Friday, August 31, 2018

Far Beyond Their Years

"Watching Josie and Kelton, you would never realize their age because they're mature far beyond their years. I keep forgetting that [Josie] is my little sister because she's so well-rounded and she's made so many goals for herself and achieved them."
-Zach Bates

Even though Josie Bates and Kelton Balka are just 19 and 23 years old (18 and 22 when this segment was filmed), Zach and Whitney Batesthink that their maturity levels are more similar to those of an older couple. In the web exclusive video below, the four discuss marriage.

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Bates Fan File 732

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

A new baby on the way, a new church building in the works, and a new phase in Josie and Kelton's relationship...last night's episode sure was jam packed with big Bates moments! For a discussion of the show, check out my Bringing Up Bates Fan File segment below.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Thursday, August 30, 2018

'Asking Permission and a Big Decision' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "Asking Permission and a Big Decision"
  • Zach and Whitney take Josie and Kelton out to dinner at Aubrey's Restaurant. "We get along really well with Zach and Whitney," says Kelton. "We really value their friendship and their counsel."
  • As soon as they sit down, Zach gets down to business and asks the courting couple when they are planning on getting engaged. "Zach is very to the point about everything in life," says Kelton. "It's refreshing, and it's kind of funny."
  • It turns out that Kelton is preparing to have a "large talk" with Gil. But first, he and Josie meet together with Gil and Kelly. "...We have come to the conclusion that we believe that the Lord is leading us toward marriage," says Kelton. "We want to seek your guidance on when a potential time frame could be to move forward with that. And we want to hear your heart on whether or not y'all are in agreement with that."
  • Josie's dream is to have a fall wedding, hopefully this year. That's only five months away. 
  • Gil isn't sure if he can handle another wedding so soon, but Kelly tells him, "Honey you better prepare because this is domino effect." He replies: "And I don't even play dominoes. Let's just say, these wedding things for the girls is going pretty good. The guys, let's just say the dominoes are not falling yet."
  • When Kelly tells Gil that both Josie and Carlin have already been browsing for wedding dresses online, Gil says, "We're getting rid of the internet, too." Josie busts out laughing.
  • But all joking aside, Gil wants his daughter to be happy. "Hey, we'll do all we can to help you do whatever we can do to help make your dream happen if we can," he says, in tears.
  • Later, Gil and some of the boys head over to the church building that they have recently moved into. The congregation has grown, so the plan is to tear half the sanctuary down and build a new one that seats almost 300 people. Lawson suggests keeping the current building and adding a separate sanctuary, but Gil ultimately decides to continue with the existing plan. The project will be completed by the Bates, other church members, and a group called Carpenters for Christ from Alabama.
  • Eight weeks into their pregnancy, Tori and Bobby have their first ultrasound at Dr. Vick's office. "I'll tell you, when you sit in that ultrasound room for the first time, all of the sudden you see that life moving around in there, it's insane," says Bobby.
  • Dr. Vick says that the ultrasound looks good. "Everything's great, I think, except for sickness," shares Tori, who is due November 24th. Tori's progesterone was low, but the doctor was able to bring it up with medicine. He also prescribes something to help with morning sickness.

Large Talks and Large Projects

Tonight on Bringing Up Bates, it's all about preparing for the future! Josie and Kelton meet with Zach and Whitney for advice ahead of a serious conversation with Gil and Kelly about engagement and marriage. When the couple "proposes" a timeline, will the Bates parents be on board, or will Gil's emotions get the better of him?

Also on tonight's episode, Tori and Bobby Smith get a first look at their baby during an eight-week ultrasound, and Gil kicks off a new church renovation project that truly is "Bates-sized."

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka; Zach and Whitney Bates
Josie Bates and Kelton Balka; Zach and Whitney Bates

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka; Gil and Kelly Bates
Josie Bates and Kelton Balka; Gil and Kelly Bates

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka
Laughing at Gil's humor

Gil Bates church
Renovating the church

Gil Bates church

Photos courtesy of UP

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Meet Baby Smith

Tori Bates Smith pregnancy

"I'll tell you, when you sit in that ultrasound room for the first time, all of the sudden, you see that life moving around in there, it's insane."
-Bobby Smith

Tomorrow on an all-new episode of Bringing Up Bates, Tori and Bobby Smith meet their son for the first time during an ultrasound performed at eight weeks (video below). In real time, Tori is approaching the 27-week mark, which means she will soon be in her third trimester.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Bates #5 Turns 25

Happy 25th birthday, Nathan!

Trace Bates, Nathan Bates, Lawson Bates
Trace Bates, Nathan Bates, Lawson Bates
Myrtle Beach, February 2018

Lawson Bates and Nathan Bates
Lawson Bates, Nathan Bates
Colorado, March 2018

Gil Bates, Nathan Bates, Lawson Bates
Gil Bates with Nathan Bates and Lawson Bates, 1994

Photos courtesy of, UP, Gil and Kelly Bates

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Cookies and Milk...for Babies?

"I've never been out of 'Merica, so I don't know."
-Zach Bates

In a new segment of Bates Around the World, Zach Bates, Whitney Bates, Nathan Bates, Lawson Bates, Gil Bates, Kelly Bates, Tori Smith, and Bobby Smith sample baby food from yet another country. And this one doesn't taste too bad...

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Monday, August 27, 2018

Zach's Advice for Kelton

Josie Bates and Kelton Balka

"They let you get this far, so all you gotta do is just ask. All they can say is 'not yet,' and then you just keep asking..."
-Zach Bates

In this first look at Thursday's episode, Josie Bates and Kelton Balka meet up with Zach and Whitney Bates to talk about their next steps: engagement and marriage. Kelton will soon ask for Gil's permission to propose, and he needs some advice.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Paines' Smiles

Happy Sunday afternoon! To brighten your day, we have some new photos of the Paine children to share with you. We just love their smiles.

