The Obamas: Snapshots of an Ordinary Family

Are They Just Like You?
ESSENCE.COM May, 19, 2009

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When it comes to structure, the President and First Lady don’t play. Just because they live in the most famous residence in America doesn’t mean Sasha and Malia aren’t required to make their beds every day (even though the White House probably has staff whose job is to only make beds all day).

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President Obama looks like any other soccer dad on the sidelines rooting on Sasha at last weekend’s soccer game. Ditching the pin-striped suit for a slick Chicago White Sox jacket, Mr. O reps his beloved hometown in style.

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The President and Vice-President snuck off to Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia, on May 5. Comedian Wanda Sykes poked fun at the outing recently at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, when she asked, “What in the hell were the President and Vice-President doing eating together in public?” And come to think of it, she’s right!

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4 of 40 Pete Souza/The White House

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that President Obama’s love for basketball runs deep. He’s often commented that living in the White House is like being in a bubble, and we’re sure a little hoops action helps him break out a bit.

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The First Lady has proven once again that she’s more like us than we think. Want proof? “Even though the kids are supposed to do a lot of the work, I’m still up at 5:15 A.M. taking my dog out. So for everyone who has a child asking for a puppy—you have to want the dog,” warns Mrs. Obama.

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Proving that actions speak louder than words, Mrs. Obama calls on Americans to live greener lives by planting trees and vegetables on the White House lawn.

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If you feel like you and the Mr. don’t have time to go out for a quiet evening without the kids, let the Obamas be an inspiration. Married more than 15 years, the First Couple still makes time for date nights, as seen here earlier this month after returning from dinner at Michel Richard Citronelle restaurant in D.C.

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Being President of the United States is undoubtedly a stressful job (Obama’s added gray hair is proof enough), so it’s only right that Mr. Obama unwinds with a round of golf as he did here while vacationing in Kailua, Hawaii.

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Just like any other child who’s missed dad, Sasha beams with excitement as President Obama returns home to the White House from a trip to Arizona and New Mexico on May 14. What might not be so common is the fact that there were likely dozens of photographers capturing this tender moment—from both angles, we might add.

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Think Mrs. Obama only eats salads and chef-prepped entrees? Think again. The First Lady recently took her staff out for burgers at D.C.‘s Good Stuff Eatery. And we’re pretty sure filet mignon was not on the menu.

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Is that the President front and center cheering on his beloved Chicago Bulls as they take on the Washington Wizards in D.C. earlier this year? You better believe it.

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We love that the family brought along Mrs. Obama’s mother, Mrs. Marion Robinson, when they moved into the White House. We all can attest that, when raising children, a grandmother’s help is invaluable.

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The Obamas are vocal about the role spirituality has played in their lives. Here they’re seen leaving St. John’s Episcopal Church following Easter Sunday services in Washington, D.C.

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President Obama’s not shy about indulging his sweet tooth. Here he takes a break from policy issues to ponder a more important decision: pecan or apple pie?

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Our hearts melted when President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Valentine’s Day with dinner at one of their favorite restaurants in Chicago on February 14.

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Another thing we appreciate about Michelle Obama is her practical approach to fashion. And she’s not afraid to wear the same thing twice. Back in January she wore this Tracy Feith number to the National Prayer Service following the inauguration; and she turned heads in the dress again more recently at a visit to the U.N.

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Ben’s Chilli Bowl has enjoyed a boost in business after President Obama made a surprise stop at the popular D.C. eatery.

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Malia gets a warm hug from dad—and of course Sasha is not too far behind—before entering the Honolulu Zoo while the family vacationed in Hawaii last year.

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Last Halloween, just days before the election, Mr. Obama took a ghostly Sasha trick-or-treating. And we love the President’s costume as the coolest brother ever to walk the face of the earth. Oh wait, that’s no costume!

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Back in December before moving to Washington, Mr. Obama paused his busy schedule to tend to other serious matters: finding the family Christmas tree. We imagine he could’ve gotten an assistant to do it, but he chose to hunt down the perfect fern himself.

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President Obama knocks back a cold one as he roots on his Chicago Bulls on the Washington Wizards’ home court. So what if there are a dozen Secret Service watching his every move; he’s enjoying the game without a care in the world. Besides, if you were the only Bulls fan amongst an arena full of Wizards supporters, you’d probably want security too.

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President Obama enjoys a little Canadian sweetness when he buys a maple leaf cookie for his daughters at a local mall in Ottawa, Canada.

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Obama and his sister spread the ashes of his deceased grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, in Honolulu on December 23, 2008.

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Michelle Obama, center, walks her daughter Sasha, 7, to her first day at the Lower School Campus of Sidwell Friends in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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President Obama pets the family’s new pup, Bo, a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, as daughters Sasha and Malia (bottom right) look on, at the White House.

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The president-elect clearly has his priorities in check. Here he is kissing daughter Malia as he drops her and sister Sasha off at the University of Chicago Laboratory School.

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President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and one of their daughters, 10-year-old Malia,return from Camp David after spending the weekend there. It was the family’s second trip to their Maryland retreat.

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The Obama family spent Thanksgiving Eve helping distribute turkeys at a food bank on Chicago’s South Side.

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December 2, 2008 – President-elect Obama leaves the Philadelphia Sports Clubs gym in Philly after a workout.

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US President Elect Barack Obama® with
US President Elect Barack Obama® with daughers Sasha (2nd-R)) and Malia (L) orders shave ice for them and friends December 26, 2008 in Hawai’i Kai, Hawaii.

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e First Couple acknowledges photographers as they make their way to Marine One on March 21.

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President Obama and the First Lady opened their home to host an evening of music, poetry and spoken word in the East Room of the White House on May 12.

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All the kids who attend the White House Easter Egg Roll festivities got a treat today as President Barack Obama read from the children’s favorite book, “Where the Wild Thing Are.” Also enjoying his rendition were First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia and Marian Robinson, Mrs. Obama’s mother.

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From the Oval Office to the backyard, President Obama likes to get his hands into whatever he’s working on. Here, he plants a tree as part of a service project at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington.

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Yes, they live in the White House, but the Obamas still have their share of fun. Whether it’s playing with new pup Bo or wolfing down burgers at the local grease spoon, the First Family is proving they’re just ordinary people (who just happen to be living a super extraordinary life).

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Of course President Obama adores his little princesses Sasha and Malia, but something tells us he wouldn’t mind having a Barack Jr. running around the White House. It’s only natural for a man to want a son to go fishing with and such. Alas, he’ll have to continue to pal around with his staff members’ sons, as shown here recently in the Oval Office.

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An often overlooked trait of the President has got to be his refreshing sense of humor. He’s fine being the target of jokes and he’s equally happy firing back. His deadpan delivery at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner recently has already become a YouTube classic.

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Since when have you known a First Family to invite folks into the White House all willy-nilly? Hey, that’s the Obamas for you. They clearly make their own rules, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

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