The Bates Family

Birthday Surprise

by Kelly on November 3, 2011

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Little did I know what a huge surprise my family had in store for my 45th birthday!

Gil & I had planned to drive to Chicago to pick up 3 of our girls who had gone on a short mission trip to Romania!_MG_1330

Gil took me to the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Holland Michigan State Park for a few nights of sweet fellowship together before picking up the girls and returning home.

During our weekend birthday excursion, the children back home had rounded up helpers to perform the impossible task of turning our red mud yard into a beautiful labor of love! They built a frame for a swing that we had been given. They laid sod and landscaped the yard, on top of the shopping and prep work necessary to perform their surprise! They transformed the yard, the house, and filled my heart with joy by their desire and willingness to do something special for me!

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{ 128 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren Sharpe November 3, 2011 at 4:35 am

Dear Kelly,
Oh my goodness Kelly you two are the cutest couple ever! I absolutely love the pictures. I see so much love between you two and that’s so wonderful to see. Thank you so much for posting these beautiful pictures. You look absolutely radiant! I cannot wait to hear from you soon. Much love and God bless you and the rest of your family.

Lauren S.

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Emily S. November 3, 2011 at 4:43 am

What beautiful pictures! You are fairly glowing!!! Sounds like the whole family made it a really special birthday- Happy Birthday Kelly!

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Kriegshauser Family November 3, 2011 at 6:03 am

Awesome! Looks like you guys had a great time :)

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Kay W November 3, 2011 at 6:46 am

Dear Kelly, I am so glad that you and Gil had such a good time. Your kids are wonderful to have such a great surprise for your birthday. God bless them!! Kay

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Angela O November 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

I wish you a Happy Birthday Kelly!!! You are such a inspiration what a loving happy family you have! I wish you and Gil many more years of love and happiness!! (and I can’t wait to see the new little one too) God Bless, Angela

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Jerrell November 3, 2011 at 9:19 am

I live in Michigan,In a city called Jackson and I’ve been to Holland a few times,Im glad you enjoyed it. The Park is very beautiful. God Bless!!!!

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Rudy Tecat November 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

Michigan is a lovely state.

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julie marie November 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm

HI Kelly,
You look beautiful. How far along are you now?

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:51 am

Dear Julie Marie,
I am 25 weeks now! Love, Kelly

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Cynthia Lewis November 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Oh, I’m so glad you could come up to my neck of the woods. Isn’t Lake Michigan beautiful. Next time you come up, if you need a place to worship we’d love to have you at Westside Baptist. (We’re in Jenison- about 30 minutes from Holland) Enjoy your new yard! Your children are wonderful.

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:51 am

Dear Cynthia,
Thank you for the invitation! we drove back to Chicago for church since we had to pick the girls up! Love, Kelly

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NathaLee November 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Sounds like a fantastic suprise and such a wonderful thing to do for a wonderful mom!

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Carita November 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm

You two look awesome in these pictures. Happy belated birthday. I can not wait to see what your yard looks like. I follow you on your updates and just enjoy reading about your family happenings. God has blessed us with 6 kids, 4 of which are biological children, two special blessings which God brought our way to raise.
Your ministry as a family is awesome. Sometimes I wish you had a show like Duggars so our littlest 3 year old could watch the happenings. She just loves 19 kids and Counting.

God Bless.

~Carita~

PS
Remember.

“Each Day can be a Great One if you Make is So…..” ~CAYPLS~

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Suzanne November 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

What a true blessing!

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Elizabeth November 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

How precious! Watching your family grow just warms my heart. Thank you so much for your Godly example and encouragement. I love looking at your family updates. Prayers for a continued healthy pregnancy for you.

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Casey November 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Kelly – these are the best pictures! You are so photogenic. So glad you had a great birthday – you deserve it! You have raised one amazing family.

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Sarah November 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Did Alyssa take the pictures of you and Gil ? They are beautiful!

With Love in Christ,
Sarah

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:49 am

Dear Sarah,
Yes, Alyssa was our photagrapher and picked the setting and poses. Love, Kelly

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Sonya Killebrew November 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Happy Birthday Mrs. Bates!!! What a beautiful birthday you had! That was so precious of your children to fix up your yard! A very unforgetable birthday!!