Carson Paine and Brooklyn Paine
Carson Paine and Brooklyn Paine
With their blankets made by Michael Keilen

Everly Paine
Everly Paine

Photos courtesy of

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Next Steps for Trace and Josie

In this web exclusive from Thursday's episode, take a closer look at the Bates' graduation party, and hear about Trace Bates' next steps and Josie Bates' plans for the future.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Friday, August 24, 2018

Bates Fan File 731

I don't know about you, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Bates kids prepare for the future in last night's episode. Below is my Fan File segment.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Evan Turns 23

Today is Evan Stewart's 23rd birthday!

Evan Stewart and Carlin Bates
Evan Stewart and Carlin Bates

Evan Stewart and Zach Bates
Evan Stewart and Zach Bates

Evan Stewart and Carlin Bates
Evan Stewart and Carlin Bates

Evan Stewart and Carlin Bates
Evan Stewart and Carlin Bates

Photos courtesy of Carlin Bates

Thursday, August 23, 2018

'Milestones and New Chapters' Recap

Bringing Up Bates "Milestones and New Chapters"
  • Two weeks before moving to Nashville, Tori heads over to Erin's house for a cooking lesson. "I definitely need cooking lessons from Erin before I leave because I have a knack for always messing things up," says Tori. "I'm a struggling cooker."
  • Erin admits that she didn't know how to cook a single meal when she first got married. She shows Tori how to make her newest meal: chicken breasts marinated in balsamic vinegar and garlic.
  • The food turns out great, but Tori is still lacking confidence in her cooking abilities. Bobby and Chad join the ladies for dinner. "Me and Tori have always been close as sisters, and just at the thought of her just really tears me up," says Erin.
  • Meanwhile, Gil and the guys work on a tree job. "When Dad first started his own business, it was very humble beginnings," says Lawson. "This was Dad with a chainsaw and boys piling wood [and] hauling it with a little four-cylinder Dodge pickup truck."
  • The older boys are getting busier by the day, so it's time for Jackson to learn how to use spikes to climb a tree. It proves to be much more difficult than the tree climbing that Jackson is used to, but he makes it up to the top.
  • Later, the family attends the Crown College graduation ceremony to honor Tori, Trace, and Josie. Trace, who has completed the foundation for Christian life certificate, never saw himself going to college, but he ended up loving it. "College totally changed Trace for the better," says Josie. "It helped him come out of his box and kind of find who he was."
  • Josie has earned her diploma in cosmetology, a two-year program. "I'm honestly speechless," says Kelton. "I couldn't be more proud of her."
  • Tori is presented with a bachelor's of Biblical studies in elementary education, which took four years to complete. "I am literally so pumped out of my mind that I don't even know how to say it because I have been dying to be graduated for my whole life," says Tori.
  • "Everybody is different," says Kelly. "Some of the kids have wanted to purse college, some have not. They're all different, and I'm proud of all of my children. But it does take a lot of perseverance."
  • After the ceremony, the family and extended family gathers at the Bates house for a party. The next nine days will be spent packing Tori and Bobby's apartment and moving them to Nashville. "Any time I get together with my family or siblings, I treasure and cherish that moment..." says Tori.
  • "Life happens too quick," says Nathan. "Changes are getting bigger."

Tonight: Graduations and Next Steps

Tune in to UP for an-all new episode of Bringing Up Bates, tonight at 9pm ET/8pm CT. Erin gives Tori a cooking lesson, Jackson learns some new skills in the family tree business, and three Bates graduate from Crown College.

Tori Smith and Erin Paine
Tori Smith and Erin Paine

Bobby Smith and Everly Paine
Bobby Smith and Everly Paine

Bringing Up Bates college graduation
Crown graduation ceremony

Bringing Up Bates college graduation

Josie Bates, Kelton Balka, Trace Bates
Josie Bates, Kelton Balka, Trace Bates

Michael and Brandon Keilen,Carson Paine, Brooklyn Paine, Everly Paine
Michael and Brandon Keilen with Carson Paine, Brooklyn Paine, Everly Paine

Gil Bates, Lawson Bates, Kaci Bates
Gil Bates, Lawson Bates, Kaci Bates

Photos courtesy of UP

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Presents for the Bates College Grads

Bringing Up Bates college graduation

"Mom wanted me to get you all graduation presents...I said, 'I thought paying for college was enough for a present.'"
-Gil Bates

Tomorrow on Bringing Up Bates, watch Tori Bates Smith, Trace Bates, and Josie Bates celebrate their college graduations. In this video, Kelly, who was able to talk Gil into giving the kids presents, praises each child for a job well done.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Monday, August 20, 2018

Erin's Culinary Transformation

Call Bates, Ellie Bates, Addallee Bates

"When Erin first got married, the woman did not know how to cook."
-Trace Bates

"She couldn't make eggs."
-Ellie Bates

But now, almost five years later, having meals at the Paines' house is always a treat because Erin has become a highly skilled chef. In the video below, the Bates share their thoughts on Erin's cooking transformation.

Photo/video courtesy of UP

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Courting 1 Year

As of this month, Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart have been courting for one year. Prior to the start of their courtship, they were friends for almost a year. Although they live three hours apart, they are still able to see each other often.

This weekend, Carlin spent time in Nashville with Evan and his family. Accompanied by two of Evan's siblings, Kailyn and Ethan, they went golfing at Top Golf.

Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart
Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart

Photo courtesy of Carlin Bates

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