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Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Bates Family Pictures

While driving through the hills of eastern Tennessee yesterday, we dropped by the Bates' house for lunch and fellowship. Gil and Kelly Bates are another family with 19 children and are close friends of the Duggars. A few years ago, they filmed a season of United Bates of America, a TLC reality series featuring their family.

Until five years ago, Gil and Kelly Bates and their growing family lived in a 1,700 square-foot house. Now, the Bates clan enjoys 4,600 square feet of living space, which includes a 2,900 square-foot addition built by the Duggars in 2009 as a Mother's Day present for Kelly.

Gil and Kelly Bates house
 The Bates family home

Like Michelle Duggar, Kelly Bates is able to carry on a conversation while keeping an eye on her many little ones and reprimanding as necessary. 

Kelly Bates and children
Kelly Bates with Ellie, Jeb, and Addallee  Bates

Kelly almost always has a child on her lab and at least one by her side, as the younger ones enjoy cuddling with Mommy.

Kelly Bates and 19 kids
 Kelly Bates with Callie and Addallee Bates

While we chatted, the kids played in the living room, and although they were full of energy, they instantly obeyed Kelly and the older kids when told to calm down.

Ellie, Warden, and Jeb Bates
 Ellie, Warden, and Jeb Bates

Two-year-old Jeb is the youngest of Gil and Kelly Bates' 19 children. This is the first time since the couple started having kids 25 years ago that they have had a two-year-old and no infant. Everyone is excited to welcome Zach and Whitney Bates' son, Bradley, into the family in October.

 Kelly Bates and Ellie

According to the older kids, Jeb is the spittin' image of Judson, who is one year older.

 Judson and Jeb Bates

Jackson and Warden took a liking to Ellie's Mr. Handsome and pulled him into their game.

Bates children
Warden, Addallee, Ellie, and Jackson Bates with Ellie's Mr. Handsome

Before we knew it, Ellie's Mr. Handsome was flipping the boys upside down, and they were loving every minute of it. 

 Ellie's Mr. Handsome and Jackson Bates

We accidentally deleted the photo of Judson with the cone on his head, but this one is almost as cute.

 Judson Bates

Things are changing for the Bates, who have watched three of their children tie the knot over the past nine months.The kids say the house seems incredibly quite with only 16 children living at home.

Kelly Bates and 19 children
 Kelly Bates with Josie, Jeb, Chase, and Judson Bates

Zach and Erin and their spouses live nearby, but Alyssa moved all the way to Orlando, Florida, with her husband. Fourteen-year-old Josie, who was Alyssa's roommate and best friend, is looking forward to visiting her sister for two weeks in August.

Josie Bates
Josie Bates and Ellie

Tori Bates, 18, is taking college classes while helping her mom homeschool the younger kids. 

Tori Bates
Tori Bates and Ellie

Four-year-old Callie-Anna is as cute as a button with her "elephant ears," as she calls them.

Callie Bates
Callie Bates

After we left, the kids grabbed their bins filled with school supplies and returned to their studies. Some of the children use A Beka DVDs, and others use traditional workbooks.

Bates family homeschools
Tori Bates instructs Jackson, Addallee, Ellie, and Callie Bates

Derick and Jill Dillard have a wedding in Tennessee this weekend and are looking forward to visiting the Bates. Too bad we had to leave just two days before they were scheduled to arrive.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Josiah Duggar Update

What is 17-year-old Josiah Duggar up to these days? He is still away at the International ALERT Academy, a Christan training and service organization located in Big Sandy, Texas. The rest of the Duggar family paid him a visit this weekend.

Josiah Duggar and Jinger Duggar
Josiah Duggar and Jinger Duggar

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Duggar Sister Lunch

Even though Jill is married and no longer living with the Duggar family, she still spends plenty of time with her siblings. While Derick was away at work yesterday afternoon, Jessa popped by Jill and Derick's house for lunch and sister time.

Jessa Duggar and Jill Dillard
Jessa Duggar and Jill Dillard

Monday, July 28, 2014

Duggar Family Rules

Last week, you heard about the 28-foot timeline plastered along the hallway leading to the Duggars' side door. Michelle Duggar also has countless photos, Bible verses, and encouraging sayings hung up throughout the main floor of her house. The goal is to keep the family focused on serving God and others during the day and to remind the kids to practice good character.  

The Duggars go to Hobby Lobby to purchase inspirational metal signs for decoration. The "Family Rules" plaque is one of the family's favorites and is displayed in their dining room.

Duggar Family RulesFamily Rules
Keep your promises
Think of others before yourself
Say I love you
Listen to your parents
Do your best
Say please & thank you
Always tell the truth
Laugh at yourself
Hug often
Use kind words
Love each other

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Adorable Marcus Duggar

Marcus Duggar, the youngest child of Josh and Anna Duggar and the youngest grandchild of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, is nearly 14 months old. He was born in the Duggars' home state of Arkansas just weeks before Josh and Anna packed up and moved their family to Washington D.C.

How many more children do you think Josh and Anna will have?

Marcus Duggar
Marcus Duggar today

Marcus Duggar grand-Duggar
 The many faces of Marcus Duggar