On Saturday, August 29th, 2009 we stained and put 3 coats of urethane on the the wood floors. We had to vacuum the floors and wipe them down with damp rags before we could begin staining. We started in the dinning room with Jason applying the stain with a special applicator then I would wipe the extra off with a T-shirt rag. When we got to the living room, we switched roles, but I ended up helping Jason with the rag wiping. In our room, we adopted a new technique since we started running out of T-shirt rags: I would wipe up the worst of the extra stain with the same rag I've been using while Jason followed to fine tune with a cleaner rag. We used this technique in Anna's room as well. The staining process went much better with the new technique.
Once the stain dried (3 hours from when we finished the dinning room) we started with the urethane, using the same applicator with a different pad. We took turns applying urethane so no one had to do all the work. With 2 hours between when we finished the dinning room to when we could apply a new coat, we were there until midnight (or after) applying 3 coats of urethane. But, we got it finished! Our goal was to finish Saturday because we knew we wouldn't be able to work on it at all the following week. This would allow the urethane plenty of time to cure before we walked on it next. We chose water-based stain and urethane specifically because it dries quicker than the oil-based, the fact that it cleans up with water is an extra bonus!
Here are several pictures of our process, from the sanded floors prior to staining, the staining process, the urethane process, and the finished floors: