People: At Home With Michelle Obama

In the new issue of People Michelle Obama discusses how the First Family is settling in at the White House, explains why she agreed to pose for Vogue, and shares sassy Sasha and Malia anecdotes.

The interview is full of details about Michelle's daily routine that underscore why we will never have a day half as productive as hers. In addition to getting up at 5:30am every day and keeping two BlackBerrys, Michelle says:

We don't have TiVo. For me, I think TiVo would be dangerous. The notion of, like, sitting and watching shows for hours, I could see getting caught up in that.

She says that instead of catching up on American Idol,

I read more magazines. The New Yorker is one of my big, sort of relaxing reads.

Michelle says she's aware that with all the loving fist bumps and romantic Inaugural dances, what People calls a "mythology" has grown up around her marriage. While Michelle explains that yes, she and Barack really do like and respect each other, she adds:

I don't want anybody to think that it's easy. It works because we really work at it ... We have a strong marriage, but it's not perfect.

But there's no evidence of any marital strife in her account of their family dinner ritual:

We do something called "roses and thorns," and we each share our rose and our thorn," Michelle Obama says. She pauses. "Malia has pointed out to Barack that, as she said, "Dad you seem to have a pretty thorny job." We looked at each other and laughed and said, "It's okay, you can say that."

Later Michelle remarks:

I have to say, I've had a lot of rosy days ... I think I have the good end of the deal.

One thing keeping her in high spirits is the comic stylings of Sasha and Malia:

Our girls are just complete comic relief," she says. "We're dealing with the age range where they're pretty funny in their observations and sort of lack of being impressed with any of this.

The girls have decided they're too old for mom and dad to read to them at bedtime, and Michelle says, "They're now independent readers." But they still enjoy running around the White House!

"I've tried to encourage them to feel like this whole place is their home," Mrs. Obama says. "We actually had this conversion - just let us know where you're going."

The girls have also been pestering her about the one topic on the minds of all Americans: the puppy.

Mrs. Obama says she favors Portuguese Water Dogs, the breed Sen. Ted Kennedy lobbied for. And the target date is April, after that spring break trip. "So Sasha says, "April 1st." I said, "April." She says, "April 1st. It's, like, April!"

But Michelle doesn't like the names the girls have suggested for the puppy:

"Frank was one of them. Moose was another," she says with a laugh and a roll of her eyes. "I'm like, no. Come on. Lets work with the names a little bit.

Finally, Michelle explains that she chose to pose for the cover of Vogue because she knows she's an inspiration for African Americans, especially young women like her daughters.

While I don't consider myself a fashionista," she says, "I thought it was good for my daughters and little girls just like them , who haven't seen themselves represented in these magazines, hopefully to talk more broadly about what beauty is, what intelligence is, what counts."

[Image via People]