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Leslie November 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm

The photos are gorgeous! Is this the work of Alyssa? She has quite the eye!

Thanks for being willing to share your lives with so many. Your good news and sweet stories always bring a much needed smile to my face!

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Jennifer November 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm

What a small world! I now live in East Tennessee, but my grandmother grew up in Holland, MI and I grew up just a few miles from the Indiana Dunes!

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Eileen November 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm

What a wonderful surprise to come home too! You couldn’t of asked for a more thoughtful gift. Your pictures are beautiful too. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I hear that Michigan has some beautiful Fall color.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” James 1:17

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Aine November 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Beautiful pictures Kelly & Gil. Happy birthday, I’m so pleased that your children cherish you so much and strive to make you happy. I hope you had a brilliant birthday.

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Nicole November 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Happy Birthday Kelly! Beautiful pictures. I especially like the one with your hands shaped like a heart over your precious little baby. You are absolutely glowing. I hope everything is still going well during this pregnancy. How far along are you now? Do any of your children know if it is a boy or girl yet? I would love to see some pictures of the newly landscaped yard. You and your family are such a blessing and inspiration. God truly blesses!!! We had our 4th little blessing 6 months ago and would love more. She was our miracle in so many ways. We had prayed for a girl for years. We had had all boys and the doctors had predicted another boy, plus I had had problems during the pregnancy. But she came out healthy and happy and she was an answered prayer. God bless you and your family!

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Anola November 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

This is why your marriage works! You and Gil know the secret! I wish we, who have been married so long, could make the younger couples understand…you absolutely have to make the time in your busy schedules to connect with your spouse. It’s impossible to have a good marital relationship if you are just “ships passing in the night” (so to speak). My husband and I have been married for 36 years, and he still makes my heart sing, just by sharing a smile or a hug. Praise God!

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alicia November 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

What a wonderful surprise. You both look great. God bless and Happy Birthday.

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Michelle November 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Happy belated birthday Kelly!
How very sweet the children were for performing that labor of love in honor of your birthday. I know you’ll enjoy it greatly.
I also celebrated my 45th birthday this year—though much earlier in the year—and though I now live in the deep south, I grew up in Indiana and have some very happy memories of time spent at the dunes. :-)
The pictures of you and Gil are lovely and you look just beautiful! Thank you for sharing them.

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sonja petersen November 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Happy Birthday, dear Kelly!
You are looking so happy and proud and so much in love with your Gil. Really nice pictures and true love happy faces.
God bless your hearts.
I hope Baby Bates is doing fine and growing well until his/her birth in 2012.
Love and greetings from Germany.
Sonja

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michelle November 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Hello Kelly, I posted a comment earlir, but somehow it disappeared..so I am gonna attempt at it again, so forgive me if this is a duplicate..anyway, I wanted to say u guys look so happy together. I was wondering if you guys ever have any big fights and if so, how do u go about bringing peace and harmony afterwards. What tips can you give to keeping a marriage strong and successful.

How was the kids trip to Romania, Do they have any pics to post, and last but not least, will u post any pics of what the kids did to the yard while u were away celebrating your birthday?

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:46 am

Dear Michelle,
Having strong family relationships and a happy marriage does not mean that conflicts and dissagreements never come, it means you learn to settle them and still maintain harmony and respect for one another. I read every good book that comes along on marriage and family relations, because any relationship takes work! Good advice can be the reminder you need when tempted to become selfish or to respond the wrong way. I wish we were perfect people, but we’re not and that means sometimes feelings get hurt… sometimes we’re the cause, sometimes we’re the recipient… hurts can turn to bitterness and bitterness can stifle oneness. So my advice is to try to resolve conflicts quickly! Don’t sweep hurts under the rug, where they will grow and poke out at a later time. Obviously, learning to communicate is essential! Read, pray, study, attend marriage conferences, be faithful to church, communicate, be humble, and learn to forgive!!! Love, Kelly

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K@PC November 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Very cute pictures. I like the one of you and Gil walking away. I’m assuming one of your girls took these?

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:39 am

Dear K@PC,
Alyssa took these at the grist mill near our house before we left for our trip. Love, Kelly

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Emily Raynes November 3, 2011 at 6:13 pm

These pictures are so beautiful! Happy late birthday Mrs. Kelly, love you! :) :) :)

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jessica November 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm

You look wonderful and in love. Oh and Kelley you are radiant and look so young!!!

I have watched ya’ll for awhile. Awhile back, my grandparents told me about this huge family that was on Night Line, and we don’t have TV, so we found it online and were encouraged by your sweet family!!!

We are a young family, but have very similar beliefs. I am 27 and we have 5 children(aged 7 and under), so far and are rich with blessing!! :) We just joined ATI and I know you all do that as well. It is a blessing to see an older family before us and an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your family! If you are ever in Idaho let us know!!! :)

Love,
Jessica Argon

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Kaycee November 3, 2011 at 7:17 pm

“Gil took me to the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Holland Michigan State Park for a few nights of sweet fellowship together before picking up the girls and returning ”

Don’t you mean “a few days”?

Modesty in all things is very important.

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Christy November 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Oh Kelly! How special!!!!!!!!!You are beautiful and glowing! Happiest Birthday to you!

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Jessica K November 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm

What a wonderful surprise!

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Lizzie November 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Mrs. Bates that sounds like such a wonderful birthday! I am really interested in going on a mission trip, and I am looking at various organizations that offer trips (but there are so many!). I was just wondering which organization your daughters went with, and if you could maybe give some suggestions of other mission organizations. Thank you so much and Happy (belated) Birthday!
In Christ,
Lizzie M.

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:36 am

Dear Lizzie,
They went with an ATI group (from our homeschool organization.) Check with the churches in your area. Most are active in taking missions trips. The Duggars participate in mission trips organized by SOS ministries. Love, Kelly

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Nicole November 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I’m sure the yard looks wonderful! Which of your girls went on the mission trip?

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:33 am

Dear Nicole,
Erin, Alyssa, and Tori went on the trip. Love, Kelly

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Rosie November 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Glad you had such a wonderful birthday, what a blessing your family are.

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Aine November 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Dear Kelly, I hope you had a lovely birthday. The photos are beautiful. That was a really thoughtful thing for your children to do :)

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Hope November 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm

In the very first few pictures you look so beautiful!
Brown is definitely your color! Your kids are so sweet!

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Becky November 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Oh Happy birthday! How are you feeling? Are you due soon? I love the Dunes, I am originally from Northern Indiana and the Dunes are home to us! We currently live down by Indy! How was the girls trip to Romania? May God Bless you in the days to come!
Becky

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:32 am

Dear Becky,
I’m due in February. The girls had a great trip and I will write the next post on their experiences. Love, Kelly

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Franicia November 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Oh that is precious! You are blessed!

Such beautiful photography too :-) Great job to whoever took those!

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Gil November 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

Dear Francia,
Alyssa took the first photos in the wooded area. Love, Kelly

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Peggy November 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm

What beautiful pictures!!!! Kelly, you look absolutely radiant in those first few pictures!

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Lori Quiggle November 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm

What a wonderful surprise! We live just a little East of Holland in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we spend a lot of time in Holland in the summers with our 9 blessings (so far!) It’s a beautiful place to spend a birthday!

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Melody November 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Happy Birthday Kelly!!! Thanks for sharing the amazing photos.

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Rachel November 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm

What a wonderful and sweet surprise! Glad you had a great birthday. The pictures of you and Gil are so nice!! Thanks for sharing :)

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Denise November 4, 2011 at 12:45 am

Happy Birthday, with many blessings. That was so nice of your children, to surprise you like that. You will have to put some pictures up of the yard.

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Tom, Jayma, and Jayla November 4, 2011 at 1:00 am

Picture # 13 is an immature ring-billed gull. I liked the pictures of the “love-birds” better!

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Abigail November 4, 2011 at 1:48 am

How wonderful to that 3 of your daughters went to Romania! My parents are Romanian but I was born here. My family and I went to do missions in Romania for five years. What part of Romania did they go to? I look forward to seeing the pictures!

P.S. Happy Birthday in the Lord!

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Abigail November 4, 2011 at 1:56 am

I meant to say “how wonderful to hear that 3 of your daughters went to Romania” :)

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Hollie Schindlbeck November 4, 2011 at 2:24 am

Happy birthday! May God continue to bless you and your family!

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Emma Culverhouse (England) November 4, 2011 at 6:45 am

Dear Kelly,
Beautiful pictures as ever and such wise words also. I am glad you had a wonderful birthday & that all is going well with your pregnancy. I wondered if you could remember me in your prayers? I’m not sick or in desperate trouble, I just need all the help I can get as I adjust to my new life with 2 jobs and seemingly not enough hrs in the day to fit everything in!! Any advice you have is very welcome :)
Thank you for your time,
love Emma x

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Annette November 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm

You both look so happy! Obviously the preganancy is agreeing with you Kelly-you look positively glowing! I agree it is important to take time for each other even after many years! Cannot wait to hear about the Romanina trip-I am sure the grils took lots of photos!

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Cindy November 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Kelly,

Happy Birthday!!! The photos are lovely!!! Your children are so thoughtful to surprise you with their hard work. Thanks for sharing your beautiful life with us. We first learned of your family by watching the Duggar’s show. We are often in your area and my four little ones always pipe up….”Let’s go visit the Bates!”

Blessings,
Cindy

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Michelle November 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Happy Belated Birthday Kelly! You two are just the sweetest looking couple. I love all the pictures – so beautiful. You are absolutely “glowing” in your pregnancy. What a blessing from God! May God continue to bless your family.
Blessings,
Michelle

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Anita November 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Dear Brother Bates: Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we wish Kelly you had a nice birthday, surrounded by the love of your family. I share with you the need to spend some time alone together is very important for the couple as they said but the love between them, spend pleasant moments in harmony and for a while be only 2, but the rear has a lot of burdens on our backs, that time is unique and unrepeatable person and must make the most, be a few hours or a couple of days. 33 years ago that we’re married and we are so in love as the beginning, I can not imagine my life without my husband whom I love and respect, the two are one,
as the word of God, and I thank the Lord for this fellow has given me, we got married very young and remain faithful to each other, we have been blessed with a large family, the church participated in meetings of marriages, we in good standing for others, especially for young couples that just make off on an adventure to live together, give good advice and encouraged in the Lord. I hope you can answer me soon, I’m glad that your pregnancy goes ahead, and that the Lord will continue to use as before. The best advice for married couples, for raising children, being a good wife or husband alone can be found in the Bible is the only manual that has all the answers to our questions, we can not take others as examples, and there are no perfect families, and often people take them as idols, and at some point be disappointed and many are demoralized. God is the only faithful, does not change, the same yesterday, today and forever. Blessings.

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Kris Hackel November 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Dear Kelly,
How awesome! You are so blessed. What amazing shots, who was your photographer? You look great. I plan to mail the package on Saturday and suspect that it should take about five business days to get there. Love ya’ll. Kris

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Susan November 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

You look beautiful! What a wonderful surprise! Happy belated Birthday :) I hope you will post some pictures of your new yard. How sweet of yor children. You are very blessed!

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Janet November 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Kelly, that park is only about 30 minutes from my house. It’s so beautiful in Michigan this time of year. Also did you know Holland was ranked recently as one of the happiest places in America? Amazing considering it snows here 4-5 months out of the year.

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Niccy November 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Dear Kelly, you look absolutly beautiful. You´re such an inspiration and always pointing to our Lord. I´m 42 and pregnant with our 9th blessing. I wasn´t raised in a christian household and I often struggle with showing our kids christian ways to behave and solve their problems. Any ideas or tips?
Love from Germany, Niccy

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Gil November 5, 2011 at 3:33 am

Dear Niccy,
That’s why I love our ATI curriculum. It focuses on teaching children to evaluate why things happen… interuptions, the unexpected, trials, sorrows. It adds purpose behind circumstance and teaches contentment. It is not the only curriculum we use… We use regular curriculum for the basic subjects, but use ATI for character and Bible focus. It has even changed the way I look at things! Love, Kelly

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Marion November 5, 2011 at 12:47 am

Happy Birthday from Canada Kelly!!

What gorgeous photos!!!

