The Bates Family

Zach On the Road Again!

by Kelly on October 6, 2011

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Michaella, Lawson, & Addee accompanied Zach to the Reith’s house in Missouri for a few days just before Zach embarked on a 3 week excursion with the Reith family. The Reiths sang in various churches and festivals in Minnesota and Montana.

The trip gave them a wonderful opportunity to minister and share their faith. It also gave Zach & Sarah time together as their courtship continues to blossom. We are grateful for their commitment to God, to their families, and now to each other. Vacation summer 2011 121

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June-July2011 2248272244July 2011 066

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura September 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm

If/when Zach and Sarah marry, will Zach officially join their group?

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Gil September 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Dear Laura,
He’s loves music, but we’ll have to wait and see! Love, Kelly

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Nan September 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm

So exciting! I hope they had a great trip. Have they set a date yet? Are they planning to have all the siblings in the wedding party?? Any other potential courtships in the works?
God bless!
Nan

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Gil September 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Dear Nan,
No, they’re not talking about dates yet… Zach is still finishing up his college and they are enjoying this stage of getting to know each other better. Since their relationship is long distance, they don’t get to see each other often and want to make this time special. Love, Kelly

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Mandi September 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

What wonderful, fun pictures! So glad to see the members of both families getting to know one another and the couple spending time together. How sweet of Zach to bring flowers and how kind for him to tend to the sales table for the Reiths. Praying for Zach and Sarah and both families during the courtship.

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Ariana September 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

A big THANK YOU to you and your children (especially Zach) for setting such a godly example. As a mother of two little boys courtships like these give me such hope that indeed our children do not have to succomb to the trends/ways of this world. May the Lord continue to bless your family!

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Brenda September 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Kelly, How did the 20 week check-up with the baby go? Everything alright? Hope so.

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Gil September 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Dear Brenda,
I’m doing great and baby is moving all around… Thanks for asking! Love, Kelly

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sonja petersen September 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Dear Bates,
Sarah and Zach are such a nice couple. I can see the happyness in their eyes, may God bless their hearts!
What is the Reiths dog’s name? He looks cute!
Love, Sonja

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Gil October 2, 2011 at 4:52 am

Dear Sonja,
The Reith’s dog is named Mabel and she’s a sweetie! Love, Kelly

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kyra September 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

that looks like a fun trip, and my daughters would have loved to meet the calf! zach and sarah look very happy with eachother, and your updates of them remind me of my courtship with my husband, almost 7 years, and 3 children ago…time flys when your having fun, we also had a long distance courtship until we were engaged then i moved in with his parents, but tell them to cherish every second, and always be thankful : )

p.s great news on baby, i bet you are all very excited for the new arrival, my best friend has just had tiny twin boys, Alfie and Archie, Alfie has a heart murmer, that so far hasnt healed, so if you could join me in prayer for them, i would appreciate it.

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Camila September 30, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Hello Bates Family! I’m so glad to see how this beautiful couple is going! One curious question: Why Zach and Sarah usually wear the same t-shirt in this photos?
Grace and Peace, Camila.

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Gil October 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Dear Camilla,
They like to match. If they have several photos in the same shirt, they were probably taken on the same day. Love, Kelly

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Kay W September 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Dear Kelly, so glad to hear that the 20 week check up went well. Does Alyssa know the sex yet? That would surely be a hard secret to keep!!

