So...we got out in the crazy heat today and starting staining the deck. We're using a solid paint stain, so it's not as hard to paint as I thought it would be. This kind of stain doesn't leave brush strokes....so one coat and it's done :) We got the whole top part of the deck (minus one itty bitty area) and all of the upper railings done. We hope to get the outside railings, underside of the deck, and the steps done in the next day or two :).
I was scared when we bought the stain that the color was too brown and dark for me after seeing the dot of paint they put on top of the can, but after seeing it on the deck...I LOVE it :)
Here are some before and after pics!