Take care
marion

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Katie November 5, 2011 at 5:33 am

Beautiful pictures, y’all are so cute and still look so in love, it’s very encouraging for younger married couples like us to see! What a great example! And Happy Birthday Kelly! :) Many Blessings, Katie

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Amanda Smith November 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

Hi Kelly,
this is Amanda Smith, we met you and your family in Camden. We have 7 kids and our next one due in Jan. We hung with your family a few times at the fellowship hall. I also talked with you about the ATI homeschool conference. Hopefully that helps you remember us. Anyway, I can’t believe you were in Holland, MI. That is only 40 minutes away from us, we are Fruitport, MI:) We can’t wait to see your family again. We really enjoyed meeting and fellowshipping with all of you. Hopefully we’ll see your family again this Spring at the big ATI conference. You look great by the way.
Love,
Amanda Smith

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Amanda Amos November 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Hello Kelly,
It looks like you and Gil had such an amazing time. Such beautiful pictures! I’m sure it makes it easier to get away wiith Gil sice some of your children are older and willing to help watch the little ones. How did you guys manage alone time when you just a little ones? My husband and I have 3 little ones and don’t live by any family as he’s in the military. We seem to hardly ever be able to have date time or alone time away from the kids. Also with not a lot of extra money we can’t really afford to pay a babysitter much. Do you have any advice on how you and Gil made time for each other with so many little ones? Your family is such a great example for me and your blog encourages me. Thanks you!

Blessings,
Amanda Amos

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Gil November 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Dear Amanda,
When we had only little ones, we went on date nights and used a babysitter from our church. If we wanted to go on overnight outings, the whole gang always came with us! Love, Kelly

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Juanita November 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I look forward to hearing about your girls’ trip. Glad you had a great birthday celebration. God bless you all.

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Shannon November 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Kelly,

One day could you do a blog post about the ATI? My husband and I have been looking into it for a few years now, but we really would like to hear first hand from people who are in it.

Thank you,
Shannon

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Becky Bontrager November 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Kelly,

Your family’s love for God and for each other is an inspiration to us!
I’m so blessed by your children’s desire to do something so special for your birthday. When you spend time, energy, and prayer in training your children, they truly do rise up and call you blessed!!
Will you be posting pictures of the lovely yard?

Becky Bontrager

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daughterofGod November 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm

really? romania?? I’m Romanian!! that’s awesome :)

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Elizabeth Kapllaj November 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Happy Happy belated birthday!!!!! Love reading your blogs of your beautiful family! Congratulations on your pregnancy! I turned 41 this October and am expecting our 5th child in April(to be exact -I’m do on my late father’s birthday!!! I know it was meant to be!!) I have a 14 year old son, a 7 year old daughter, and I truly thought we were done – but God changed my mind and my heart and we’ve never taken any birth control- but our first attempt ended in a miscarriage ( it was my first one) I was 8 weeks . Our second attempt ended in a very difficult miscarriage(I was 12 weeks and required a d&c ) I tell you that had to be one of the hardest days of our lives , coming home from the hospital without a baby. But I kept telling myself to trust in the Lord and to remember I can’t force his hand ! He gave us 2 beautiful, healthy children after all!! I know so many couples that can’t have children. Now here came the surprise, after 3 years of trying it finally happened we had our third child another baby girl who just turned 2 this past September- then the Lord blessed us with another baby girl( when my third child was 7 months old , i found out I was pregnant and last Feb. Gave birth to our fourth child, another healthy baby girl!! – who is now 8 months old! But if that wasn’t enough blessings , we found out we are expecting our fifth child (when the baby was only 5 months old!!) on April 24!! My late fathers birthday! He was truly my best friend, He left this world at the age of 54( a month after turning 54) and he only got to see his first grandchild for 9 short months before going to the Lord . My son is know 14. , everyone is hoping for a boy, but honestly i truly believe that God plans and times everything for a reason!! Just like he gave you all of your beautiful children to be an encouragement to all of us moms out there who received late blessings in life!!! i will have 3 in diapers !! My husband and I just had our 16 anniversary in sept !! I think we are better parents now then we ever were before because we realize how truly blessed we are!! You have taught me that children are truly a blessing and it’s not an embarrassment to tell people I’m pregnant with my fifth child!! Afterall my husband comes from a family of ten, and he had wonderful parents!! May God bless you and your family!! I will continue to pray for your family! I can’t wait for your next blessing to arrive!! My husbands birthday is Feb.13, he will be turning 44. Take care , love Tony, Elizabeth, Jordan,Sydney,Fiona,& Sophia.

