive at the hospital and get a room, Erin is relieved.
  • Gil, Kelly, Michael, and Katie arrive. No one can get in touch with Tori, who had really wanted to be at the birth. Katie has even tried pounding on her front door, but to no avail.
  • At 3:37am, Gil looks at the monitor and realizes that it could be time to push. The nurses come rushing in, but Dr. Vic has stepped away. The doctor arrives just in time, and Everly appears. “There’s really no words to describe what it’s like to see your baby,” says Chad. Everyone is crying tears of joy. Gil comes back in and joins the celebration. Katie is on the couch sleeping during the entire birth.
  • “This has been the most adventure-filled, blessing-filled, 96 hours, probably of our life,” says Gil. “To have two new granddaughters, two healthy moms, and now looking forward to what the Lord’s going to do next.”
  • Later, Carson and Brooklyn arrive, and they are elated to meet Everly. Brooklyn calls her a baby doll. The rest of the Bates clan visits the hospital to hold and kiss the new arrival.
  • “Awe, this makes me want to have another baby,” Erin says during the interview. The look on Chad’s face says no. “Okay, we’re done interviewing,” he says and jokingly starts to stand up.

Everly's Birth Episode

Last week, we met Zoey Webster and heard about Alyssa Webster's delivery. Tonight on Bringing Up Bates, its time to meet Everly Paine. Erin Paine is a "people person" and enjoys having lots of support during labor, so her delivery was filmed.

In the video clip below, it's 3:30am, and Erin's hospital guests are falling asleep left and right. But Gil Bates is paying attention to the monitor, and he picks up on something that others miss.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bates Boys' Whisper Challenge

Jackson Bates, Trace Bates, Isaiah Bates, Warden Bates

Happy mid-week. Here is a fun whisper challenge video, featuring lyrics to some of Lawson Bates' songs. These Bates boys are pretty good at it!

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Monday, August 6, 2018

Erin vs. Alyssa

Erin Bates Paine pregnancy

"I'm a people person. I know some people are private, but I love people [at the hospital]."
-Erin (Bates) Paine

Alyssa Webster prefers privacy during labor, but Erin Paine is the opposite. She thrives when people are around her to provide encouragement (see video below). When it comes to going through pain, do you tend to be more like Erin or Alyssa?

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Brooklyn Turns 2

It feels like just yesterday that we were sharing Brooklyn Paine's pregnancy and birth announcements, and now she's turning two! Happy birthday, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Paine, June 2018
Brooklyn Paine, June 2018 

Brooklyn Paine
Brooklyn Paine, May 2017

Photos courtesy;

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Bates #10 Turns 19

A day late and a dollar short. We were away from the computer all day yesterday and were unable to write a post for Josie's birthday, but it's never too late to wish someone a happy birthday, right? Well, there's probably a limit of how long you can go, but one day certainly isn't a big deal. Happy 19th, Josie!

Below are a few more photos from Josie and Kelton's engagement, taken by the talented Emily Klarer of Emily Klarer Photography.

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka engagement
Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

Photos are courtesy of Emily Klarer Photography; used with permission

Friday, August 3, 2018

Callie's Birthday in NYC

As we shared on the blog, yesterday was Callie Bates' 9th birthday. This blessed little girl celebrated in New York City with Kelly and Judson. Friends gave them tickets to The Lion King on Broadway, and they also spent time at a trampoline park.

Callie Bates and Judson Bates
Callie Bates and Judson Bates

Callie Bates and Judson Bates

Photos courtesy of

Zoey's Speedy Arrival

Zoey Webster birth

Zoey Webster is here, and she's perfect! In this web exclusive, Alyssa Websters shares more details of her [very quick] birth.

Zoey Webster newborn

Photos/video courtesy of UP

Bates Fan File 728

Last night on Bringing Up Bates, we met Zoey Webster and watched Lawson Bates and Trace Bates ride in their first rodeo show. Be sure to check my written recap, as well as my Fan File (embedded below).

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Thursday, August 2, 2018

'A Bundle of Joy and a Rodeo Show' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "A Bundle of Joy and a Rodeo Show"

  • Kelly arrives in Florida to visit Alyssa, who has been having steady contractions all week. She pampers her daughter with a trip to a local nail salon.  “It’s great when my mom comes to town,” says Alyssa. “She relieves so much stress.”
  • At Alyssa’s request, Kelly shares some advice for surviving with three kids: “I would try to remind myself the blessings in front of me and laugh at the silly things, not get stressed over the unimportant things.”
  • Early the next morning, Kelly receives a call at the hotel that Zoey has arrived. “Whenever she says she thinks she’s going into labor, she doesn’t tell me anymore because I’m like, ‘Oh, we need to go,’” says John. “Why risk having the baby here?” “He freaks out,” says Alyssa, laughing.
  • The baby is born within an hour and a half of the time that the Websters arrive at the birthing center. Kelly is thrilled to be invited to meet them at the center just before they are released to leave. “I have held a lot of babies, but it always just puts me in awe, the tears that it brings when you see it and it’s there and it’s healthy and you’re holding it,” says Granny. “Every time, it’s new and fresh and wonderful and special.”
  • Back at the Webster home, Allie and Lexi are introduced to their new sister. “Zoey came out!” exclaims Allie. Gil arrives, and they do a video chat call with the kids back home. That night, Gil, Kelly, Alyssa, and John enjoy a takeout steak dinner.
  • Meanwhile, Lawson and Trace arrive in Shipshewana, Indiana, to participate in a rodeo with friend Shadow Montag.
  • During practice, the brothers enjoy showing each other up. “As far as the boys’ competitive spirit, they’re only competitive, normally, when they’re breathing, which is all the time,” says Gil. “So I don’t care what you do, the other one’s going to say, ‘Well I can do that, too.’”
  • Lawson opens the show with the national anthem. When it comes time for the boys to do their tricks, they are nervous, but the crowd loves their routines. After the show, they sign autographs.