Monday, July 16, 2018

Josie the Hairdresser

"I know she's really good at it, they say, but I was a little nervous."
-Trace Bates

As we announced in February, Josie Bates (soon to be Josie Balka) has graduated from school and is working at a local salon. While the rest of the Bates family was quick to help her out in the early days of her career, Trace Bates is a little more particular about his hair. In a sneak peek video of this week's episode (embedded below), Trace finally allows Josie to trim his precious locks.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The 'Middle' Boys Visit Florida

As we learned on Thursday's episode, the Bates kids love visiting their married siblings. Whether they're up in Chicago with Michael and Brandon Keilen, down in Florida with Alyssa and John Webster, or just a few minutes away at the home of Zach and Whitney Bates or Erin and Chad Paine, there is always fun to be had.

The "middle" boys (Jackson Bates, Warden Bates, and Isaiah Bates) recently traveled down to Florida to spend time with the Websters. 

Alyssa Bates Webster and Zoey Webster
Warden Bates, Zoey Webster, Allie Webster, Alyssa Webster,
Lexi Webster, Jackson Bates, Isaiah Bates

Photo courtesy of Alyssa and John Webster

Fan File: Episode 725

For a look at each new episode of Bringing Up Bates, check out my weekly Fan File. My segment for "Lions, and Tigers, and Bates, Oh My!" is below. Enjoy!

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Friday, July 13, 2018

Motherly Michael

Michaela Bates

"From the time she was knee-high, she had this really mothering personality. They would tease her, in fact, growing up, because...that was her personality."
-Kelly Bates

Did you catch last night's episode? If not, be sure to check out our written recap. On the show, Michael Keilen enjoys a visit with the three youngest girls at her home in Chicago. In the web exclusive below, the Bates discuss Michael's motherly instincts. Although she lives several hours away, she is always begging her parents to send groups of siblings to stay with her.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Thursday, July 12, 2018

'Lions, and Tigers, and Bates, Oh My!' Recap

Bringing Up Bates  “Lions, and Tigers, and Bates, Oh My!”

  • “One of the most exciting places to visit is Michael and Brandon’s house,” says Nathan during an interview. Ellie, Addee, and Callie arrive in Chicago for a vacation with the Keilens. Their first activity is the Brookfield Zoo.
  • “I absolutely love the zoo,” says Michael, who has a membership.
  • Through the Animal Ambassador program at the zoo, the Keilens and the three girls are able to see a porcupine, a medium-sized African wildcat, a sloth, and an anteater up close.
  • Being near the wildcat has them feeling a bit nervous, but they enjoy feeding the sloth and anteater.
  • On another day, Michael teaches the girls to sew. An avid seamstress, Michael learned when she was around their age. “Michael is naturally wonderful with children,” says Zach during an interview.
  • The other Bates say they are thrilled for their sister to impart her sewing wisdom on the younger girls. “We’ll have stacks of clothing that need repairs or alterations that get put on hold until Michael arrives,” says Nathan.
  • Michael helps the girls make a baby blanket for Zoey.
  • Michael and Brandon also take Ellie, Addee, and Callie to Ceramic Art CafĂ© in La Grange, Illinois, to paint pottery. The last time Michael and Brandon were at the shop, they were courting and about to be engaged.
  • Ellie chooses a horse figurine, Addee paints a jewelry box with unicorns, and Callie selects a coffee cup for Alyssa. “It was just cute watching Callie,” laughs Brandon. “She was very intent...”
  • “Every chance I have to spend time with siblings is just so refreshing,” says Michael, sad to see her siblings return home.
  • Back in Tennessee, Bobby and Tori arrive at the Bates’ church before sunrise on a Sunday morning to do a thorough clean ahead of service. In May, the Smiths will move to Hendersonville (near Nashville) so Bobby can begin a youth pastor position at a local church.
  • Later, while much of the rest of the family is out of the house, Gil, Judson, and Jeb set out to build a seesaw. Although the boys nearly lose interest, Gil is able to keep them on track, and they are thrilled with the outcome.
  • “I’d rather buy them tools and things they can do than just toys they just play with,” says Gil.
  • Kelly is proud of their handiwork, but when Jeb nearly flies off, she says she is going to print a list of seesaw rules.
  • “Anything you buy at the store, you’ll find a little unintended use disclaimer,” says Zach. “We’re the reason for that.”

Lions, and Tigers, and Bates, Oh My!

 Gil Bates and Judson Bates

Are you looking forward to tonight's new episode of Bringing Up Bates? Scroll down for TV listings and snapshots from the snow.