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Maya November 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm

You mentioned that you drove back to chicago to go to church. Which church did you visit?

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Gil November 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

We went to a church called Independent Baptist Church with some of our friends (The Paines). Love, Kelly

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Pam November 6, 2011 at 12:25 am

Happy Birthday Kelly! You are a blessing to me! Thank you for your beautiful spirit.

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Lynn November 6, 2011 at 3:45 am

Lovely pictures. I like the first one where you have your hands on your baby belly formed into a heart. You look great Mrs.Bates!!!
Happy Birthday!

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Jennifer November 6, 2011 at 3:48 am

Happy belated birthday! I’m so glad to see the pregnancy going well =)

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Heather November 6, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I live near Michigan City, IN!!! i would have been honored and blessed to meet youwhile in the area. Looks like a wonderful time!

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Glory November 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Kelly, how are Zach & Sarah doing? Has he visited her lately?
Do you believe in having a Christmas tree around Christmas? I have noticed that some do not allow it because of the background of Christmas trees and what people, long ago, used them for, so I was wondering if your family did not celebrate Christmas with Christmas trees.

By the way, have you heard from the Duggars about the accident with Jason? I know it happened a while ago, but I wasn’t sure how he is doing now. Thanks so much! Love, Glory

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Carol November 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Wonderful photos of a couple still very much in love, and what a lovely birthday treat. The scenery is breathtaking, unbelievable that you still have all of those lovely autumn colours while here in Scotland, UK it has become frosty and very cold. I love catching up on your news and you are truly an inspiration to others. Your family are just precious and I always take away something of value, something to ponder, something to put right after catching up with you all.
May God bless each and everyone of you.

Love
Carol

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Kathryn November 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Happy Birthday Kelly!
What girls went on the trip?
Thank you and God Bless your baby on the way,
Kathryn

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kim snyder November 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm

The pictures are wonderful! I’m from Holland and I love that you came to see our beautiful town. =)

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Deborah November 8, 2011 at 1:36 am

I like reading about your family and seeing the pictures that you post. I live in Jonesborough, not too far from you. My parents play old time mountain music that has been passed down from generation to generation and they travel all over the US. I keep asking them if they ever see you at their shows, but I guess they wouldn’t think to look for you guys since they don’t really know who you are. They don’t really watch TV that much, they’re very old fashioned. Do you mainly play bluegrass/gospel or does your family also play old time? I’m hoping to one day meet all of you, perhaps even in just passing at a festival. It’s nice to see a family that still continues family values & takes pride in moral virtues. God bless.

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Christy November 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Ya for Jim-Bob and Michelle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Alexis November 8, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Dear Kelly,

Beautiful pictures from a beautiful family. Thank you for showing how following the Lord leads to peace and blessings.

So excited for you and the Duggars.
God bless,
Alexis

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Alexis November 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Dear Kelly,

Sorry just wanted to be sure to add I am happy for your pregnancy and Mrs. Duggar’s pregnancy. God blesses those who follow his path and ways.

Yours,
Alexis

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Lauren Sharpe November 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Dear Kelly,

Did you just find out that the Duggar’s are expecting their 20th child? Or have you known? That would be hard to keep secret but understandable why it would need to be. Congrats to the Duggar’s and Bates for having babies soon. :) Hope all goes well!

Lauren S.

P.S~ Did you receive our Birthday package? Just want to make sure it got there safely.

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Gil November 10, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Dear Lauren,
JimBob told us the wonderful news earlier, but we could hardly keep silent! We didn’t tell most of our children until the day before because little ones have a hard time keeping secrets (like me!) And yes, I did get your sweet package! I LOVED the frog! Back months ago, my room was the room left without a theme for decor. Kay Walter had mailed some adorable decorative frogs. My girls noticed how well they matched the bedroom… so I became a frog lover! Love, Kelly

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Momof7 November 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I wonder why my postings never appears??

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Gil November 10, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Dear Momof7,
Sorry, if your posts have been lost. Sometimes I’m slow in responding or some might accidentally get sent to spam. Love, Kelly

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brittani November 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

i just found out from family my babysitter’s family that my babysitter grand daughter nicole had her daughter early this moringing her name is Brilynn rae she 7lbs 7oz and she is the 5ht great grand child in my babysitters family so she was born novmber 8,2011.