Zach and Sarah are just adorable together, aren’t they? Glad to hear they have no plans set in cement and are just enjoying the journey. I do have a question, assuming that ’19 Kids and Counting’ is still on TV, and further assuming that the Duggars would be invited to the wedding (a sure bet!) would Zach and Sarah allow the TLC crew to film the wedding? I read a letter from Anna’s brother-in-law that the TLC crew was pretty pushy about how they wanted things done at Josh and Anna’s wedding. Just speculating, as usual, Love, Kay

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Gil October 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Dear Kay,
Alyssa doesn’t know the gender yet, but will probably find out around the 34 week mark. She’s pretty good with secrets, although it does get complicated because she’ll have to show know signs when we’re picking names for both genders or shopping for outfits! She’s excited!
As for wedding plans, Zach and Sarah are not discussing wedding details yet… or else it would be hard to keep their minds on anything else!! But as for Josh and Anna’s wedding, I didn’t sense the film crew being that way at all… In fact, I think the Duggars have the sweetest and most thoughtful film crew… They all act more like family! They’ve always been extremely kind to us! Anna doesn’t mind saying what she thinks, so I doubt anyone would have over ridden her wishes. I’m not sure what the comment was referring to and I haven’t asked the Duggars their thoughts on it, so I can’t speak for them… but everyone seemed pleasantly pleased at the time! Love, Kelly

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Susan October 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

Your children are so beautiful! Zach and Sarah seem to be glowing. When does he finish school? I am glad to hear you and baby are doing well. Thank you for your posts, I love to hear how your family is doing! When is your due date?

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Gil October 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Dear Susan,
He hopes to finish in one year. My due date is Valentine’s Day… isn’t that sweet?! Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe October 1, 2011 at 2:37 am

Kelly,

That is wonderful that you and the baby are doing well. We have been praying for you both. Love the pictures you posted. Looks like Zach is having a lot of fun! **Love their Southern Raised t-shirts too**

Lauren

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Christy October 1, 2011 at 2:39 am

So sweet!

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Susan October 1, 2011 at 3:10 am

I forgot to ask, did Michaella make the dress she was wearing in the picture with Addallee?

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Gil October 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Dear Susan,
Anna Duggar had made it as a maternity dress, then Michaella took it apart to resew it to fit herself. Love, Kelly

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Lindsey October 1, 2011 at 4:13 am

I just adore your family! I enjoy reading the updates and it always brings me joy to see how the lord has blessed yalls family!! Can’t wait to hear what the baby will be and the name!! Your children’s names are adorable! ( So are the kids!! :) )

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Lynn October 1, 2011 at 5:05 am

AWWWW!!!! That is so sweet!!!! Zach is a very good example of how a young man should be.
It has been a while since I have written, are you and the little one your carrying ok???
My family is doing so much better, my girls are becoming more and more excited at bible time. They want to do it now, they look forward to haveing it, and if we lose track of time, they are right there saying mom, it is time to do our Bible. Man, if only I had known before all this how much this makes a difference in my children and relationships. God is so awsome!!! He is amazing!!!
Thank you for sharing such a wonderful Savior to me!!

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Mac October 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Looks like ya’ll had a good time :)
Michaella, I could feel from the pictures the special bond you and Addee have. You are a wonderful big sister!
Glad Zach and Sarah had this time together. They make a beautiful couple.

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Sarah October 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Dear Kelly,
Im glad to here that you and the baby are doing great I pray for you and your family evry night! Tell Alyssa I said hi for me please and that I hope one day I will be able to meet distant friends!! Love and God Bless Sarah!!

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Johnna October 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Hi Kelly,

Just wondering what kind of job does Zach have that allows him to take so much time off work to travel? Also, is he required by Sarah’s father to have a home paid for before he would allow her to marry him. These are just some things I have heard about folks who court and I’m interested.
Thanks,
Johnna

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Gil October 2, 2011 at 4:15 am

Dear Johnna,
Zach is a county commissioner , but several of his meetings were cancelled for that month which gave him some extra time off. He also works with his Dad in the tree business, but earned some vacation time for a worthy cause. I guess what each parent requires is up to the parent. Zach wants to have a reasonable amount saved, but is content to rent for a while if necessary. He worked as a framer and hopes to build one day. But as for Mr. Reith’s requirements, Zach would climb Mt. Everest for Sarah if he was asked to!! Love, Kelly

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Kay W October 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Glad to get another opinion of the film crew. They always seem not only family but helpful and involved to me. I’ve seen them do lots of things that probably aren’t their actual jobs, like pick up diapers at the store and pick up pizzas, not to mention helping in the yard and moving. I was surprised by the letter that Anna’s brother-in-law posted, but then I thought well, he was there and I wasn’t so maybe….!

