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Inside Jenna Bush Hager’s Baby Shower

04/10/2013 at 09:00 AM ET

Leave it to the former teacher and children’s author (not to mention daughter of a former librarian) to have a book shower.

When Today contributor Jenna Bush Hagerexpecting her first child in early May — was fêted by her NBC co-workers on April 2 at the Peter Callahan Catering studio in New York, the gift table was piled not with onesies and receiving blankets, but with dozens of her colleagues’ favorite kiddie reads, each inscribed with parenting advice.

“Get a nap anytime you can,” advised former co-anchor Meredith Viera in a copy of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, while Hoda Kotb said Bush Hager only had to do whatever her own mom did.

Jenna Bush Hager Baby Shower
Christopher Kolk


But Bush Hager’s parents — Laura and George W. Bush, the 43rd president — have been more than role models through this pregnancy. Mom swept into the lower Manhattan apartment Bush Hager shares with husband Henry Hager last month to whip the nursery together.

“Put us all to work!” Bush Hager tells PEOPLE exclusively, describing a neutral seafoam-green color scheme because they do not know if they’re having a boy or a girl. (Shower guests wrote guesses on rolled-up cloth diapers; “Boy” was the majority pick.)

And Dad, who’s taken up painting in his post-White House life, contributed the artwork: a portrait of the Hagers’ cat, Bernadette, for over the crib; a landscape featuring a “baby tree” on his Texas ranch; and a still life of nightfall over the ranch’s stone cross where the Hagers were married in 2008. He titled that one “Goodnight Moon,” notes Bush Hager, 31, with a smile. “He’s become an artiste. There’s a whole new side of him and he’s so excited about the baby.”

Jenna Bush Hager Baby Shower
Christopher Kolk

Goodnight Moon, the book, was also among Bush Hager’s shower gifts — this one from news anchor Natalie Morales, who said she made up a song to the repetitive bedtime story to keep it from getting boring as she read it “so many darn times” to her own two children.

And to really keep the boredom out of bedtime, Today producer Jackie Levin had a little something for Mom’s nightstand, too: E.L. James’ best-selling erotica, Fifty Shades of Gray. Hager laughed and glanced over at her husband: “That’s baby number two material!”

Jenna Bush Hager Baby Shower
Christopher Kolk

Hager’s surprise cameo at the afternoon women’s soirée was greeted by a chorus of “Awwwww’s” that beat even the cooing over Callahan’s baby-sized vittles, that included caviar-topped cracker rings shaped like pacifiers and pizzas no bigger than checkers.

Bush Hager, who toasted her pals with one of Callahan’s teensie Coca-Cola bottles, told them she felt “empowered” by their parenting wisdom and promised to be back in the studio after a summer maternity leave.

“I’ll bring this baby to work — on the subway, I guess,” she said. “I haven’t figured that part out yet.”

Jenna Bush Hager Baby Shower
Christopher Kolk

Mini Pizzas Recipe

Quantity:
makes two dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce store bought pizza dough
  • all-purpose flour for rolling dough
  • 24 slices small mozzarella balls (6 balls bocconcini, cut into 4 slices each)
  • 48 slices small red tomatoes
  • 48 slices small yellow tomatoes
  • 24 small basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pizza dough to 1/16th inch thick.
  • Using a 1 1/2 inch round cutter, cut 24 circles from dough.
  • Place the circles on a cookie sheet and prick each one with a fork a few times. bake until slightly golden, 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, set aside and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Brush each pizza crust with olive oil.
  • Top each crust with 2 slices red tomato and 3 slices yellow tomato and 1 slice fresh mozzarella on each pizza.
  • Bake for 2 minutes, until warmed through and cheese just starts to melt. Sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with a small basil leaf.
  • Serve immediately.

Jenna Bush Hager Baby Shower
Christopher Kolk

– Sandra Sobieraj Westfall

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Showing 62 comments

Susan on

She looks terrified in that top picture with Hoda and Kathie Lee.

Shannon on

Awe congratulations to the family! Regardless of your political preference babies are huge blessings.

Riley on

So happy for her and the former first family!

Kate on

Very under-rated family. I’m happy for George W and Laura and excited for Jenna! Jenna and Barbara are great kids!

Sara on

Aww! Congrats to the family! Love them!

Katie on

She looks fabulous!!! I miss the Bush family!!!!!!! Congrats to her!! Darling photo!

me on

She looks adorable and I wish them all the best. I love the idea of people gifting books with advice! And those mini pizzas, sliders and Cokes are just too cute!!

Anonymous on

Congratulations to Jenna and her husband!! I hope you guys have a beautiful, healthy baby!!

jenni on

She looks great.. happy for them

Sad on

her baby is gonna grow up in a very scary family. her grandpa/great grandpa was two nutjobs and her grandma looks like a a old zombie face pump up with botox

KiKi on

I adore this lovely woman! She is the epitome of what I would aspire to be if I was much younger! Love the book theme and that her father provided the artwork for the nursery.