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Glory November 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Mrs. Bates!!! Did you know that the Duggars are expecting their 20th child??? I’m sure you have heard, but I am so excited!! That is my dream to have as many kids as you and the Duggars!!! I think, if it is a girl, they should name their baby, Julie or Julia, or for a boy, Jefferson!!! But, that really doesn’t matter right now!!! :) :) :) I am so excited!!!! So happy for them!! I think they’re due in April. Love you all!

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Kath November 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Oh, that is a wonderful present your children gave you! Next spring you can sit on your porch and watch your yard come alive with beauty.

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Kathryn November 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

I’m from the Holland area too. Glad that you enjoyed your trip!
Also, Re: Your response to Niccy, could you share the name(s) of the curricula that you use besides ATI? (I ask just for my own personal home-education research!)

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Gil November 10, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Dear Kathryn,
I use Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I use ABeka Language workbooks from K through 4th grade. I allow my older children to be involved in selecting curriculum, since theyt have different learning styles and preferences. Some use Easy Grammar and Daily Grams (a friend just reccomended these). One uses Learning Language Through Literature, One uses Jensen’s Grammar. Some use ABeka for their HS English. Several use Switched on Schoolhouse. I use ABeka math from K through Pre-Algebra. I use Teaching Textbook for Algebra 1 and Up. I allow their input on their science, history, spelling, writing, and geography programs. Some use Switched on Schoolhouse, ABeka, Bob Jones, The Biology Textbook (Timberdoodle), Aardman’s spelling, Apples for Spelling, Typing Tutor, Anatomy & Physiology (Timberdoodle), Wordsmith for Writing, etc. I literally have shelves and shelves of curriculum… (That’s a weakness! I can’t get rid of any of it and I’m always collecting more!… But the advantage is, the children have a wide variety of choices when we plan the school year!) My favorite homeschool catalog (or on-line) is Timberdoodle! I love their reccomendations! Love, Kelly

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Stacy November 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

How wonderful!! Kelly, to be cherished by your husband and children is such a wonderful thing =) Your just glowing and look so wonderful! God bless you and your family!!!!!
=)Stacy

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Stacy November 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY =)

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Rebekah November 9, 2011 at 1:51 am

Kelly,
You look great!! My mum is due the same time as you, with her 7th! VERY COOL!
Are you due the same time as Mrs Duggar!? That’s exciting too!
You look really well,
God Bless!
Love Rebekah

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Rebekah November 9, 2011 at 1:52 am

p.s My mum was also pregnant at the same time as you last time and also misscarried, she is now 16 weeks and well! yay!

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Tammy November 9, 2011 at 3:12 am

Happy Belated Birthday! That was an awesome gift from your children and I love your photos!

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Annique November 9, 2011 at 3:52 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELLY!!! I hope that you and Gil were able to spend some very precious moments together before number 19 makes its debut!! Would love to hear an update on all your kids, what they are doing, how the courtship is coming along, how Erin’s hand is, and how Lawson’s movie-making is going!! I’m sure that you have your hands full, I can’t even imagine!!, but am thankful for the little tidbits that you share. Take good care of yourself, and I look forward to hearing from you!

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Wendy November 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Love the new pictures of you guys. I”m so thankful for your family’s testimony for Christ. You are the real deal!! Praying for a continual healthy pregnancy. Are you surprised that Michele and Jim Bob are expecting again? I pray for both of your families as you are put “under the knife” while in the public eye. Being persecuted for doing what is right isn’t easy, but knowing that you’re doing the right thing and that you’re in the center of the Lord’s will is all that matters.

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Emily Fay November 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Happy Birthday! It looks like a wonderful day! God Bless!

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Olivia November 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Hi Mrs. Bates!

I was just wondering, how do Erin and Michaella curl their hair? It always turns out so beautiful and I was wanting to try something similar to that because my hair is about the same length and color. Thanks!

Love in Christ,
Olivia :-)

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Gil November 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Dear Olivia,
Michaella sleeps in sponge rollers. Erin has a great deal of body and bounce in her hair already, so the texture holds curls well. Love, Kelly

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aria November 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Happy Belated Birthday, Kelly! Wishing you and your family all of the best. You look positively radiant and happy in the pictures!