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Lauren Sharpe October 2, 2011 at 3:27 am

Kay,

Did you see my msg to you on the last blog post?

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Lauren Sharpe October 2, 2011 at 3:29 am

Kelly,

I am working with Jacob to potty train him. Do you have any advice for me? I’m trying to stay patient and let him take his time, not rushing him. He has the “tete” part down but not the “other”. If you haven’t written me back you can just add that to your letter back to me, or post on here :) Either way is fine with me.

Lauren

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Gil October 2, 2011 at 4:11 am

Dear Lauren,
I’m not the type parent that has been adamant about my children potty training by 18 mos. like some aggressive parents require. Most of mine have trained between 2 1/2 to 3 years old (with the exception of 2 that trained about 3-4 months after turning 3). I have known parents that trained early, but had to practically keep their little ones on the potty all day to do so. I’ve known others that tried to potty train their very very young, but said they felt like they were living their lives in the bathroom. I took a more relaxed approach and found that they will train without all of the time consuming hassle. Give lots of praise and encouragement. If you wait until 2 1/2 to 3 yrs. old you can set a timer for every 30 minutes or so, then remind them to try. Keeping them in undies helps them remembe,r because diapers absorb so much that they don’t recognize their wetness. If your little one has already accomplished the wetting, you’re half way there. Some children tend to be a little more constipated and have a harder time having a bowel movement… for those children, a little extra time and encouragement and they’ll finish the process. Buy them some new underwear with pictures as an incentive and tell them its their reward for putting poop in the potty! Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe October 2, 2011 at 4:31 am

Kelly,
Thank you so much for the motivation to keep at it and to not rush things. He is 2 and I haven’t been really strict with him on going potty. I give him M&Ms every time he potties as well. He likes that. :) I was beginning to feel crazy for a while.

Lauren

p.s when I get your letter next I have some pictures of us :) I’m really excited for you to see them. Jacob’s a cutie pie just like your children.

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Laura October 2, 2011 at 5:17 am

I saw that you mentioned that Zach is finishing up college studies. What is he studying? And I’m curious about what a county commissioner does also. Sounds like an interesting job for such a young man!

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Gil October 5, 2011 at 2:44 am

Dear Laura,
Zach is majoring in history and criminal justice. A county commissioner is the legislative branch of the county government. Love, Kelly

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Jennifer October 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Kay, I know which letter/ blog you are talking about and I don’t think anyone has been able to confirm that it really was written by a family member. Most people assume so because it speaks positively of the family and sounds believable… but I would still regard it with a healthy amount of suspicion.

This is somewhat off topic but my church has decided to spend the next 9 days praying and fasting for an end to abortion and I wanted to invite anyone who is interested to join our prayers at this time (and invite others to do so!). In October we always try to increase our efforts to encourage others to respect all life.

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Marilyn October 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hi Kelly,
I hope all the Bateses are doing well this crisp October afternoon. I read on your website that Zach is majoring in History and Criminal Justice. Is he hoping to go into law inforcement in the future, or perhaps study Law? I majored in History and am a teacher; love it! Does he have a favourite era of history? Mine was British History – especially the Tudor and Stuart eras. How is Michaela’s English degree coming along? Who are her favourite authors? Which of your little ones are just begining school now? Any special school field trips planned? Do you sometimes divide up your children for field trips; sometimes a field trip that is great for the under 8′s is not so interesting for the older kids, while there are some fiels trips that just are over the comprehension level of the little ones.

Sorry about this long and somewhat rambling post. I saw your family on tv and came across your blog a year or so ago. While our lives have went down very differnet paths, I admire your genuine friendliness and compassion for others. It certainly seems you and Gil have passed those traits onto your children. Wishing you all the best!