Rachie on

Those mini pizzas and sliders look soooo good. I want some now. Oh yes, I’m preggers too;).

Sarah S. on

I could do w/o the weird faces from Hoda and Kathie Lee. Love the last pic of mini Coke bottles and sliders–cute idea! Best wishes to Jenna and Henry!

Lorelei on

Sad. How pathetic that you can spew your hate for people you don’t know. Regardless of any political differences it’s not an excuse to be so hateful. The mother to be looks lovely and I think a book shower with advice is an awesome idea!

Kayte on

@Sad…What a perfect name. Pathetic would be better, though.

lovely123 on

Looks like someone is a professional hot dog eater in the first pic.

Cynda on

How did this talentless lisper every get on TV? Oh, that’s right her dad was one of the most horrible presidents in history. I wonder if her child will know she was 1/2 of the “tarty party girls” known throughout the world as one who swilled vodka out of the bottle when she was underage. A role model, indeed.

Lauren on

Cynda, as if you were perfect in your twenties! I’d rather see her and her husband procreating and raising children than Kim K, or half of Hollywood for that matter.

kmp on

I want to see pictures of the painting papa Bush made.

Lorelei on

Cynda- People do grow up and yes there even have been under age people drinking before. Get over it. She looks beautiful!

Marie on

Cynda – wow and the hate continues. What a kind person you are, tolerance and compassion at work again! So nice to see.

Penny on

Wow…what a class act, just like her parents! Congratulations to the entire family!

Penny on

Wow…Sad and Cynda…jealous and pathetic much? Disgusting!

MollyF on

I could comment to the hateful comments here, but that would be feeding the trolls, and I’m not a troll feeder anymore.

I’m not a big fan of her father’s, but I love Jenna. I hope the best for her and her husband. :)

Terri on

Sad and Cynda and anyone else who is posting mean comments,…it is so pitiful that you feel you need to express negativity towards this family. I am assuming that you have nothing better to do than to downgrade others. Karma is not a nice thing. The Bush family is a wonderful group of people who do not deserve the ridicule of anyone. Please try to practice kindness, it is a wonderful virtue. Try it one day, you might like it.

Florence on

what a great family the Bush family. I miss G W and his Laura in the White House. They represent America!!!!!!!

T Castleberry on

Look how hypocritical Hoda is. What a smirky face. Blacks don’t like the Bush’s.

fogluver on

Sad – you are one sad and pathetic human being not to be able to celebrate the birth of a baby regardless of political affiliation. You also obviously are uninformed about the Bush family. What a surprise. Typical liberal: probably would have preferred the baby be aborted.

fogluver on

Sad – you are one sad and pathetic human being to not be able to celebrate the birth of a baby, regardless of politics. You also obviously know nothing about the Bush family – maybe you should try reading Goodnight Moon and moving up from there to grown up books. Typical liberal – would have probably preferred the baby be aborted than born to a Republican.

terry on

Jenna is pregnancy gorgeous..SHE GLOWS..Happy Mom Happy Baby…GOOD LUCK FOREVER!!!

cindy on

Thank GOD that when I was YOUNG and not using the good judgement my parents taught me it was not captured and recorded in history for the whole world to see. I was able to grow up and live down and and given the grace to live down what I had done . I perfer to extend that to others , we have all done things we were not proud of thank GOD It did not define who I was to become as it has not jenna or millions of other Teens

Mimy on

I miss the Bush Family, I love them, congratulation Jenna
I miss them in white house.

cynthia welch-morrow on

SHE IS JUST BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT! SHE’S MATURED INTO A VERY LOVELY WOMAN. BEST WISHES, AND STAY STRONG FOR YOUR FAMILY. P.S., KUDOS TO YOUR PARENTS, SAY HI TO YOUR MOM,
CINDY AND ARIEL.
IXOYE.

Anonymous on

I seem to be the only one to think that the Bush’s need to stop reproducing! Sorry but I think I’ve had enough of them! IJS

KC on

Sad, People like you make us liberals look bad. Don’t be so pathetic.

karen on

Jenna’s style is fun and classic. She looks fabulous.

Cynda, what goes around comes around, so speak nice and it speaks nice about yourself. There is no such thing as a “perfect” kid. Wouldn’t that be boring?

Kim on

Sad, you sound pretty lonely and pathetic yourself. Tell me, do you support Obama and why? Disability or welfare perhaps? Don’t you wish we had someone like Reagan in the White House right now? I sure do. Obama is making Bush look pretty good. George W. Bush was really an under-rated President and Obama would not have been able to handle 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina any better. George W. Bush has a beautiful family. Congrats on the baby Jenna!

meghan on

@fogluver, nothing Sad said is typical liberal, thank you very much. You don’t have to be a conservative to see that George and Laura have been loving parents who have raised two wonderful daughters. You don’t have to be a conservative to think it is ridiculous to judge a thirty year old woman for her behavior at the age of eighteen. And no mentally stable liberal would suggest aborting a baby being carried by a Republican, for God’s sake. You realize you are generalizing the same way as the trolls, right? A lovely woman in a stable marriage is about to become a mother. That is all that should matter to anyone. Anyone grinding a political ax is a troll and should be ignored.

