I've been pursuing the python path for reading input events directly. Initially, this seemed like a dead end as cat wasn't giving any output for my ir devices. However, I found a suggestion to enable the nec driver on the devices. Mine only had lirc enabled, and I'm going to use the nec protocol for my Blaster. So I enabled nec on both my devices and suddenly the cat /dev/input/... worked for both devices! This bodes very well for pulling device input into python using evdev.
Next steps are reading inputs with evdev and making a script that can monitor multiple event devices simultaneously. Then I need to use that to trigger the light changes.