~Marilyn

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Gil October 8, 2011 at 2:00 am

Dear Marilyn,
1.Zach loves ALL history. He really enjoys the Civil War era. Right now, he works with the sherrif’s dept…. so, he has a great many credits toward that degree.
2. Addallee (Kind.) through Nathan (Senior) are in school. Zach, Michaella, Erin, and Lawson are working towards their college degrees.
3. Sometimes the younger children end up being the ones to go on field trips just because the older ones have work and college responsibilities. One of our favorite past field trips was a visit to Sgt. Alvin York’s homeplace. Since I have so many that love history, it was a real treat! Love, Kelly

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Marjolein October 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Dear Kelly,

I cannot find enough words to say how thankful I am for you and Michelle Duggar. You are such great examples for me. I really want to be like Jesus in everything, but I struggle so often. I just want to be a good (pastors)wife for my husband and a good mother to my children, but how? I didn’t got the right example at home and then the Lord showed me the Duggar show and your precious family. I learned so much from you and still learning ;-) Your attitude towards your husband is so respectful and loving and the way you love your children, cherish them en speak softly to them is such an exemple for other women. I really see the fruit of the Spirit trough your lives. I thank you for putting great links on your blog also, so I can listen to those sermons etc. too.

Just a question: How did you learn to speak so nice, lovely, respectful and softly to your husband, children and others? Is this in your character of did you practise this? Did you read a book about it or heard a sermon about it? I really try hard to be respectful and loving and speak softly, but sometimes I really fail badly.

And another question: how do you lose weight after giving birth? After my twins were born, a year ago, I still have to lose 20 pounds, but I don’t know how (well, I do a little;-))to lose this extra weight.
Maybe you have some tips?

I wish you and your family all the best and I pray that the Lord will bless the fruit of your womb, that this child will give glory to his Maker and that he or she will grow up and serve the Lord with all her/his heart.

Your sister in Christ,

Marjolein from the Netherlands

p.s. If you EVER consider to come to the Netherlands, you and your family are more then welcome ;-)

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Gil October 8, 2011 at 1:51 am

Dear Marjolein,
1. No, it is not always my character to speak softly, patiently, and lovingly at all times to my children or husband. It is something I have to work at. None of us are perfect, and each of us can become irritated, angry, dissapointed, or hurt which can cause us to have an unfavorable response. I have to be alert to what things rouse me and know my tendencies to weakness in those areas so that I can be on guard to seek a more appropriate way to respond. Gil recently shared a message on this very topic called “The One Failure No Family Can Afford to Make.” If you’ll send your address with a note requesting that message, I’ll send one… or you can check with IBLP to see if you can order it from this year’s Indianapolis homeschool conference.
2. I used to be able to manage my weight better after pregnancies… by nursing, staying active, and drinking water… however, now that I’m over 40, I find it hard to lose. I’ve never really gone back down to my normal size since Addallee (who is 5). I guess I need to develop more self control in my eatingb habits. Love, Kelly

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michelle October 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm

hello kelly, glad to hear the pregnancy is going well. what I want to know is if u can give me some pointers on becoming debt free

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Gil October 3, 2011 at 4:10 am

Dear Michelle,
The best financial advice we’ve ever received was gained through The Financial Freedom Seminar by Jim Sammons (available through IBLP online bookstore). The hardest thing to learn to apply…. but also the most helpful, is learning to be content with what you have… or don’t have! Learning to be resourceful, thrifty, and creative are also important, because we can easily over spend or waste without these qualities. Learning to tithe and be wise stewards of what God has entrusted is essential, because we must realize all we have really belongs to God… that understanding helps us take better care of His property! And last but not least, learning to be generous to others helps us put our value on things that are more important than our wealth. There are difficult times of waiting and praying, but these times can draw us closer to Christ, help us reestablish our priorities, and increase our faith. During hard times, reading the biographies of missionaries and other men of God help renew our enthusiasm to serve God wholeheartedly despite our circumstances! Debt doesn’t usually go away overnight… it takes one step at a time. We have a friend, Henry Burgraff, that does a lot of financial counselling to help people become debt free. In fact, he loaned us his Financial Freedom tapes to watch around 19 years ago! Love, Kelly

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Pam October 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm

This is not related to the great photos above; but, I wanted to let you know I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond to an e-mail I had sent! Your words (and family) are such an encouragement to me! Thank you!!!

