>Two 5-frame nucs on foundation on the way...
Medium or deep?
>Can we do that? And if we can, how do we go about doing it?
>I know the nuc frames will have foundation, and I strongly suspect it will be larger-cell (5.2-5.3ish).
Most likely unless someone tells you otherwise.
> I'd like to get the bees drawing comb quickly, as we have no comb from other hives because we're...well...new.
Not a problem. Bees start new hives with no comb all the time. They are called "swarms".
> We're planning to use popsicle stick guides in the open frames (I'm hoping I can just wood glue them in)
> but I'm not sure how to position the empty frames in the hive with the nuc frames. My initial thought was the nuc frames in the center, empty frames on the edge like this: EEENNNNNEE
I'd do that for a few days and then start feeding the empty ones into the brood nest one at a time. Don't put another one in until the last one is drawn.
> However, I'm concerned that the bees may decide they have no comb and so they should swarm.
Bees do NOT swarm because they have no comb. They swarm because they have no room or because the queen has no where to lay. But if there is no comb they build it.
> Would it be better to put an empty frame in the middle of the nuc frames like this: EENENNNNEE as a way to entice them to draw the comb?
Yes because they will drawn nicer comb:http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm#historicreferences
> Am I overthinking this?
Yes. But that's what happens when you keep bees.
Just trying to start the hives out on the right foot. Any help would be appreciated.