Thursday, July 12
8pm: Bobby's Happy Camper
8:30pm: Hit the Road Jack
9pm: Lions, and Tigers, and Bates, Oh My! NEW!
Now that Michael and Brandon have more spacious digs, it’s Addee, Ellie and Callie’s turn to visit their big sis in Chicago! Michael gives the girls their first sewing lesson, and they enjoy some bonding time while painting ceramics at a pottery studio and visiting one of Michael’s favorite places in Chicago – the zoo. Meanwhile back home, Gil spends some quality time with Jud and Jeb by making a seesaw, while Tori and Bobby ponder their upcoming move to Nashville with mixed emotions.
10pm: SUN Day, Fun Day

Callie Bates, Ellie Bates, Addallee Bates
Callie Bates, Ellie Bates, and Addallee Bates pose with an African wildcat

Michael Bringing Up Bates
Ellie feeds a sloth

Michael Bates Keilen
Michael Keilen feeds an anteater

Photos courtesy of UP 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Gil and the Boys Build a Seesaw

"At first, they're all gung-ho...but their attention spans are not that long."
-Gil Bates

On tomorrow's episode, Gil recruits Judson and Jeb to help him build a seesaw. The boys are thrilled to begin the project, but they are a little less excited to carry it to completion (see video below).

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Erin's Kiddos

Counting Tori and Bobby Smith's son (to arrive in November), the Paine kiddos make up one-third of Gil and Kelly Bates' grandchildren. Carson just turned three years old, Brooklyn will celebrate her second birthday next month, and Everly is three months.

Life with three youngins is far from easy (who else can attest to that?), but look how cute they are!

Brooklyn Paine, Carson Paine, Everly Paine
Brooklyn Paine, Carson Paine, Everly Paine

Photo courtesy of

Monday, July 9, 2018

Bates Feed an Anteater

Addallee Bates feeds and anteater

This Thursday on Bringing Up Bates, Addallee, Ellie, and Callie Bates visit Michael and Brandon Keilen in Chicago. During their trip, they stop by one of the city's zoos and have the opportunity to feed an anteater (video below). Would you be brave enough to go near this unusual animal?

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Saturday, July 7, 2018

11 Bates Sisters...And Counting?

The Bates love spending time together, but gathering the entire family in one place is always a challenge. They recently met up for a photo shoot, which was much needed with all the new additions. The sisters plus sister-in-law Whitney snapped this picture, and we think it's just gorgeous.

Michael Keilen, Whitney Bates, Tori Smith, Erin Paine, Addallee Bates
Ellie Bates, Carlin Bates, Josie Bates (soon to be Josie Balka), 
Alyssa Webster, Katie Bates, Callie Bates

Photo courtesy of Carlin Bates/

Friday, July 6, 2018

Pig Latin Whisper Challenge

Carlin Bates, Evan Stewart, Erin Paine, Chad Paine
Carlin Bates, Evan Stewart, Erin Paine, Chad Paine

Are you familiar with Pig Latin? In this video, Erin, Chad, Carlin, and Evan try their hand at the whisper challenge with a twist. Rather than using the regular English pronunciations of words, they must speak in Pig Latin. It's a struggle, for sure!

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Thursday, July 5, 2018

2 Bates Birthdays on July 4th

Not only was yesterday Independence Day, but the Bates also celebrated two birthdays--Papa Bill's and Kelton Balka's. (Papa Bill turned 80!) Below is a photo of the newly engaged couple, Josie and Kelton. Stay tuned for wedding news.

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka
Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

Photo courtesy of Josie Bates/

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Josie and Kelton's Engagement Trip

For those who haven't heard, Josie Bates is now engaged. Kelton Balka popped the question during a vacation to Arches National Park in Utah. The couple was accompanied by Gil and Kelly, as well as Kelton's father, Michael.

The engagement getaway doubled as an early birthday trip for Josie, who turns 19 on August 4th (making Josie the youngest Bates daughter to get engaged). The group visited a total of five national parks.

Michael Balka, Kelton Balka, Josie Bates
Michael Balka, Kelton Balka, Josie Bates

Kelton Balka, Josie Bates, Gil Bates
Kelton Balka, Josie Bates, Gil Bates

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

Gil and Kelly Bates

Photos courtesy of

Monday, July 2, 2018

Bates Baby Food

Bates try baby food

"Yep, that's from Florida. Smooshed banana from Florida."
-Lawson Bates

In honor of the two new Bates grandbabies and the one to come, several members of the family taste an interesting type of baby food and attempt to guess what country it's from (video below). Are you familiar with the food that they sample?

Photo/video courtesy of UP