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Tonya October 3, 2011 at 4:06 am

Dear Kelly,
I was wondering if you have any organizing tips you could share. I homeschool three kids, then have the baby and another one on the way and it seems my house is always a cluttered mess!! It’s always dishes, laundry, toys or just stuff that’s never in it’s spot or doesn’t even has a real spot. We live in a small rental house while we’re saving money to build out of pocket so I can’t hang shelves or anything and every inch of our place is used!! Hope you have some suggestions!! Thanks, Tonya

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Victoria October 3, 2011 at 4:22 am

flowers and cheesecake…. looks like zach has figured out the way to a woman’s heart! good man, good man.

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Brenda H. October 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Good Morning!
My husband & I went to see the movie Courageous last night which was made by the same folks who made Fireproof. ( about Fireproofing your marriage) Courageous is about Fatherhood & how very important it is-the role & responsibilities. I would strongly encourage all of you to go! It made me laugh, cry & think.
The Duggars get a shout out in the credits & Jessa & Joy Duggar are in one of the scenes!
God Bless all our Fathers..
Brenda H.

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Kris Hackel October 3, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Dearest Kelly,
Thanks for the beautiful photos. It’s so fun to see what your family is up to. Let Michaella know how beautiful she and Addee looked together. It must have been a special time for both of them too! Hope all is well with ya’ll and I’ll write soon. Tell everyone Hey from the Hackels! Love ya Kris

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Molly October 3, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Looks like such a fun time! The Reith son has grown so tall since the time he was on the Duggar show! Sarah and Zach look very happy and Zach is a good man to bring flowers and cheesecake, haha :)

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Susan October 4, 2011 at 12:56 am

Valentine’s Day would be a wonderful day to have a baby. There is a quote from one of my favorite book/movies “Love Comes Softly” that says “Babies are a testament to love.” I am praying everything continues to go smoothly!

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Jazz October 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Dear Kelly,

glad you’re doing so well! Valentine’s day is a great day to have a baby.

“But as for Mr. Reith’s requirements, Zach would climb Mt. Everest for Sarah if he was asked to!!”

Aww. I think that is something everyone can see in the pictures. They look so completely smitten with each other.

What interests me is: Now that October has begun and everyone is thinking about Halloween…does your family do anything for /on Halloween or do you completely oppose that day? Do you celebrate anything else (like reformation?) or is the 31st Oct. just another ordinary day at the Bates family’s house?

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Gil October 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Dear Jazz,
We do not celebrate Halloween because of its historical background. We are not opposed to children having fun, dressing up, or eating candy… we just choose to do those things at other times throughout the year because of Halloween’s association. We know plenty of wonderful families that do participate and we know that many people are unaware of Halloween’s background… so, we in no ways want to sound condemning or judgemental of their preferences. We have been to Harvest celebrations and get togethers with friends on the weekend and we have also used the evening for a family fun night together with games or a video. Love, Kelly

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Casey October 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Looks like so much fun! Love these pictures!

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Hayley October 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Kelly,
We do not celebrate Halloween for the same reason! I am one of ten children and I love reading your blog!
BTW, do any of your other children travel with Zach besides Michaella and Addee and Lawson? It just kind of seems like Michaella and Addee went with him last time… you have beautiful children!

