Noah's First Birthday Party….Penguin Style!

First birthday parties are a big deal…for parents. I am fairly certain that no one remembers their first birthday, however parents cherish it forever and may go a little overboard. I was a little late to the starting gate on Noah’s theme. I had no idea what to do and finally got inspiration from Facebook. Our friends posted pictures of their rubber ducky themed party, and I thought that was such a great idea as Noah really loves baths. My next thoughts went like this:

….hmmm, I wish I had thought of that….think they will notice if I steal their idea…probably they will likely be there….Noah’s favorite bath toy is a floating penguin…it is winter…let’s have a penguin party!!!!

Thus the theme for our party.

parents of a 1 year old with down syndrome

We are the proud parents of a one year old!

Preparation for the party….

I will be the first to admit that I am no Martha Stewart (or Kelle Hampton; who by the way throws some pretty amazing parties!) Preparing for a party with a theme was fairly intimidating. Thanks to Pinterest I got some great ideas…none of which I was able to replicate. I went back to my days in kindergarten for decoration inspiration and cut out about 20 snowflakes from folded paper.  I couldn’t remember for the life of me how to fold one, but thankfully Martha Stewart actually has a tutorial on how to make snowflakes which really helped me out.

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Check out those snowflakes!

I made cupcakes that looked either like Elvis or a penguin, you decide.

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Penguins, or Elvis’s?


We played the arctic part of Planet Earth in the background hoping the kids wouldn’t notice the killer whales eating the seals. 🙂 And thanks to my mom giving Noah an awesome penguin beach ball when we visited my grandma for Noah’s pre-pre-birthday party (yes, this is actually his 3rd first birthday party!) I had about 32 inflated penguin guests that magically disappeared from my house when the party was over.

theme party for down syndrome baby

Lots and lots of penguins!

I have never fed a lot of small children. I am having enough issues trying to figure out how to feed just one, but I figured pizza would make the majority pretty happy. We had blue jello to mimic ice. And some other little things to nibble on. The food was probably not the highlight.

I also set up some activities as I knew older children would be here as well.  There was penguin bowling and make your own penguin ornament.  Kids were much more interested in our own toys than the activities we set up.

first birthday party games penguin bowling

Penguin bowling was a hit.

Party Time

There is one thing that has happened with Noah having Down syndrome, we have more friends than I can fit in my house. Thanks to our awesome local Down syndrome support group, the mommy and me group, plus some other awesome friends we were packed. And no matter how hard you try to tell people you don’t need a gift…they will bring you one. I do the same thing despite what any invitation may say. We were so blessed by our friends.

down syndrome kids group picture

Lots of fun in this room.

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Noah was some super cool (and cute) friends!

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Noah’s friend Charlie likes cupcakes!

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Packed house!

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Noah loves hair…!

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This is the nurse who helped deliver Noah!

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He likes his cards.

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Thanks everyone for all the fun…and the birthday loot!

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fisher price little people animal barn

He’s ready to play!

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We’re thankful for supportive family and friends.

penguin hat and puppet

Yelp, Noah’s Dad even got a penguin hat and puppet.

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Happy birthday Noah!


Noah got to experience his third and final smash cake. I must say his last one was not his best show. I think he was kind of like “again mom????” I was also made fun of for putting him in his apron like bib…hey people I have learned my lesson 🙂

first birthday cupcake

“Another birthday cake?”

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The most humorous part of the party was during the picture taking. Our party was supposed to end at 2 and I kid you not when the clock struck 2 our son just laid his head on the floor and went to sleep. It was the perfect ending to a weeklong celebration.

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The party’s almost over…for Noah.

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“Ummm…what happened to the party?” – Noah’s Friend

father and son sleeping at first birthday party

Like father, like son…..

Noah is 1!

down-syndrome-first-birthday-party-1-year-old 8On a more personal note I can’t believe I have a one year old. It is crazy to think where we were a year ago. I understand why people write letters to their children on their first birthday. I look back at how I handled his diagnosis at birth and wonder what in the world I was so upset about and I feel the urge to shower my child with love and acceptance.

I look at Noah smile at us and light up our lives and I just can’t imagine one moment without him. As Rick has mentioned I wish we could go back to when Noah was born and tell ourselves a few things (or maybe 12 things) but there are emotions you have to work through at the beginning, and everyone does that at their own pace.

I won’t sit here and say there are not tears, fears and struggles but that is true of ANY child. As we celebrated every one of Noah’s chromosomes today, I know I wouldn’t change one ounce (or one chromosome) about him.

Happy Birthday Noah! Your mom and dad love you very much!

great year blessing down syndrome parents

It’s been a wonderful year!

What did you do (or are planning to do) for your child’s first birthday?

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  1. Great photos! Looks like it was a blast!

  2. So adorabe!!! I have been a follower for awhile now and love watching your little guy grow. My son’s name is Noah as well. Great birthday party idea too! Happy birthday to your little guy!

  3. Y’all did a great job! What a awesome birthday to Noah.

  4. Melissa Walston says

    Happy 1st Birthday Noah! Looks like you had a great time with your family and friends. I love the penguin theme with the snowflakes. My son Luke, just turned 1 at the end of June, we did a One Fish, Two Fish.. theme, since he loves to look at our fish tanks. I like the feeding suit that Noah’s wearing, what a great idea, sice feeding can get just a little messy at times- where did you get it?

  5. You have one of the BEST blogs and not only is it educational but fun and uplifting as well. Your friends are so blessed to have you as friends!

  6. I loved reading your blog. I was searching smash cakes for my daughter and it gave me this. I clicked on the link unsure of what I would read. I can honestly say I loved it :). Y’all have such a strong love in your family and you are beyond blessed to have such a sweet boy. Congrats on making it to that year mark, I’m nervous of that myself. And I know its beyond the fact but happy very belated birthday to a very handsome boy 🙂

  7. I almost forgot to mention but I loved your penguin theme 🙂 I’m doing an Up theme for my daughter, which is proving more difficult than I pictured. I just wanted a simple balloon theme and have the cake be the center piece besides my little Sophie. 🙂 Anyways, congrats again on your beautiful family!

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