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Linda November 10, 2011 at 1:07 am

Love reading your updates and love the pictures! You are so encouraging in what you do and say and I really appreciate that. Hope to see you and your family visiting with the Duggars next season.

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Angela November 10, 2011 at 5:44 am

Happy Birthday!!! You are a beautiful couple…so happy for you!

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Becky J November 10, 2011 at 7:13 am

BEAUTIFUL PICTURES!!!!! You two are such a wonderful couple and I’m so happ that you guys got to spend a great time together. May GOD continue to bless and keep you all safe. Much love!!!!!

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hettie brewner November 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm

LOVE the pictures! God bless.

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Lauren Sharpe November 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm

That is wonderful. Very happy for them! Aww I am so glad you got your package and you like the frog. :) I am a huge plush animal lover, especially if they are plush bunnies :D

I was going to ask you if you could recommend some early start books on manners for little Jacob. He is going through the stage of hitting, kicking and saying no. I of course tell him no and tell him to say Yes ma’am, no ma’am ect. It’s hard to stay patient with him. Sometimes I just wish I could pick up the phone and call you for advice. He’s our first and only child so it’s tough when I’m doing all of this for the first time. Anyway, I would like to read him a good book on manners after we do his daily bible story.

Lauren S.

P.S~ You should have gotten pictures too. (not in the same package)

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Kathryn November 11, 2011 at 12:34 am

Thank you for your recommendations, Kelly, I’ll have a look at the Timberdoodle website.

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Juanita November 11, 2011 at 2:53 am

I forgot to mention, happy belated 17th birthday to Alyssa!

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Olivia November 11, 2011 at 3:25 am

Ok, thanks so much! :-)

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Ashley November 11, 2011 at 7:08 am

Hello Kelly! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous – the love you and Gil have for each other is so evident and God-honoring. As a young(ish) wife and mom, I so admire your family and your commitment to honoring the Lord in every aspect of life. I know you probably get asked this a lot, but have yall ever been approached about doing a television show? I love when you’re featured on the Duggar’s show, and I always hope to hear good news of a Bates show! ;)

Again, thank you for your witness and contagious love for the Lord!

Love, Ashley

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Momof7 November 11, 2011 at 11:41 am

Kelly-its okayI just wondered .Thanks!!

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amber landers November 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Happy Birthday Kelly!! Wish we would have know you were all back in Michigan would have love to gotten together with you all! Will write and sent something soon!

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Carita November 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Kelly, Do you know what the little one is going to be? I was wondering because I have boxes of little girls clothes and do not know what do to with them. My thought is perhaps you or Michelle could use them. Are you in need of baby clothes at this point?

God Bless
~Carita~

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Gil November 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Dear Carita,
We usually wait to find out the baby’s gender. I think the Duggars usually find out… Love, Kelly

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Amanda Brown November 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

Hi Kelly
I just wanted to say I really love these pictures. Alyssa is very talented. Do you have name/s picked out for the new baby yet. Do you just do that between yourself and Gil or as a family. Sending much love and good thoughts for a safe and happy rest of pregnancy. I really enjoy watching your family (and the Duggars) on our Home & Health channel here in Australia. P.S Belated birthday wishes.

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Gil November 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Dear Amanda Brown,
We don’t have names, yet! That’s the hardest part for us! Love, Kelly

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Brooke November 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Oh my goodness, Gil and Kelly… you were in my town (Holland) and we didn’t even know it! Promise you’ll come back again soon to visit and let us make a big deal out of it. There are so many church congregations that would just love to hear you speak about your family, mine included! Glad you got to see “Big Red” and I hope you enjoyed your time in our little Dutch town :o )

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Tracy January 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Gil and Kelly,

One of your pictures looks like the lighthouse in St. Joseph, about 30 miles south of Holland. That’s my hometown! I love it! We lived in Knoxville for 5 years, Athens, TN for 2 and are now near Cincinnati, OH. While the Smoky Mountains are breath taking and we enjoyed the beauty in that area while we were there, there is just something about the small towns along Lake Michigan that move me. I hope you enjoyed the area as much as I do!

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