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Gil October 5, 2011 at 2:39 am

Dear Hayley,
The children are all taking turns going with Zach. No one has been twice yet. So far, Michaella, Lawson, Alyssa, Trace, & Addee have gone. Love, Kelly

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michelle October 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm

kelly
thanks for responding, the info was very helpful..u inspire me..thanks again

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SwimGirl201 October 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Hey Bates!
I just wanted to say what an inspiration your family is to me. My life has really changed since I first saw your wonderful family on 19 Kids and Counting. I was so touched by the love that you all have for each other, it is a blessing. I grew up also in a large conservative Christian family with 9 kids. I have seen some of my siblings become more liberal and worldly since we were kids. I myself have stayed more conservative, and am the only daughter who still wears skirts! I am so encouraged by the example of how your children love each other and encourage one another. I am praying for you and baby 19! So is Alyssa the buddy? How do you choose buddies, what is Michella up to… I know Erin is in college, is Michalla? Have Alyssa and Tori graduated?
I am also totally encouraged watching you care for your little ones. My husband and I are working towards starting our family and it is so encouraging to gain ideas from a great role model!! Love to all…Anna

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Gil October 5, 2011 at 2:37 am

Dear Anna,
Yes, Zach, Michaella, & Lawson are all doing college. Nathan is in 12th grade. Alyssa & Tori are Juniors. Buddies are usually chosen on a volunteer basis, but age is also a consideration. Love, Kelly

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makenzi October 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

HI! i was wondering how erin does her hair? i love it when its down, but i love when its up too!! i have a hard time getting my hair to look pretty up because its long. my hair is natrually straight, is erins permed? her curls look unique :) thanks
<3 kenz(;

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Kay W October 5, 2011 at 4:57 am

Kelly, I ordered Alyssa’s birthday present tonight. I know it will be early but what I wanted to get for her is on sale with free shipping and may not be in Nov. Do the children read your blog? If not I will tell you what I am sending and hope that no one else has the same idea. Alyssa is a sweetheart, I got such a nice thank you from her last year when I sent her a small gift and she included a picture of the family, as well.

From the looks they give each other I wouldn’t be surprised if Sarah were willing to take on Mt. Everest, as well. Glad neither of them need to!

Frank loves to hand out candy on Halloween, but he felt old the first time one of the fathers, with his kids at the door, said, ‘Thank you, Sir! No one trick or treated out here in the country last year. Generally people only take their kids around to relatives and my grandkids are too old now.

Love and God Bless.
Kay

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Gil October 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Dear Kay,
Thank you… again…and many times over! I think we’ve already adopted you as everybody’s buddy! Love, Kelly

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Kay W October 5, 2011 at 5:00 am

P.S. Can I volunteer to be the new baby’s buddy? I’ve had LOTS of experience, but no babies in our family in a long time. :-) Kay

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Sandy October 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Blessings! I love the pictures and I am thrilled to hear that Kelly and baby are doing fine! February is just around the corner, and I hope that Kelly is enjoying this precious season of life. Your family is in my prayers!

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Hayley October 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Oh so no one has been twice yet? I thought I remember that you posted on July 23 that Michaella and Addee went with Zach to Missouri? Whatever. I bet it is tons of fun going there!
Is your new baby that is due soon doing well? Still picking names out? BTW, I was reaading a comment and it said that only Alyssa would know the baby’s gender? Or did I read that wrong? That is so exciting! I was wondering, how old are you and when is your birthday? God is so amazing to let you have so many children!