Maureen on

I miss the Bush family too. I have heard nothing but good things about them from people that know them, and those who worked in the White House and on Air Force One. They are much more humble than the Obamas too. Jenna and Barbara are both educated, graceful, established professionals. Good job George and Laura.

Barbie Sue on

Jenna looks so beautiful, just glowing! All the best to her, her baby’s daddy, and Jenna’s parents. The cutest baby shower refreshments ever! WHERE did the caterer find those adorable, teeney Coca-Cola bottles? And the cake? Absolutely perfect!

Sandy on

Hire a good nanny- your going to need it! Baby’s do not do good at work!

Pearls on

This is about the Jenna, what does either Pres Obama, or Pres Bush have to do with it

Gayle on

Would love to see the painting that Grandpa drew. Are they going to be in the issue?

l on

Please fire her …she is horrible as a broadcaster.Now is the best after giving her a shower.

pelicans on

Sad…typical hateful comment from a liberal…congrats to the bush family and their little one on his/her way….

Phyllis Boyse on

I wish Jenna and Henry all the best with the baby. God Bless you and your entire family.

Kate on

@Sad, I’d like to see what you look like. Taking a happy occasion to just bash people. This isn’t a political story but one about a baby shower. Grow up.

elg on

Terrible political times with George Bush, but sad to never forget it ever. Good Luck to Jenna and Henry, hope all is great. What is the baby, nobody says yet? Hope for whatever they get is good health all round.

JOAN ELIZABETH GRAHAM on

CONGRATS JEN. YOU ARE SO CUTE AND I BET YOUR FATHER AND GRANDFATHER ARE DELITED, OF COURSE YOUR THE ONE GIVING THEM A GIFT TO LOVE AS LONG AS THEY LIVE, I AM A BUSH SUPPORTER, WE WISH JEB WOULD RUN NEXT TIME LOVE AND BEST WISHES JONI

Terry on

she looks just like her dad. Yikes.

Marky on

Jenna looks absolutely adorable pregnant! Those who actualy KNOW the Bushs have nothing but nice things to say about them and frankly their daughters turned out just fine. Enough with bashing anyone! Could we PLEASE bring back some civility and class to our society? I am tired of “it’s my opinion and I get to say it!” attitudes; just because you can, doesn’t mean you should……

Congratulation to Jenna and Henry, and I hope they have a healthy happy baby! S/he will have a fantastic set of grandparents and ggrandparents doting on him/her. Whether I agree or disagree politically, both have been good and loving parents to their children.

Ayla on

@Terri: “The Bush family is a wonderful group of people who do not deserve the ridicule of anyone.”

I actually have troubles to know if there’s some sarcasm in this sentence. It is scary that someone can refer to Bush as a wonderful person. The fact that this ignorant, dumb man was at one point elected as the US president makes me question people’s intelligence.

As for this girl, nothing in particular against her, and I don’t think her past mistakes need to be brought up for the rest of her life (we’ve all been young and stupid at some point), but she is where she is because of who her daddy is. I tend to be indifferent towards people who don’t earn things with their effort.

So she’s having a baby? So are million of other women. The difference is that this one will just be another privileged spoiled kid, that I couldn’t care less about.

Lana on

Yeah, Florence. They represent America and no-one likes it (besides the Americans…US Americans themselves). Bush was a desaster for America’s reputation. And the US still hasn’t fully recovered.

BUT: This is not about politics. It’s about a baby. Congrats to Jenna, she looks radiant.

cherise on

just as i thought republicans praising the daughter of the worst president in history! disgusting!

cherise on

@Maureen The bush’s have no idea what it is to be humble disgusting! They need lessons in being humble among other things I didn’t vote for Obama this family is sickening!

Vee on

Jenna looks beautiful. Wishing them a happy, healthy baby. :)

Brescia on

What a wonderful example this is showing America on how life really is. Beautiful.

Good luck to all the Bush family.

Kayte on

@Ayla–Your post made me laugh. Why are you reading (and commenting) on a celebrity baby blog if you couldn’t care less? Good one.

Guest on

Kim K should take a lesson from Jenna. Her maternity wear looks really nice on her!!

Jeri Kirby on

I saw Jenna on the news and thought she looked so very pretty and she had that “glow” about her. Was so very glad to see that she has excellent taste in her maternity clothes too. She looked like a lady.

Ayla on

@Kayte – I said that I couldn’t care less about this girl and her baby, not celebrity babies in general. Learn to read, please.

I love that when someone has a negative opinion about something, the standard reply is ‘why are you even here if you don’t like this?’. It’s funny how quickly people feel attacked and try to dissmiss others instead of giving a well-reasoned argument.

Tami on

I’m so excited for the Bush family. I miss them.

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