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Can my family travel from Alaska to US through Canada if my husband has a felony from over 11 years ago?

I am stationed in Alaska and I am deploying to Iraq in a few months. My family is going home to Illinois for an extended vacation while I am deployed. We are planning on traveling through Canada to get to the lower 48. Now, we know we don't need passports but will the border patrol deny us because my husband has a felony. The felony is due to stealing less than $200 from a friend's house but he was convicted shortly after turning 18 and the court wanted to make an example out of him. He only got 2 months with probation. He is now 29 and he has not been in any other trouble. Is there a way to figure out how to know before we drive to the border? This is our only option to get home we can't fly because we need a vehicle at home and we can't take the ferry because of timing and money.
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I would think that the fact that I am military and stationed in Alaska, where there is only 2 ways to travel with household goods to the US and 1 is through Canada and the other way is by boat which is outrageously costly, should be considered by the bourder patrol. We don't need a passport until June 1 2009. Does anyone know if it makes a difference if you are traveling through or vacationing? Everything we have read says it is case by case approval so how can we get approval without driving all the way to the bourder to find out.

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