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Gil October 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Dear Hayley,
You are probably seeing the photos from that visit… I sometimes post about an event several weeks after it has happened. The actual schedule included: Zach, Michaella, and Addee went to the Reiths with Zach. Lawson went to the Duggars to buy a used car from Josh, then he met up with the others at the Reiths. At the end of the week, they all drove to meet us in Camden, Michigan for a tent meeting where we were singing. We left from the tent meeting to head home, while Zach returned to Missouri to accompany the Reiths on their 3 week trip. Sorry for the confusion!!
And yes, Alyssa will be the only one to know the gender (hopefully, she’ll keep the secret!) I am going to be 45 this Ocober. Love, Kelly

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Abygayelle October 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Happy birthday, Katie Grace!!!!! Hope you have a great time celebrating with your family and friends today!!! God has wonderful plans in store for you, and I know He is going to bless you abundantly.
Love you as a sister-in-Christ, Abygayelle

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Jana October 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Kelly,
What do you usually do to celebrate your family’s birthdays? And Gil’s? How old is he this year? If he already turned, when was his birthday?
Hope you have a great day! ~Jana

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Gil October 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Dear Jana,
Gil is a New Year’s baby and he is 46. For family birthdays, Gil & I take the birthday child to dinner to talk about the past year – we ask them to evaluate how they think they spent their year (in the areas concerning their strengths and weaknesses in: personal devotion to the Lord, ministry, family relations, other relations, character, school / work and goals). Then we take them out the next day for a fun meal (no goal setting) and they can invite a few siblings or friends. Sometimes the children opt to have a party instead of presents (like Nathan’s recent father / son weekend at the lake or Carlin’s hiking trip with friends). They usually are given a set amount of money to spend for presents or party. Sometimes we let them shop with us and help pick presents (especially if we’re getting clothes!) or sometimes we suprise them (We have had presents hidden and have done treasure hunts in search of clues, etc.). Love, Kelly

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Sarah October 6, 2011 at 2:48 am

Dear Kelly,
I was woundering how to start out reading my Bible I have a year plan in the back but it was to overwelming and my friend gave me another one but its been confusing. Do you have any suggestions?
Love Sarah

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Gil October 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Dear Sarah,
Most read through the Bible programs in one year have you read 3-5 chapters each night throughout the week, which might put you at a fast pace for grasping and thinking about what your reading. The very first time I read through my Bible, I used a check off chart that had each book of the Bible with empty boxes beside those books for each chapter. As I read one, I checked off the box. My father had encouraged me to begin with the small books of the New Testament first, because he knew they were short and very practical. I read through Galations, Ephesians, Phillipians, and Colossians very quickly. Checking off whole books (though very small) gave me hope that my goal was obtainable. I finished reading the New Testament and started with Psalms and Proverbs of the Old Testament, followed by Genesis. The only reason I chose that order was my father knew that if I saw progress I would be motivated to continue even through the more difficult books. I used a couple of Bible study helps that I can’t remember the name of now. My favorite overview book is by John Phillips (Exploring the Scriptures). He also has easy to read commentaries on other books of the Bible. He is not wordy or hard to understand. In fact, when Nathan was struggling finding interesting reading material as a young 6th grader, he stumbled on to these books from Gil’s collection… He LOVED them! Also, the foundation of understanding you’ll receive from a good, strong Bible church is irreplaceable! Love, Kelly

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Krista October 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Dear Kelly,

I understand your position on Halloween and in no way condemn your beliefs, I myself know people who feel the same way. I am aware of the Halloween background, but I do feel that Christmas and Easter can be viewed in the same way. Christmas was originally a pagan holiday celebrating the Winter solstice (decorating trees and wreaths were part of the celebration), then Christians adopted this to turn more people to Christ, even adopting several former pagan rituals, like Christmas trees. Same with Easter, it was a Pagan holiday celebrating fertility and springtime, then Christians adopted it to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. I tend to view Halloween as the same thing, started out as day of the dead and devil worship, now little kids can dress up, go get candy, and carve pumpkins.

Sorry for that little rant lol, my question is based on this knowledge do you allow your decorate Christmas trees, or allow you kids to hunt Easter eggs? Again I’m not attacking your beliefs at all, I myself am a fairly moderate-conservative Christian who knows plenty of people who don’t choose to participate in Halloween, it’s just a curiosity thing :)

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Gil October 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Dear Krista,
We try to focus on Christ in the holidays, and on family relationships. We do not do egg hunts, but we do have a special time together as a family. We understand that most people who participate in egg hunts have no bad intentions whatsoever and are trying to take advantage of family fun… But for us personally, on this holiday we try to use our time to put the emphasis on Christ’s Ressurection rather than on something that might distract and confuse from our purpose. We view Christmas in the same way. It is not historically the time of Christ’s birth and it did originate from a pagan celebration according to the encyclopedia… but since the world does acknowledge Christ’s birth at this time, we think every opportunity to focus on Him is a good opportunity (whether its the real date or not). We don’t celebrate as most Americans do with Santa and such, because we feel it would distract from our real goal of having Christ as our focus. We also never felt wholesome about telling our kids a lie (even for fun) as required for playing Easter bunny, Santa, or the tooth fairy. We felt that if we told them a make believe story in those situations, what would prevent them from questioning our sincerity when we tried to proclaim Christ. Instead, we try to focus on family harmony, faith, and fun every day… so to miss out on these small “traditions” was not really missing out on anything for us… and quite the opposite, since we put an even stronger emphasis on relationships, we feel that our time is being spent productively! We look forward to the holidays and try to take advantage of the good things that are promoted (like visiting relatives, expressing our love for each other, showing our gratitude to God, etc.). We love the joyfulness of Christmas time, the sense of togetherness, the hope of sharing “good tidings” through carolling, the time to reflect on Christ’s birth, death, and Resurrection, sharing with relatives that we love, etc…. We respect the preferences of others, but this seems to be the most fulfilling way for us to make holidays meaningful! Love, Kelly

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Krista October 7, 2011 at 12:02 am

I gotcha, it’s just always something I wondered about because while I respected other people’s belief’s, I never really understood the reasonings behind them. Growing up, My family always did incorporate Santa and the Easter bunny into the holidays at some level while trying to make Christ the center of them, but I can definitely see how it becomes a distraction for others. Same goes for Halloween really, to each person their own. Thanks for clearing this up :)

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Juanita October 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Happy belated 11th birthday to Katie! She seems to be one of the quieter ones; when I’ve seen your documentaries. When she was born, I was just over 2 months away from my wedding and busy with preparations, pre-marital counselling, and between bridal showers

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Kay W October 9, 2011 at 1:37 am

Since Zach is a Civil War buff, he would probably enjoy going to the Antietam National Battlefield (U.S. National Park Service)in Maryland. I didn’t have a dog in that fight. South Dakota wasn’t a state, during that time, and my maternal grandmother was from Texas. People assume because I now live in NY, I am somehow a Yankee.

Just in case you want to watch it or have someone tape it for you, The Bates are appearing on ’19 Kids and Counting’ on October 18th.

Forget losing the weight, Kelly, you are entering that stage of life where only genetics or starving will keep you thin. I hate to be the one to tell you, but slenderness seems to be a lost cause in our middle age unless you come from skinny stock. In my family we battle the bulge, sadly :-)

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Julia October 18, 2011 at 3:44 am

My family attends the Lake Itasca Family Music Festival every year. I listened to Southern Raised, and they were by far one of my favorite groups there this year!

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Janelle G. October 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Loved the Duggar show where Zach started courtship with Sarah Reith! The pictures or the two of them were absolutely gorgeous. Hopefully “we” will be invited to their wedding on TLC.

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Mary Blanchard December 25, 2011 at 7:57 am

Hi Gil and Kelly. Just wanted to wish Gil Happy Birthday next Sunday. I also want to know how you and the New Baby are doing. Does the Family know whhere its a boy or a girl yet I hope you have a good Christmas. Chrsitmas is sad for me, my Father died on December 22,1999. We had his funeral on December 26. But I know he’s in Heaven with my baby brother Jimmy, Jimmy died in 1964 at 2 weeks of age . My parents only son after 4 daughters. He was the youngest. I like Jacob if it’s a Boy and Esther if it’s a girl.

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